Climate combination gives consistency
  |  First Published: December 2013

Due to spring and early summer’s above average rainfall, combined with lower than average temperatures for this time of year, our lake’s levels have remained more or less constant. This is great news for those chasing salmonoids and redfin and the current catch rate has not been disappointing.

At Lake Bullen Merri the target fish at present are rainbow trout, weighing in around 1kg. Fishing depths from 4-10m has taken the majority of captures. These depths are easily reached by bank anglers who are using Powerbait, mudeye and local gudgeon fished under a float or unweighted and allowed to slowly waft down towards the bottom. The rainbows continue to be caught throughout the daylight hours however early morning and evening should provide better results.

Lake Purrumbete has been a tad quiet of late. Even though at this time of year many boaters down rig and troll lures to 20m+ depth, the fish are still hard to come by. Anglers showing some success are fishing the shallows close to or in amongst the weed beds and taking solid browns to 4kg on mudeye suspended under a float. Unfortunately a lot of bait is lost to pesky redfin who have a habit of honing in on mudeye meant for a trout. This could be forgiven except that the overwhelming majority of reddies are tiny.

Both these lakes, plus Elingamite, all have ‘pan size’ chinook salmon taking bait and lures; they are a perfect size for a meal. Most fish are over the legal limit and it is an angler’s legal right to keep their bag limit, however the chinooks were stocked primarily to grow (hopefully) to trophy sized fish as they have done so in the past. I, as well as many others, would prefer to tangle with a trophy sized ‘chook’ in a year or three rather than take them now for consumption. There are plenty of rainbow trout about to take for a feed and I implore all anglers to do so.

To also encourage chinook to achieve this size, the stocking of brown trout in Bullen Merri and Purrumbete has been put on hold for two years. Browns are predatory fish and love to clean up new release fish. Some anglers were upset with this plan of action. To compensate for the lack of new release browns, an excess amount of rainbows were released to help sate appetites.

Lake Elingamite has been consistent for browns and rainbows with two release sizes of both species being caught. Last year’s fish are weighing in over 1kg and fish released two years prior are coming in over 2kg.

Trolling or static casting a wide variety of lures is very successful here. In saying that, many anglers still prefer to static fish with baits, especially at first light in the shallows adjacent to the weed beds. This age old method is still very successful on a given day and by fishing in close these boaters can stay clear of those who wish to move around trolling or casting lures.

A small amount of triploid (sterile) chinook salmon were also released here late last year as an experiment and are now legal size. Again, please consider catch and release until these fish mature. The growth rate of triploid fish is meant to be faster than standard stock so hopefully in the future comparisons can be made with fish from Bullen Merri and Purrumbete.

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