Smelt bring on the fat and fit trout
  |  First Published: August 2013

Winter has finally arrived with freezing cold nights, frosty mornings, some rain and the trout are on the chew.

Lake Wendouree is still the talk of the town with anglers coming from far and wide to catch some magnificent smelt feeding trout. Angler numbers have dropped mainly due to the cold weather.

Andrew Dellaca has been catching some excellent trout up to 2kg casting a variety of minnow-styled lures as well as catching some cracking redfin up to 1.5kg. Fly fishers have been having a ball loch style fishing and stripping smelt patterns such as the Magoo, Woolly Bugger, Bibio Matuka: basically anything that represents smelt the trout are totally tuned into.

Tullaroop Reservoir

Tullaroop is definitely worth looking at don’t be discouraged by the muddy banks the fish are there. With the dropping level the banks are very muddy but persistent fishing with Woolly Bugger style flies should see some success. Bait fishing with mudeye under a float is also worth a shot.

Hepburn lagoon

This water is still producing excellent brown trout although very difficult to fish due to low water levels and lots of weed. Anglers must be patient as the browns are feeding on smelt; often they will come into clear pockets of water accessible to anglers with browns up to 3.5kg being landed.

Moorabool Reservoir

This very under-fished fishery has started to produce some good-sized winter rainbow and brown. Once again these fish are chasing smelt. Quick and accurate casting and a bit of luck thrown in will produce the best results. Bait anglers at this time of the year should use the ever reliable bunch of worms fish on a running sinker rig or Powerbait in a variety of colours.

Lake Bolac

Reports indicate that Bolac is producing some magnificent rainbow trout up to 1.5kg mainly from the shore using local minnows for bait and Powerbait in a variety of colours. My Powerbait preference is chartreuse or sherbet colours fished once again on a running sinker. For best results leave your line a bit loose so there is no resistance when the trout takes the Powerbait.

Lake Burrumbeet

Similar to nearby Learmonth, low water levels over the summer and high water temperatures saw serious concerns whether trout would survive over the warmer months.

There has just been a release of yearling trout into the lake, and anglers should use Powerbait, garden worms or a salted whitebait or bluebait during the winter months. Smelly baits can work very well in discoloured waters such as Burrumbeet and Learmonth.

Lake Tooliorook and Deep Lake

Reports have been very quiet. Last winter saw exceptional fishing and I expect the same to happen again this year. Water levels may be the only factor that dictates how the fishing goes. All forms of angling should do well with anglers concentrating on trolling bright coloured lures and flyfishing bright coloured flies. Good Woolly Buggers colours are orange, pink, olive, black and chartreuse, especially around the rockier shorelines. Bait anglers should use chartreuse or sherbet coloured manufactured baits also the smelly baits work well during the winter months when there is not much insect activity going on.

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