Most of January saw milder than normal weather, which has kept the trout active, and a major downpour in excess of 2” certainly helped maintain water levels in our shallower lakes. In saying that, Lake Elingamite near Cobden had barely 100mm depth at the boat ramp so most craft, except kayaks, are now off limits until the winter rains arrive.
Lake Purrumbete has seen some lovely brown trout taken in recent times. Fish from 1.4kg to well over 2kg have responded to either mudeye suspended under a float and fished near the weed beds or by flatline trolling Loftys Cobra style lures in the same areas. So too is the cast and retrieval of a wide variety of minnow lures such as Pontoon 21 Greedy Guts, Gagagoon and CrackJack medium divers. Early mornings and late evenings have been the time to wet a line as during the day the fish go deeper and can only be reached using downriggers to a depth of 10m.
Lake Bullen Merri is still conducive for Chinook salmon with some approaching 3kg in weight responding to blue bait and pilchard either filleted or cut.
Bank anglers are still catching as many as boaters who are static fishing in depths approaching 10m in depth. The use of berley certainly increases the catch rate, and canned cat food of the seafood variety is still the best and cheapest form to use. Forming this mixture into small balls and either throwing from the bank or dropping overboard at regular intervals certainly attracts the fish. Wear gloves otherwise risk having ‘fishy’ hands for up to a week. Not a good smell for others to endure.
The larger pools that occur regularly along the Mount Emu Creek’s length are holding some excellent brown trout to 700g plus some thumping redfin to 1.4kg. Although there is minimal flow, fishing the top and bottom areas has seen some feisty fish taken. The trout are responding to Celta style spinners fished from top to mid water and shallow diving minnow lures fished close to either the bank or any structure or snag.
Summer is blackfish time and the Gellibrand River in and around Chapplevale has seen some thumpers to 1.5kg being caught. Scrub worm and small yabbies have been the gun baits to use and fished unweighted on the bottom is the way to go. Dusk is the prime time to catch a blacky or two, with midnight being the next best time these fish appear to switch into a feeding mode.
As most of this river exists in a bush setting please be aware of snakes. The area is swamped with tiger, brown and black snakes and on a warm night they regularly crawl after dark, so make plenty of noise as you move about.
One stout rod is all an angler needs and blackfish are fun to catch but certainly lack in taste so think about releasing after a photo or two. The Gellibrand River is considered the last stronghold of this native fish left in the state so I urge you to keep that in mind and let the fish go to breed again.Reads: 545