Black crickets are back
  |  First Published: March 2015

What is this you ask? A lot of anglers in and around the Ballarat district will know it’s time for the return of the black cricket an insect that comes out of the cracks in the ground during the middle of our summer and yes, you guessed it, they are on the trouts’ menu!

The lakes and streams around Central Victoria are renowned hot spots for the black cricket and us anglers need to adapt to the conditions and what the trout and redfin are feeding on in our Lakes and streams. We need to make the best of what is normally a pretty trying time fishing in the district. We’ll start to use them as baits or use imitations that represent the cricket. On evening and after dark are the best times to fish with natural or artificial baits.

The bait anglers need to use a bubble float or foam with a greased leader of approximately 3ft long to the hook with the natural bait. Fishing with the wind behind your back keep is a good idea and make sure you’re checking your rigs as the crickets sometime crawl across the surface and come and sit on the bubble float. It’s pretty unlikely the trout will eat a bubble float but a free-swimming black cricket is nearly irresistible to a hungry trout.

For the fly fishers, the set up for this is pretty easy. Use a long leader of between 8-10ft long and greased, and tie your Muddler Minnow pattern or Black Cricket imitation on and cast out onto the lake or stream. A very slow ‘figure 8’ retrieve or slow strip will ensure you cover plenty of water in close to the shore and out deeper. One little tip I always use when fishing Muddler patterns is to grease the head of the Muddler with Musilin.

Lake wendouree

Lake Wendouree still seems to be the hot spot around the district with all angling methods producing the goods. I have had a couple of good sessions in the middle of the day.

On overcast days casting soft plastics out of a drifting boat the main rowing channel has produced the best results and a Norrie’s Shad Tail has been the best soft plastic.

Mudeye fished from jetties, the shore or out of a boat has been very a very productive method of catching both trout and redfin. Early morning and evening have proved to be the best times and for the fly fishers. Night time is the right time to be using mudeye fly pattern.

Cricket patterns as mentioned above have been successful and Trev Crawford who seems to be a Wendouree specialist has been catching some quality trout fly fishing but also some cracking redfin on mud eye imitations just on dark. Trev thought he had hooked up to some cracking sized trout and they have turned out to be big redfin, which fight really well and eat even better, so it just goes to show as long as you have your bait, fly or lure in the water you just never know what you are going to catch.

Hepburn Lagoon

Hepburn Lagoon is still producing the goods, although it’s getting harder to fish and will even get tougher in the coming months as this water is used for irrigation for potatoes.

The good anglers have been finding the pockets of clear water in amongst the weed beds and catching some quality brown and rainbow trout. Tom Kulczynski a very good lure angler has been nailing some magnificent rainbow trout casting Tassie Devil lures. Tom mentioned it’s just a matter of finding the clearer holes and fishing them, and it the fish are not in one area, then move to another clear patch.

I fished out at Hepburn recently with no luck but I did speak to another angler using power bait and he had nailed a couple of nice rainbow trout.

The fly-fishing after dark using the same methods as mentioned earlier should produce some excellent results as Hepburn fishes really feed well on dark and into the night and I’m sure with the black crickets moving about they will be on the chew.

Cogroves reservoir

Cosgroves Reservoir close to Ballarat is a small shore-based fishery, which holds some quality trout and redfin and usually fishes very well at this time of the year. Casting soft plastics will provide the anglers with a lot of fun catching some small redfin with the odd bigger one mixed in. With the schools of fish it’s just a matter of getting the bigger ones to bite before the little ones. A good tip is to use a larger soft plastic or lure, and this should get you into some bigger reddies.

The bait anglers should use the humble old garden worm or a small yabby fished on a running sinker rig and the fly fishers should get into it early morning and on evening. The trout like to feed on midge and caddis moth, so imitations of these should catch you few fish.


Trev Crawford with a hefty Lake Wendouree redfin caught Fly fishing for trout.

Photo courtesy of Trev Crawford.


Shane Stevens nailed this Lake Wendouree brown Trout caught casting a Norrie’s Soft plastics.


Shane Stevens with another Lake Wendouree brown trout caught with the famous mudeye under a bubble float trick.

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