Ticking all the boxes
  |  First Published: May 2014

Ballarat and district anglers are blessed to have Lake Wendouree fishery just at our back door, and a versatile fishery at that! All forms of angling methods work; anytime of the day you can fish out of a boat, canoe or float tube off the shore or from one of the many jetties for a chance of catching a quality fish.

The water level at Lake Wendouree is very good unlike a lot of others waters around the district, so it ticks all the right boxes. Another bonus is that it is an all-round year fishery, even in the cold winter months.

Lake Wendouree recently held the Jim Thomas Two Fly competition with fly fishers from all over the state coming to fish Lake Wendouree over a two day period hosted by the Ballarat Fly Fishers Club. Fly anglers were allocated two flies to fish with during competition hours, if the angler was unlucky enough to lose his/her flies they were out of contention to win the trophy for the longest trout caught and released during the allocated fishing times.

The fishing conditions for the weekend were not favourable for fly fishers with mainly bright blue skies and not much wind – not a good cocktail for angling in general on the lake due to its shallowness. However, 46 fly fishers stuck it out to catch and release 24 trout brown and rainbow ranging in size from 37-53cm. David Bandy landed the longest trout for the weekend, a 53cm brown trout, and won the Jim Thomas Memorial Trophy for 2014.

Tom Shaw a very keen all-round angler who has also been fishing Lake Wendouree has been catching some excellent redfin on hardbodied lures drifting across the lake and its weed beds. Tom said the best days were the overcast ones and to vary your lure colour and size. Don’t just stick to the one lure, if it doesn’t work try another. Other anglers have been working the main rowing channel trolling shallow diving lures.

As we move later into autumn we can only hope from a fly fisho’s point of view we get some mayfly hatches. If that doesn’t happen, the trout and redfin in the lake might turn their focus onto feeding on the masses of smelly small baitfish in the lake.

Angling in the district has been very quiet in the past month but I’m sure as the weather has been cooling down the anglers will start to get fired up to wet a line. Our local waters, like the Moorabool Reservoir should produce some good day fishing for the anglers with hopefully some mayfly hatches for the fly fishers. For the bait guys, mudeyes fished under a bubble float should do the trick for trout and casting some soft plastics should get the redfin fired up.

At Newlyn Reservoir there have been a few reports drifting through on the angling grapevine a few trout moving around the edges early morning and just on dark. The fly fishers have been catching one or two with one report of a 3kg brown trout being landed.

Going on previous years around this time, the redfin also get very active with the north shore and west wall the best spots. Casting lures or soft plastics small baitfish imitations have been successful as well as a bunch of worms or a small yabby on a running sinker rig.

Tullaroop Reservoir is a water to watch over the coming months during autumn and winter. Water levels are very good with a healthy population of trout and redfin – we are in for some cracking fishing! The reservoir seems to have endless banks and bays you can walk along either casting lures, flies or just sitting in a quiet spot drowning a worm, mudeye or a yabby waiting for a trout feeding or redfin to come along.

Certainly a very exciting and once again frustrating but rewarding time. So fly anglers get your smelt patterns ready, lure casters get your small baitfish imitations, and walk the shores! But be ready as there is certainly some clunkers lurking around Tullaroop.

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