The start of a new fishing season is what most freshwater anglers really look forward to in the first weekend in September. In the last few years we have had a closed season for rivers during the winter to allow for the trout to naturally spawn – and now the season finally begins.
I also look forward to this time of the year because most of our lake’s water levels are on the increase and the trout come in around the edges. Sometimes they are in only inches of water, eating down small crustaceans that have been flooded out of the ground.
This year we have had a good winter with above average rains and storage levels on the increase, but not many of our storages have been stocked with trout due to the low water levels. As a result most Ballarat anglers in the district will all be travelling at least one hour to wet a line. Lakes like Purrumbete, Bullen Merri, and Wartook and Lake Hamilton will be the destination for many anglers.
Lake Wartook in the Grampians continues to one of the most consistent fisheries in the state, with excellent catches of rainbow and brown trout to over 2kg. Still in the Grampians region Lake Bellfield continues to produce lovely rainbow trout to 1.5kg and redfin of 500g. All forms of angling have been successful.
Lake Bullen Merri in the Camperdown keeps producing quality trout and Quinnat salmon, due in part to plenty of water and continued stocking of fish by Fisheries department. Jason McGregor and a group of anglers from Ballarat fished Bullen Merri and caught a good bag of trout and salmon, with the biggest being a 2.85kg brown trout. All fish were taken trolling pink Tassie Devils behind boats.
Nearby at Lake Purrumbete, trout to over 3kg have been getting caught from the shore by anglers flyfishing, casting lures and bait fishing.
Other waters that are well worth a look for the new season are Lake Hamilton at Hamilton. This is a very good flyfishing water suited to loch-style flyfishing. It also has had a good stocking of fish but anglers should check with local water authorities regarding rules and regulations as to when and how they can fish.
Tullaroop and Cairn Curran over near Maryborough are also very good fisheries but may not have large trout populations due to their low water levels.
I’ve been cooped up at home thinking about catching that elusive trout all winter – so I can’t wait to get out there.
Royce Baxter caught this 1.6kg brown trout in Lake Wartook (photo: courtesy Royce Baxter).Reads: 1313