Heating up the offerings
  |  First Published: July 2014

South Western Victoria, along with much of southern Australia, experienced overly warm temperatures in May. So far we are yet to experience the cold, wintry conditions that are expected at this time of year.

On top of that, meteorologists are now saying that an El Nino event is on the way meaning low rainfall and warm temperatures – exactly what is happening right now. We have had very reasonable autumn rainfall but that needs to continue throughout the winter months. This will provide our lakes with an adequate level to sustain our trout populations over the summer months but the long term forecast has put this in some jeopardy.

Lake Elingamite is still too low to adequately launch any sort of craft. At least 100mm+ is needed to top this lake up to allow access to the trophy fish that it regularly supplies.

Lake Bullen Merri has been the talk of the town in recent times with a plethora of trout and salmon on offer. The browns are leaving the depths and beginning to move into the shallows in a desperate effort to spawn. Many of these fish are approaching 4kg but it looks like this year will be the resident brown’s grand finale as they are beginning to blacken.

As we speak the restocking of brown trout in Bullen Merri and Purrumbete is well underway as the chinook salmon are now big enough to look after themselves. In fact ‘chooks’ weighing in at over 1.4kg are a regular catch in Bullen Merri along with plenty of rainbows weighing from 1-2kg.

With the water temperature ever slowly falling, flat line trolling a variety of lures has now overtaken down rigging.

Early mornings with the sun initially just kissing the water sees the rainbows and chinooks actively feeding in the shallows and conducive to a trolled lure while the browns are better targeted earlier on from first light to sun up.

Lake Purrumbete has Brown trout from just over 2kg to nearly 4kg on offer but the catch rate per angler seems somewhat lower than Bullen Merri. However, the quality of the fish landed here can be considered as good as it gets.

Many bait anglers are still coming up trumps soaking mudeyes, gudgeon and scrub worm under a float. Just be aware that the massive schools of smallish redfin circulating around the lake often steal what’s on offer.

Being a ‘crater’ lake, anchoring or trolling just metres from the weed beds that encircle can put you in depths of up to 8-10m. This is often necessary as this lake’s water quality is close to superb and therefore very clear, unlike Bullen Merri’s brackish offering. So quality fish are more prone to spooking at Purrumbete than elsewhere.

Unfortunately Elingamite, Tooliorook and Deep Lake are currently off limits due to low and poor quality water but I can assure all that trophy trout and redfin are happily swimming around in Elingamite. As yet untouched by an angler’s offering, which hopefully several inches of rainfall will fix. I cannot wait for the day. Bring it on soon!

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