Watook a winter wonderland
  |  First Published: June 2008

The Ballarat angling report should really be renamed ‘Ballarat Anglers Travellers Guide’. Again this month, the district’s anglers have ventured far and wide in pursuit of their favoured pastime. When writing my column I am relying on the reports of Ballarat anglers from all over of Victoria.

Many local fishos been travelling to places like Nelson chasing bream and mulloway, or to Lake Mulwala to cast spinnerbaits to Murray cod. I myself had a trip up to Lake Eucumbene, flyfishing for trout. For angling a little bit closer to Ballarat, Lake Wartook is the best bet.

Lake Wartook, in the picturesque Grampians region, is proving to be one of the best fisheries in southwest Victoria. Wartook is a consistent fishery, with excellent catches of trout, redfin and blackfish. The lake suits all kinds of anglers, including flyfishers, lure casters, bait fishers, trollers and coarse anglers.

Anglers can fish from either the shore or a boat. The productivity of Lake Wartook is due to the consistent stocking of trout by DPI Fisheries, together with the natural breeding of the redfin. And yes, one last factor is a very reasonable water level.

The Farmers Arms Angling Club from Creswick, just out of Ballarat, had a recent trip up to Wartook that resulted in some excellent catches of both rainbow and brown trout. The best fish landed for the weekend was a 1.6kg brown trout caught by Judy Reiniets. Most of the fish caught were taken on a mudeye suspended under a bubble float, and fished from the lake wall or a boat.

Other notable catches were a 1kg brown caught by Bradley Fernando, which was his first fish on fly. Readers might recall in a previous report that anglers had been berleying from the lake wall with a variety of berleys including corn, chook pellets and other home made potions. The Farmers Arms’ anglers also did this with success, with many of the fish caught having berley in their stomachs. It is well worth keeping this in mind if you do venture up to Wartook.

Lake Bellfied, at the bottom of the Grampians at Halls Gap, is proving to be a consistent fishery. Although not a new water storage, Bellfield has for a long time only been recognised as redfin fishery. In the last few years Fisheries have released rainbow trout into the water with excellent results. Anglers are now catching them up to 1.4kg. All forms of angling are effective, and both land-based anglers and boaters are catered for. Boat anglers can only use an electric powered motor or oars, which might put some off, but I would suggest the results are well worth the effort.

Lake Tullaroop and Cairn Curran are two renowned winter fisheries that usually fish well for trout during the winter, with the chance of catching a trophy trout a real prospect. The trout populations are getting smaller and smaller, because of low stocking during the drought, but these waters both do accommodate natural spawning so hopefully some of last years adult’s fish were able to do so. During the winter the trout usually chase small bait fish called smelt around the shorelines, so I would suggest casting minnow styled lures or flyfishing with smelt patterns.


Ben Jeffrey with two rainbow trout caught in Lake Wartook. They took baits of mudeyes.


Bradley Fernando with a 1kg brown trout from Lake Wartook – his first fish on fly.

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