Great fish – if you could get to them!
  |  First Published: May 2008

Autumn is on us and already fish are starting to be taken during the middle of the day. Good news for anglers!

Bullen Merri is shaping up as something special. Keen anglers have been putting in all nighters, fishing bullheads under a float and catching some very nice browns. They tell me that the bullheads are big enough to eat this year!

There are also browns to 4kg, rainbows to 1.5kg and Chinook to 1.5kg, which have been taking trolled lures. The depth has varied from 6–9m and evening has been the best time. At this time of year, shore-based anglers sometimes have an absolute ball using plastics to catch fish cleaning up smelt along the edge. The fish that are being taken have bellies full of very small minnows and as this bait source grows and moves closer to the edge, we may be in for another bumper year.

Another lake that has been fishing well is Wurdibuloc. There have been good browns caught keen local fly anglers during the day. A green smelt pattern is a good starting point. With the word out amongst Geelong flyfishers it may be hard to get a quiet day’s fishing over the next couple of months.

The local blackfish season has continued on with plenty of big fish still coming from the local rivers.

As for Purrumbete, the premier lake in the area, things don’t look quite so good. There is an urgent need for improvement of the boat launching facilities at the lake.

Lake Purrumbete has been recognised as the one of the best trout fisheries in Victoria for decades. It has become a must fish lake for trout fishers from Victoria and all over Australia, and overseas. Hundreds of thousands of fish have been stocked into the lake, first rainbow trout, then Chinook salmon and later on brown trout and Atlantic salmon – and they grow at rapid rates here.

Purrumbete has traditionally seen many more boat anglers than bank anglers, but primarily because of the amount of water in the lake. Now this has all changed, with boats unable to get to the lake’s deeper waters. We all know this is due to the recent dry years that have devastated fisheries all over the state - but it should be noted the Purrumbete is probably still 80% full, maybe even a little more.

It may take significant funds to rectify the problem, and some will say that all will return too normal once we get a wet year. Surely though, with the low levels, this is a chance to fix the problem for future dry times?

Something needs to be done quickly. I am sure responsibility must lie with either DPI, DSE, the Corangamite Shire or the Corangamite Catchment Authority. All these authorities would no doubt have consultants to come up with fancy ideas, but here are a couple of simple solutions that are being muted locally.

1. Digging a channel from the present ramp at the caravan park out to the deeper water. This would allow the infrastructure at the park to be fully utilised.

2. Building a public boat ramp just before Hoses Rocks, near the overflow of the lake. The main road is adjacent to this section of the lake, so this section is obviously public land.

A fishery that has had so much support over the years by thousands of anglers deserves to be retained and maintained to a standard where everyone gets an opportunity to catch a fish.

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