Trying to pick which local western district lake to head to is getting tougher – in a good way! Anglers are scratching there heads wondering whether to go to Ellingamite and catch a thumper rainbow or a monster redfin, to Bullen Merri for a huge brown or a 3kg salmon or, of course, to Purrumbete for a brown could will pull the scales down to the magical 10lb mark.
The choices are many and the number of anglers that are getting about is also increasing. The annual Bullen Merri Classic on October 4-5 drew a crowd of 119 anglers. With good weather, maybe the 29 fish weighed was a little disappointing, but the quality of the fish caught certainly lived up to expectations. A lot of the fish weighed in were taken from the bank, which means these fish are available for everyone.
The overall winner was Ken Carman with a couple of brown trout at 2.8kg. Not to be outdone, Mary Carman took out the women’s section, with a brown and a rainbow, while the junior’s section was won by Haley Bongart who caught a great Quinnat salmon of 2.59kg.
There was also an A.N.S.A. competition on the same weekend that covered Ellingamite, Bullen Merri and Purrumbete, and the results from their 50 seniors and 26 juniors sounded very similar. Bullen Merri fished well for this group also, with salmon to 2.82kg and brown trout to 3.6kg (the biggest of which was caught by junior Celeste Chapman). Ellingamite produced the biggest redfin with a fish of 1.2kg, as well as the biggest rainbow of 2.82kg (taken by Colac local Warwick Hamer).
As I said, the numbers of fish were not massive, but the quality more then made up for it. The fact that the week before the competition a 4.9kg brown was taken from Bullen Merri by a Geelong angler flat line trolling and several 5kg+ fish were lost at Purrumbete had even the local taxidermist smiling.
The fish at Bullen Merri are taking bullheads and a lot of the big browns are being taken after dark. Those trolling are also getting some good results.
Purrumbete anglers are trolling mudeyes and spinning from the bank with either plastics or hardbodied lures. Mudeyes fished along the back of the weeds is also a good way to catch fish.
Ellingamite fish seem to be partial to trolled Loftys and Tassie Devils.
It is easy to forget the local rivers when the lakes start firing, but for young local Brandon Riches a bunch of worms has been doing the trick on some nice little browns from the Gellibrand River at Blacks Bridge. Other reports from just above the Gellibrand Pub and right down at the Ocean Road Bridge at Lower Gellibrand have been promising.
November will see the local flyfishers out and about on the Gellie chasing the evening risers, and with the lakes improving even more my advice is to hurry up and get down here, you wont be disappointed.
Anton Brunner from Seymour with a 3.4kg brown trout: the heaviest fish caught during the Bullen Merri Classic.
Brandon Riches with a 30cm brown trout he caught on worms in the Gellibrand River.Reads: 2962