Natives slow but trout fishing surges
  |  First Published: May 2013

This is a time of transition in our Wimmera waters with the native fish such as yellowbelly, catfish and Murray cod now starting to slow down as the water temperatures cool.

However the trout and redfin fishing is probably at its best now with ideal temperatures for them. Trout in particular will be more aggressive in the lead up to their spawning season.

Despite a lack of rain so far this year our storages are still holding good water levels at the time of writing. We really do need to get some rain soon though before boat launching becomes a hassle at some waters when the ramps are left high and dry as they were a few years ago at places such as Toolondo and Fyans. Fingers crossed for some good run off in the catchments this coming Winter.

Wimmera river

What a season we have enjoyed on the yellowbelly this year with good numbers being caught over the last month on lures and bait. The average size of these yellowbelly has been around the 1-1.5kg mark but much larger yellas have been caught particularly around Jeparit where a few have been around 4kg. The yellowbelly have been widespread but the better local hotspots have been below Horsham Weir, lower Norton, Dimboola and Jeparit. Walking the banks and casting lures such as Stumpjumpers, Balista Dynos and Triggers as well as spinnerbaits at the snags is the best method but trolling lures at Dimboola and Jeparit has also worked well.

Good numbers of big redfin are still being caught at Jeparit, particularly when there has been a flow of water over the weir. A very impressive 2.5kg redfin was caught at Jeparit last week on a trolled lure, which is an awesome redfin for this river.

Around Horsham the fishing has been a bit slower with the average size of the yellowbelly much smaller and a huge amount of carp present. A number of good size catfish have been getting caught around the Horsham stretch as well. A nice Murray cod of 80cm was caught on a yabby and released recently at the Gross bridge area by local angler Alastair Castle who also caught a few nice yellowbelly.

Bait fishing with worms and yabbies has also been working well but the fishing will start to slow down here the closer we get to winter.

Lake Wartook

This is the prime time to be fishing this beautiful little lake with the trout and redfin fishing always good at this time of the year. Good numbers of brown and rainbow trout are being taken to 1.8kg with bait fishing producing the best results. Mudeyes under bubble floats or unweighted scrubworms, peeled prawn or yabby tails and even bardi grubs have been working well, especially along the wall where the trout tend to hang around a lot prior to spawning. Trolling with Tassie Devils and minnow lures is also working well on the trout and also producing a number of redfin as well.

Lake Toolondo

The great fishing continues and dare I say it but I reckon it’s getting better every time I come here. The browns and rainbows are now up to 2kg and are eager to respond to bait, lure or fly and now there is also good catches of redfin to 500g being taken on trolled lures. The best lures for the trout and redfin have been Tassie Devils, Ballista Triggers and shallow diving minnow lures. Trolling the middle of the lake has been best for the redfin and rainbow trout and the best brownies are getting caught along the timbered areas.

Bait fishing is working very well either from the bank or from small boats, most bait anglers here use one rod with Powerbait on a running sinker and mudeye under a bubble float on the other rod. Good bait fishing can be had here at any time of the day but I find the middle of the day produces the better bait fishing.

Keen fly angler Chris Babo has had a number of successful trips to Toolondo lately. He has had most of his success using a Black Woolly Bugger along the north and west shorelines and has caught pretty much an equal number of both browns and rainbows to around 1.2kg.

Rocklands reservoir

The trout have been very slow here but the redfin fishing has been pretty good, particularly from the wall to the Brodies area. Most anglers have been trolling deep divers in the timbered areas trying to find the redfin schools and then simply repeatedly going over the fish once they are found. Most of the redfin have been in the 400-800g size range with the occasional bigger fish to 1.5kg. Casting soft plastics and vibe lures at the timber or hopping them along the bottom is also working well on the reddies here and a few very big carp have also been getting taken this way as well.

With the onset of cooler weather the trout will hopefully start to become more active and no doubt some rippers will be taken on trolled Tassie Devils, fly, and mudeye or minnow baits fished under bubble floats. Most of the trout average around 1kg here but the odd bigger fish is taken from time to time.

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