Diversity in the district
  |  First Published: December 2014

Anglers in and around the district are blessed with an abundance of fisheries with more than one species to target. This shows how diverse our fisheries are from chasing brown or rainbow trout, Chinook salmon, yellowbelly, Murray cod to redfin, how lucky are we to have all this within one hour of Ballarat’s CBD.

The pressure now goes back onto the angler as to which species they are going to target, which lake or river they are going fish and which method are they going to use (bait, lure or fly). But the million-dollar question is always, how do I catch them?

Lake Wendouree continues to shine and is probably one of the premier fisheries in the state at the moment. I admit I am a bit biased, but with the trout and redfin really on the chew it’s pretty hard to go past. Ben Young has been having a purple patch of recent times changing tactics from casting soft plastic to casting mudeyes and reaping the rewards with excellent catches of brown trout to over 3kg.

Matt Greagan, another local angler who targets Lake Wendouree, normally trolling lures up and down the main rowing channel, has changed his tactics to now casting soft plastics and hardbodied lures out of a drifting boat, and he has been nailing them! The redfin have been up to 47cm long, which are between 4-5lb.

My son Max and I have been drifting mudeyes under bubble floats from some of the floating jetties that are around the shores of the lake with success. Our best session recently was for 10 trout caught and released in varying size from 300g-1.5kg.

Now the warmer weather is here, for anglers to get the best results for time and effort then head out early mornings and evenings. For those who like fly fishing an evening and into the night should gain the results they are looking for, especially if the fish are feeding on mudeyes. The flies I would suggest are sizes are 10 or 12 Fur Fly, Craig’s Nighttime, Mrs Simpson, Hammills Killer and a Muddler Minnow.

At Moorabool Reservoir, the redfin are on the chew. Tom Kulczynski a very keen angler, who casts lures and soft plastics, has been cleaning up recently with his best session only one you could dream of! He caught 10 fish between 43-47cm, which are certainly cracking big redfin. Tom mentioned that it’s not just a matter of pulling up at one spot but it’s game on. Tom walks the banks he prefers, the steeper ones casting and retrieving either large soft plastics 4” long or large hardbodied or spoon lures. Tom believes the big lures keep the very small school redfin away.

Once you eventually find the fish you certainly can clean up, work that particular area until they either move out into the deeper water or you have just caught enough. Redfin of that size fight well and are also great table fish.

Tom has had many trips to Moorabool with no luck but now the water and weather have both warmed up the redfin have certainly come on the bite.

Moorabool is also a very good trout fishery, anglers should target the prime times of early morning and evenings as they will move into the shallows at these times and make them easier to catch.

Hepburn Lagoon should produce some excellent fishing over the next month with water levels remaining high. The trout will move in closer to the shores chasing mudeyes as they hatch into dragonflies. The coming month should see the biggest hatches occur, so fly fishers should use the same fly patterns as for lake Wendouree, bait anglers should use local bug or spider mudeye suspended under a bubble float. Angling times should be evening and well into dark and very early morning.

Newlyn Reservoir is pretty much like Hepburn Lagoon and will fish very well over the coming months, especially at evening the trout and redfin should be on the chew. For those anglers targeting redfin, garden worms and yabbies fished on a running sinker rig will work for those casting lures or soft plastics. The deeper banks will be the area to target. Trout fishers should use Powerbait on a running sinker or a mudeye under a bubble float will bring the best results.

Cairn Curran Reservoir and the Loddon River below the Dam wall have been producing some thumping yellowbelly. Tom Shaw who fishes these waters all the time has been catching yellowbelly up to 5kg on spinnerbaits in the reservoir and the river. Tom said it’s just a matter of putting in the miles to get the best results.

In the reservoir you will find the schools of yellas mostly on the deeper drop-offs and banks or target old drowned trees or structure. A good sounder will assist and use a variety of lures or spinnerbaits to see which one they are feeding on.

The Loddon River below the dam wall has some awesome yellowbelly. Tom said for best results the water has to be running or being released out of the reservoir. Target any structure in the river with a variety of different colours and sized spinnerbaits with a very slow retrieve. Sometimes you can cast at one spot 20 times until you get them to take your lure. Tom mentioned he has had many fishless trips but when they are on, it’s well worth the effort.

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