With above average temperatures and some massive hatches of all varieties the aerial action of the trout has been nothing short of breathtaking especially in the early mornings and late afternoons throughout most of the Grampians lakes.
Sad to say this area has not only taken a major slap in the face from Mother Nature again with a 55,000ha bushfire but low water levels are starting to see excessive surface temperatures and the odd algae bloom. Let's all hope the much awaited rainfall over autumn/winter arrives sooner rather than later and saves some of these lakes from the brink of devastation.
After seeing the transition from the trout freely taking mudeye under bubble floats and switching to lures and plastics it has been a very challenging, rewarding but sometimes frustrating month on the lake. The switch in mood of the fish from one offering to another has been a very interesting learning curve and dominated pretty much by the barometer. To see browns and rainbows virtually turn their nose up at mudeye and chase selected offerings was a sight to behold. Still some great fish coming out here and as usual the rewards are there if the work is put in, pre dawn starts will take fish feeding as will last light scenarios. Browns to 3.2kg and a few rainbows to 1.8kg on offer but the larger rainbows have gone very quiet. Trolling has been very slow and un productive so my tip is tree lines and weed beds with plastics such as fish arrows and lately the strike pro bob n spoon has done very well. Last couple of days I tried out the Fishooka dragonfly/vibe and was amazed at this little fellas ability to drag reluctant fish out of weed beds and instantly put them in attack mode. I landed 3 fish from 5 casts and to see a 2.3kg brown wake from a daytime slumber and turn like a guided missile from 15m away shall stick with me forever. Toolondo has finally started to produce a few redfin as well although not in big numbers or sizes. The intrepid angler will secure a good feed of these tasty morsels.
With reports of some great redfin catches in the Fergusons, Glendenning and Brodies areas I ventured there in late February with Toolondo local Tash Allen trolling lures. Redfin eluded us but Tash managed a nice brown of 1.7kg on a rapala minnow. Yabbies and scrubworms have accounted for a lot of good specimens here lately but also become the target of pesky carp. Locating a school of redfin and keeping on them is the key and a sounder of good quality will put you on the spot. Casting soft plastics to the school also reaps rewards. This method is also working well on both banks beside the wall.
Bellfield once again throws up a wildcard every now and then and this came to a Geelong fly fisherman in the form of a nice brown taken on a Craigs Nightime just south of the wall on the western edge. A magnificent buck brown of 3.9kg released to fight another day after a quick weigh in and some happy snaps. Chinook salmon continue to grow out in here and I have heard of some around the kilo mark already. Worms and hardbody lures will see you hooked up to them but you will have to contend with many small Redfin as well.
Once again Wartook has been hit hard by rampant bushfires and it was sad to hear of many structures being lost in and around this fantastic area. As a result I have nothing to report here apart from it still being closed off as rejuvenation work continues as well as clearing of trees to eradicate dangers to the public. Not sure when it will open or what effect it has had on the fish but I'm hoping in time we will be able to bring you some good news here.
These two lakes still haven't reached their full potential fish wise but raised water levels have seen turbid water and make them increasingly hard to fish. Taylors is still giving up some nice yellowbelly and the odd Redfin on trolled/cast lures around the trees but not any great numbers. Green Lake has resident redfin population and while they are growing out there has been only a couple of reports of table fish being landed. Yabbies on the bottom are the pick of methods here.
Some golden perch are being taken on yabbies and scrubworms in the river as well as any amount of carp. Early morning and late afternoons seem the best times and lately some school redfin have also been taken between the caravan park and the bridge around the snags and tree lines. Any amount of carp are in here and they become rather annoying to the serious angler but they are always great for kids, so if you want a good starting point in fishing that won't see kids bored, get some worms or corn, even some bread and drag some of these vermin out of the river to give the natives a fair chance.
In early March we were (and probably still are) fighting a major battle with local water authority GWM and water minister Mr Peter Walsh to get water into Lake Toolondo. We have started a Facebook page called Toolondo Reservoir and we have a petition through change.org.au that we need as many signatures and support on to ensure this icon is preserved and protected now and into the future. Please get on board and help us if possible.Reads: 949