Great month for fluff chuckers
  |  First Published: November 2014

Fishing in and around the Ballarat district has really fired up with our spring weather well and truly here.

The warmer weather insects are starting to hatch and the trout in the district have changed from their winter slumber and are now feeding more actively. Their feeding habits have definitely changed and they are now targeting mayflies, damsels, midge, dragonflies and mud eyes as their main food sources and us as anglers need to change the way we have been fishing over the winter months. We now need to match the hatch with what the trout are munching on.

Lake Wendouree has seen angler numbers increase day after day with warmer and more settled weather. Anglers have been out in force fishing from boats, land-based or any of the new floating jetties we now have in the lake, which make for magnificent fishing platforms.

Anglers using mud eyes suspended under bubble floats have constantly been rewarded catching quality brown and rainbow trout up to 5lb from the shore and boats. The boat anglers getting the best results have been anchoring their boats right on the edges of the lakes main weed banks and fishing out into the open waters. Early in the morning or just on evening have been the best times to bait fish the lake.

The fly fishers are just playing the waiting game for the mayfly to start hatching. Lake Wendouree was renowned for many years as Victoria’s premier mayfly water with fly fishers travelling from all over Australia to fish ‘The Hatch’. Sadly, during the drought years when the lake dried up the mayfly larvae died, but now the lake has filled we have seen some very small hatches over the last few years, but nothing like years ago. We live in hope that something has changed and over the coming couple of months they’ll come back to what the hatches used to be.

The fly fishers have been catching plenty of trout ‘loch style’ fly-fishing Lake Wendouree stripping Woolly Bugger patterns and damsel fly patterns. On dark and into the evenings mud eye patterns with Craig’s Night Time and Mrs Simpson patterns the fly of choice the most effective. This method is best employed with a slow retrieve as this proved rewarding for the shore-based fly swingers.

The lure casters and trollers still continue to reap the rewards on offer at Lake Wendouree. Whether you are land-based or drifting out in the boat or just trolling the main rowing channel, trout and redfin have been on the chew. Hardbodied lures seem to be the most productive with day break and evenings the best times to catch a fish but if we get some overcast days, you should get out there as the trout will bite all day.

Newlyn Reservoir and Hepburn Lagoon are both on the mayfly radar for the fly fishers with the overcast days being the best time to fly fish these waters both waters. These are only land-based fisheries so walking or wading the shorelines waiting for a feeding trout is the go, but if there is no surface insect activity, searching fly patterns like Woolly Buggers, Tom Jones or the ever-reliable Brown Nymph with a slow retrieve should produce results.

For bait anglers, the humble old garden worm fished on a running sinker rig is as good as any but a spider or bug mud eye suspended under a bubble float is the best bait there is. Trout just cannot go past a mud eye, especially at Hepburn as the lagoon is full and the trout feed on them during the warmer months as their main diet.

The fly anglers over the coming months at Hepburn should be prepared to also fish in the evenings and well into the night. When the mud eyes really start to hatch the trout will follow them out of the deeper water and into the shallows and this is when we as fly fishers will have the best chance to catch some thumping trout that lurk around in these waters. Wet or dry mud eye patters are the most successful with very slow retrieves. Don’t be afraid to wade into the water to cast back in along the shorelines, as the trout will chase the mud eyes into only inches of water to feed on them.

Moorabool Reservoir, like others in the district, is another waterway that has the mayfly hatches, so there’s not much more to say on the method required. To be able to catch trout in this waterway, however, fly-fishing needs to be done very early in the day to find the trout in the shallows, feeding on small midge or mud eyes from the night before. The stealth approach needs to be applied when fishing for midge feeders with small flies and light leaders are a requirement to be able to catch these feeding trout.

For the bait fishermen, mud eyes and worms are the go in Moorabool.

Photo courtesy of David Bandy.

Photo courtesy of Tom Shaw.

Photo courtesy of Scott Xanthoulakis.

Photo Courtesy of Craig Mitchell.

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