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Waiting for the rains
  |  First Published: April 2014



The short hot summer that inflicted south eastern Australia has well and truly left and now we are just waiting for the rains to arrive. This could take some time. In the meantime our lakes’ water levels are steadily dropping and as most are generally shallow, this is putting more pressure on the local inhabitants, particularly trout.

Deep Lake at Derrinallum is suffering from a blue-green algal outbreak and has been shut down by the local council. Any rainbow trout still surviving in these very shallow waters are off limit for the time being.

Nearby Lake Tooliorook at Lismore is also suffering from low water levels, plus an overabundance of weed. The only fish being caught here are last year’s release of rainbows and these fish are struggling to reach a kilogram in weight. The fish are skinny and many are infected with worms.

The water levels at Lake Elingamite are now too low for boats to launch however those who fish out of kayaks can still access the lake and are being rewarded with brown and rainbows to over 2kg. These fish are responding well to a wide variety of minnow lures either cast or trolled. Jigging plastics and lures out in the lake’s centre where it is at its deepest is also working.

The new release rainbows and chinook salmon are now certainly more than pan-sized, but again I ask anglers to release the chooks as these fish have the potential to grow to enormous sizes. Wouldn’t it be a scream to be connected up to a rampaging chinook topping 10lb in a couple of years?

Lake Bullen Merri’s water quality is marginal but still fishable. The main catch of the day is coming from bank anglers soaking either Powerbait in red or chartreuse. Likewise, use locally caught gudgeon and minnow or mudeye fished either suspended under a float or unweighted and allowed to slowly sink towards the bottom. The ‘catch’ is coming in the form of rainbow trout to 1kg and chinook salmon to 700g.

Lake Purrumbete’s deep, clear waters are still holding the odd brown trout topping 4kg. Down rigging minnow lures to depths between 20-30m is required to tempt one of these not-so-common trophy captures. However, this lake is renowned for longevity when it comes to brown trout and fish topping the 5kg mark, while rare, are not beyond the realms of possibility. Rainbow trout averaging around 1kg are a more common capture and so too are redfin.

Fishing the shallows up close to the many weed beds that surround the lake still sees your boat anchored in depths averaging 8m. This provides a deeper and cooler passageway for trout to explore the shallows looking for sustenance but, when threatened, it also offers an escape to much deeper waters with only a tail’s flick away.

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