Bumper bags for Ballarat
  |  First Published: November 2013

November is the prime time for fishing in and around the Ballarat district; insect hatches, warmer weather, longer days and fish on the chew. What more can an angler ask for?

Lake Wendouree is the spotlight in the area at the moment and will be for a few months. The lake is a more versatile fishery than ever and the trout and redfin just seem to be on the bite constantly – whether in the middle of winter chasing smelt, or warm summer evenings chomping down on mud eyes hatchlings.

We have a superb fishery in the middle of Ballarat, just the other night anglers were shoulder to shoulder all around the lake trying to catch a few fish. The warmer weather, a full lake and a very healthy population of fish that are accessible to land-based and boat fishing anglers.

The fly fishers have been catching some quality brown trout to 5.5lb by casting and stripping large wet fly patterns. Things will probably change in the coming month, as the mayfly hatching we force a down size to small brown nymphs, Toms Jones, damsel nymphs and stick caddis. The overcast days will be the best for fly fishing.

For bait anglers, mud eyes are the best baits suspended under a bubble float at around 1m. If fishing from the boat, anchor as close to the main weed beds and fish out into the open water.

We have had some excellent catches of rainbow and brown trout to 4.5lb on mud eyes. Shane and Ben Jeffrey’s have also had excellent catches of trout up to 4lb using the same methods.

With the warmer weather, anglers need to concentrate on mornings and the evenings. If an overcast day comes along get out on the water and reap the rewards, the trout don’t seem to bite on bright sunny days.

In Hepburn Lagoon the much-anticipated mayfly hatches should appear over the next month. The water level is pretty high and the rainbow and brown trout will certainly be looking for the Dunns/Mayfly.

Kiel Jones has been fishing Hepburn early in the morning chasing tailing fish using small stick caddis fly patterns. Tom Jones fly patterns are catching lovely brown trout around the 4-5lb mark, but stealth is required in the early morning as the fish are in very shallow calm water. You will be rewarded for the effort.

Fly fishers should target Hepburn either early in the morning or evenings for the mud eye feeders. However, on overcast days, when the mayfly are hatching, nymphs, emerges and mayfly dry flies will be on the menu. Try a few different varieties of each pattern, if one doesn’t work try another until you find a winning formula.

Bait fishers should head out in the morning and evenings for top catches. The local bug or spider mud eye suspended under a bubble float will work best. If fishing in the early morning, the ever reliable bunch of garden worms are also worth a try. Cast them out unweighted, as the brown trout just cruise along the shoreline feeding on mud eyes/stick caddis and can’t resist the humble old worm.

Newlyn Reservoir should see some excellent fishing in the coming months. The fish will await the mayfly hatches in the middle of the day, midge feeders early morning and the evenings will see them target caddis hatches, small nymphs and dry flies.

For bait anglers, mud eyes are the best bait for the trout but worms and Powerbait fished on a running sinker rig will result in great catches. Fish as light as you can, light line and small sinkers produce the least resistance a trout can feel when feeding on worms or artificial bait, therefore the greater the chance of a hook up.

Tullaroop Reservoir will fish very well over the coming months. Once again, target early mornings and evenings whether you are fly fishing or fishing baits.

Flyfishers should use small midge patterns in the early mornings, when the fish are feeding on the midge, and after dark they should change over to wet flies, like the ever reliable Mrs Simpson, Hammills Killer or a Craig’s Nighttimes.

Once again, mudeyes are the killer bait suspended under bubble float. However, worms, Powerbait or yabbies are excellent to use at Tullaroop.

Cairn Curran Reservoir is one of my favourite trout waters and is well worth a look over the coming months. Overcast days or early morning and evenings in the shallower bays are the best. Picnic Point, Galloways Bay and Bryants Bay areas used to be good to target trout, either on mudeyes or flyfishing.

The Fisheries department have stocked the water over the past few years but not many reports have filtered through – probably because the water was discoloured and the water is full of European carp. But the trout are there, so it’s just go out and try it.


The author with a couple of decent brown trout from Lake Wendouree caught on mudeye.


Keil Jones at Hepburn Lagoon with his 4.5lb brown trout caught on a Tom Jones fly pattern. (Photo courtesy Keil Jones)

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