Action stations begin
  |  First Published: September 2012

I’ve never had so much anticipation and excitement about spring. Yes, you might say it’s just another season but for the angling fraternity it’s action stations!

We have just gone through a normal Ballarat winter wet and cold, and the fishing has been excellent with reports from the local waters nothing but fantastic. Good reason to get excited.

I seem to be talking to more anglers than ever and most have been rewarded for their efforts. While some have been having a ball, a lot have hung up their rods for the winter slumber. However now is the time to get them out for the fishing action and it is only going to get better.

Ballarat anglers now have endless choices of venues to wet a line. Whether experienced or novice, anglers have the chance to catch a fish with continued stockings from our Fisheries department. This season is emerging to be the best for decades.

Lake Learmonth is still the talking point around Ballarat with quality rainbow trout all averaging around the 3lb mark. They have been caught all over the lake by casting lures or flies, fishing Powerbait or salted white bait, or even the good old garden worm. Whatever you use, the rainbows have been on the chew.

Tom Kulczynski from Melton has been a regular angler at Learmonth with his best session being six rainbow trout on pink Powerbait. Tom said recently the fish have become a bit finicky. His advice is to leave the bait there and don’t try and hook straight away; they will come back for a second go.

The fly fishers have been doing very well around the two creek mouths on the south and northern ends of the lake. Freshwater running into the lake has been a big attraction for the rainbow trout. We have also seen something that I, and other anglers, have not seen for 30 years – rainbow trout running up Mortons Cutting attempting to spawn! What an incredible sight. There have been many onlookers out there and it was great to be able to take my children to see something so rare.

Hepburn Lagoon and Newlyn Reservoir have produced some sensational winter fishing. Keen fly fishers and bait anglers are bagging some magnificent rainbow and brown trout up to 4lb. Anthony McGrath reports that one bait fisher caught two magnificent brown trout using wood grubs and bardi grubs fished very close to the shore.

At Hepburn Lagoon the water level is rising and I suspect the grubs have been flooded out of the ground and the brown trout have them on the menu. I have seen this before at Cairn Curran Reservoir.

Kiel Jones and a few mates from the Victorian Central highlands fly fishers have been having a ball fishing both waters. They have been catching some magnificent brown trout and rainbow to 4lb on a variety of fly patterns, such as Tom Jones, woolly buggers, snail patterns and stick caddis.

As we move into spring, Lake Wendouree will fish extremely well. We should start to see some fish around the 4lb mark show up – the lake has had three years of fish being released back into it from the drought recovery programme.

Tullaroop Reservoir is expected to produce some fantastic fishing with high water levels and the warmer weather. As we move into spring the fish will be in close to the shore chasing small baitfish (smelt) and the Chronomid will start to hatch on evening. This will produce some awesome rises.

The trout are varying in size at the moment with brown trout between 1-3lb and the rainbow trout 1-2lb, which are great fun to catch. All forms of angling will be successful at Tullaroop, especially the fly fishing, this season.

Cairn Curran has had trout released into the Reservoir for two years. They should now start to show up as the water levels rise over new ground from the spring rains. Areas I recommend to target are Picnic Point, Treloars Bay and, my favourite, Bryants Bay. The trout should be mooching around devouring all the flooded out grubs, worms and other food sources.

Fly fishing with woolly buggers, Hammils Killers, Tom Jones and tadpole patterns will result in excellent catches for the bait anglers. I suggest worms fished on the bottom or mud eyes suspended under a bubble float. We could be in for a excellent year back trout fishing at Cairn Curran.

Lake Tooliorook at Lismore has not stopped producing redfin and trout all this year and there seems to be no end in sight. Bait anglers have been catching redfin on the local minnows and rainbow trout on Powerbait. Lure casters and trollers have been catching trout and redfin on hardbodied lures, such as Rapala, Eco-gear and the ever-reliable Tassie Devils.

Russel Lacy a keen fly fisher has been catching some rainbow trout up to 4lb on brown nymphs, woolly buggers and smelt patterns. Lake Tooliorook has been one of the best fishing destinations in the western district in the past 18 months and this spring the action will be even better. We should see some trout being caught around the 6-7lb mark from the original stockings back in 2010. There are exciting times ahead!

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