It just gets better
  |  First Published: June 2014

Ballarat and district anglers are blessed at the moment as the fishing action around the district just seems to get better. As we wave goodbye to our autumn and rug up for another Ballarat winter there’s plenty of action for keen anglers who like to get out and enjoy wetting a line. But, most importantly, they’ll also have a chance of catching some quality fish.

Lake Wendouree

Lake Wendouree is still on the top of the list as far as fishing action goes. Most anglers are catching some magnificent trout and redfin; fly fishing from boats or the shore, casting or trolling lures and the bait fishos are catching their fair share as well.

Ballarat flyfisher Jimmy Laverty has been catching some quality brown trout up to 4lb casting small Woolly Bugger type patterns. Gary McKay and Trev Crawford have also been among the brown trout that are cruising around. They are catching some quality trout on small smelt patterns. Young Ballarat Anglers Club member Daniel Hon has been reeling in some good sized redfin on mud eyes and trolling lures in the main rowing channel of the lake.

As we move into the winter months the trout will certainly start to target the small bait fish that live in the lake, so smelt or minnow type fly and lure patterns will be the way to go. The redfin will also grab these patterns during the winter months.

The trout will get very aggressive and territorial so bright coloured lures and flies work very well. This is also the case with most other waters when the trout get into breeding/spawning mode.

Newlyn Reservoir

At Newlyn Reservoir the trout have really started to move in closer to the shores, obviously feeding on smelt as they move in to shallower water.

Corey Green, only new to the fly fishing scene, has been out chasing the trout around the shores of Newlyn with some success catching and releasing a lovely brown trout around the 3lb on a pheasant tail nymph.

The trout, while feeding on smelt and other bait fish, can be very frustrating to catch either on fly or lure. You might have to try quite a few different patterns until you get the one that works, but it is very rewarding fishing.


Hepburn Lagoon is pretty much the same as Newlyn Reservoir with the way the trout feed during the winter months. As the insect and mud eyes hatches have finished, their main diet is smelt or small baitfish, yabbies or snails.

It is very important that during these cooler months anglers are armed with baits, lures or flies that represent the food that the trout are feeding on.

Hepburn is currently a difficult place to fish with low water levels due to irrigation and the abundance of weed that is in the water. However, don’t let this put you off as there are plenty of quality trout to be caught if you can find some pockets of water free of weed.

Garry McKay has been fly fishing some of these pockets of clear water with excellent results catching and releasing brown trout to 3.5lb on small smelt fly patterns.

There is another enticement that attracts anglers to this water, and that is knowing some trophy-sized trout are lurking around waiting to be caught.

Cairn Curran

Cairn Curran Reservoir’s water clarity has improved and a couple of months ago I suggested it would be a good place to look at during the winter months for trout feeding on smelt.

Ballarat angler Don Scott has been chasing the redfin with excellent results catching them on small yabbies and garden worms fished on the bottom out of a boat. Ranging from small school redfin to good sized 1.5lb, Don said the key to his success was to move from tree to tree until you found a school and catch as many as you could until they moved on.

Cairn Curran is a very versatile fishery and one that anglers should keep in the back of their minds and only about 80km from Ballarat.

Ballarat has plenty of other waters in and around our district that are well worth wetting a line with good stockings of trout from previous years and natural breeding of redfin. Anglers are well placed for some good fishing.

Other waters I would recommend are Cosgroves, Dean, Moorabool and Tullaroop Reservoirs. A little bit further afield Lauriston and Malmsbury Reservoirs generally fish very well during the winter months and, finally, Lake Tooliorook although very low water levels exist has some very good sized trout lurking around.


Jimmy Laverty at Lake Wendouree caught this brown trout while flyfishing. Photo courtesy Jimmy Laverty


Lake Wendouree is still on the top of the list for great fishing action. Photo Courtesy Garry McKay.


Daniel Hon has been reeling in some good sized redfin on mud eyes. Photo courtesy Craig Hon.


Corey Green’s brown trout was caught and released at Newlyn Reservoir on a pheasant tail nymph. Photo courtesy Corey Green.


Garry McKay’s Hepburn lagoon brown trout caught and released using a smelt feeder. Photo courtesy Garry McKay.

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