Angler’s perfect paradise
  |  First Published: July 2014

Anglers from all over the region are lining the shores, boat ramps are full and the trout and redfin in Lake Wendouree are on the chew. That’s the word on the angling grapevine, and nearly every day there are anglers fishing the lake.

The late autumn weather was mild, which was another reason we have seen so many wetting a line. Normally Ballarat is renowned for its freezing cold inclement weather that puts a lot of anglers off – only the true diehards stay fishing.

As we head into winter, the Ballarat and district is really looking for a very wet winter. Lake Wendouree is okay, but our other waters around the district all need a lot of water, otherwise next fishing season will be very tough. Some of our waters will be unfishable back to the dark days of our most recent drought.

Fly fishers, bait anglers, lure casters, shore-based fishers, boat and kayak anglers have been having a ball at Lake Wendouree. Whether you’re fishing a mud eye suspended under bubble float or loch style fly fishing, trolling lures or casting lures everyone has been rewarded.

Towards the end of autumn, it was so mild that even fly fishers were out after dark. Anthony and Wayne Atkinson have been landing excellent brown trout up to 5lb on mudeye fly patterns, something not normally done at this time of year.

Other fly fishers reaping the rewards of Lake Wendouree trout fishing has been Shane Jeffrey catching and landing three magnificent brown trout to 5lb in one session on a bright sunny day; this is out of the norm as the lake fishes best on overcast days.

Bruce Pipkorn, a member of the Ballarat Fly Fishers Club, recently won the Goldfields Trophy – an annual fly fishing competition held between Bendigo and Ballarat fly fishers. A total of 40 anglers fished over the weekend with 9 trout caught and many smaller trout released. The heaviest was a 1.91kg brown trout.

Andrew Dellaca, a very keen lure caster, has been having a ball catching and releasing brown trout. Andrew has been targeting the main rowing channel casting hardbodied lures. He mentioned that you can cast up and down the rowing channel, which is 1km, for nothing then come across a school of fish and get hits and fish nearly every cast. This has happened on numerous occasions in various locations, so it’s just a matter of finding the fish and it’s game on.

Moorabool Reservoir has seen angler numbers, and catch rates, increase. The water level is down a bit at the moment, but anglers have clear water access when the reservoir is full. This can be limited with high grass and bushland around the shoreline and wading is not permitted in the Reservoir.

Anglers casting lures using hardbodied lures in smelt or minnow patterns and also redfin imitations have been catching fish up to 2kg. Fly fishos are once again using smelt patterns amongst the brown trout. Bait anglers are using the ever-reliable mudeye suspended under bubble floats.

Moorabool should fish very well during the winter months. Newly Reservoir and Hepburn Lagoon reports have gone very quiet at the moment, as you would normally expect. However, anglers who are not afraid of putting an extra layer of clothing on will be rewarded.

Cosgroves Reservoir, a small water located just out of Creswick, reports some magnificent rainbow trout up to 3lb. The reservoir receives an annual stocking of rainbow and brown trout from Fisheries Victoria but you never really hear many reports of them being caught there.

Cosgroves is very much like the Moorabool Reservoir as access is very limited, which makes it hard to fish when the water level is high. At the moment the water is down and there is excellent shoreline access available. Casting smelt or redfin pattern lures is a very productive method. If working the fly, use patterns like Woolly Buggers or a bunch of worms or a mud eye.

Tullaroop Reservoir, over near Maryborough, has been very quiet. Normally during the winter months Tullaroop comes into a league of its own. For anglers once again who don’t mind rugging up, Tullaroop is the place to go casting lures around the endless shoreline with smelt patterns. Searching patterns, such as Woolly Buggers, Fuzzy Wuzzies, Mrs Simpsons and Hammils Killers will certainly do the trick.

A key to success at Tullaroop is don’t stay in the one spot; cover as much shoreline as possible.


Anthony Atkinson caught this 2.2kg brown trout at Lake Wendouree while flyfishing after dark on a black mudeye fly pattern. Photo courtesy Wayne Atkinson.


Shane Jeffrey’s Lake Wendouree brown trout was caught fly fishing using an Olive Magoo fly pattern. Photo courtesy Shane Jeffrey.


Bruce Pipkorn with a 1.91kg brown trout. Bruce won the Goldfields Trophy. Photo courtesy Barry Kentish.


Craig Coltman and Jim Bambridge loch style fly fishing Lake Wendouree during the recent Goldfields Trophy.


Craig Coltman catching and releasing a 1.7kg brown trout from Lake Wendouree during the Goldfields Trophy comp. Photo courtesy Crain Coltman.

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