Lakes liven up!
  |  First Published: December 2014

Summer is here and this has spurred the native fish into life at some of the region’s lakes. Redfin make a welcome return to the table and the trout have become a little harder to tempt in some lakes that are shallower but the deeper lakes have started to fire nicely.

With several of the region’s lakes with better than 80% water levels producing great fish, the jewel in the Wimmera’s crown and probably the best trout lake in Australia, Lake Toolondo is on the ropes and almost down for the count. While we have been campaigning for over a year now, because we have foresight, the government and local water authorities refuse to breathe life into Toolondo by giving it a much-needed top up. Too intent on continual environmental flows to other areas and trading water off for profit, Toolondo will surely die this summer along with the 77,200 stocked trout along with a perfectly balanced ecosystem. Another bureaucratic bungle we have to suffer!


I have been hinting on a resurgence here for some months now and we are starting to see the old Fyans once again. With good catches of rainbows and browns of late, as well as some beaut redfin, the lake is repaying for its great water level and stocking.

Mud-eye under a float will trick the cunning browns and the odd rainbow. Redfin aren't real fussy but I find it best to drag diving lures around treelines and structure for good returns. Rainbows have also been taken on lime green twist Powerbait fished around 5ft under a bubble float. Fly fishers are also starting to get results as the hatches progress.


After a slow start the redfin here are starting to school up and recently I landed a couple of good feeds trolling StumpJumpers and RMG Scorpions in around 4-5m of water.

Trout are also very active in this waterway with a lot of abundant stock that were unable to go elsewhere being released to bolster the numbers.

Carp are ever present and a pest but good fun on light gear. I recently lost a large bass up near the wall area in the old riverbed that would have been better than 55cm so for bass fishos, it maybe worth a look.


Taylor also has fired up with bank anglers doing very well late afternoon, through the night and early morning.

Yellowbelly have been taken up to 1.3kg on scrub worms and yabby tail. The odd redfin is thrown in and there's always the pesky carp to keep you entertained between quality fish.

With the cod season opening in December, I can see some good catches coming out of here as it hasn't suffered the fishing pressures of other lakes and rivers.


Bellfield and Wartook are two lakes within easy reach of Halls Gap that are always late bloomers due to limited sunlight exposure due to both being nestled deep in between mountain ranges.

Wartook will be at its peak as the days get longer but right now it still produces some great trout, especially browns on peeled yabby tail fished down deep or by trolling lures along weed beds and structure.

Rainbow trout this year have been the mainstay of anglers and flat lining Tassie Devils or fishing Powerbait either on a running sinker rig or under a bubble float has accounted for many fish. Redfin are also plentiful in here and in the larger sizes so maybe try sounding up schools and presenting baits or even use ice jigs dropped down deep. These same principles apply to Bellfield but remember its an electric-propulsion only lake.


Toolondo is on the verge of tipping over unfortunately (as spoken about above). While it continues to produce some great browns and the odd rainbow, I can see a major fish kill not too far down the track. In the last few days we have recorded surface temps of 23ºC, which is becoming borderline for trout survival.

The mudeye fishos are still catching a few but lures and plastics have slowed immensely. The fish have become lethargic with the sudden rise in water temperature and will either adjust or start to die; I fear the latter.

Fly fishos will do it very tough here this time around as the fish will not be overly energetic. Redfin are still about and we are seeing schools now in shallower water and presenting lures and plastics for easy hook ups.

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