Fantastic plastic
  |  First Published: July 2015

As a passionate fly fisherman it pains me to say there are times when I need to put the fly rod down and pick another rod up to get the best results on the water.

When it comes to fishing methods you have to be adaptable to get the best results and often this involves using a plastic, hardbody, bait, or even fly. Anglers around the Ballarat district are certainly lucky when it comes down to being able to make a choice on which method they will fish with the area’s many fisheries providing the opportunity to catch some magnificent trout and redfin.

Lake Wendouree has ticked all the boxes over the last month and has been fishing sensationally well for both trout and redfin. The fish have keyed on the lake’s local baitfish, that live in the lake as their main food source over the cooler months as the surface food and insects are now non-existent. As a result it’s now up to the angler to once again match the hatch and start using flies, lures or plastics that represent the fish’s main diet.

Ben Young and Andrew Xanthoulakis have been doing this to perfection with their best session on Lake Wendouree seeing then land 11 brown trout, including three fish over 5lb on a variety of soft plastics including 4” Nories Spoon Tail Shads and 3” Ecogear Power Shads. Ben mentioned that everything was in their favour that day with intermittent cloud cover and a good breeze. Fishing mainly the rowing channel and deeper water, the boys found that the key was to move around until they found fish, then stay there and work them over until they stopped biting. Once they stopped biting they then move on to find some more fish.

Andrew Dellaca and Darren Weda heard about how good the fishing was and made a trip up and were blown away by the quality of the brown trout being caught. They cast plastics and hardbody lures for excellent results, nailing five fish for the afternoon.

Brian Hughes has also been nailing some cracking fish flyfishing Lake Wendouree. Brian has been fishing the main rowing channel stripping large bright pink & orange coloured woolly Bugger fly patterns with a type three fast sinking fly line. Brian found the fish sitting on the bottom and he tried a floating fly line but with no success, so he swapped to a sinking line and caught and released 12 trout ranging in size from 30-53cm. He also had to strip the fly as fast as he could otherwise the fly would get weed on it.

I have had a few sessions on the lake recently myself casting soft plastics out of the boat in the main rowing channel. I’ve been selecting overcast days and have been rewarded with stonking redfin. My best session was landing two big redfin, one at 43cm, and the other 50cm and weighing 2.5kg. The best method has been drifting across the rowing channel with a drogue to slow the boat, and casting plastics as far as I can, then using a medium to slow roll retrieve. Lake Wendouree has also been fishing well from the shoreline and jetties around the lake. The weed cutter has being working close to shore and has now given shore based anglers plenty of clear water to fish.

Tullaroop Reservoir, only about a 40 minute drive from Ballarat, has been on my radar and I have mentioned it over the past few months as a waterway well worth a look. During autumn and winter Tullaroop is a very versatile shore based fishery with endless bays, arms, and nooks and crannies on offer for anglers. The lake’s redfin and brown and rainbow trout key in on the smelt and baitfish this time of the year and the result for many anglers has been quality fish, with brown trout to 2lb being caught.

Tom Shaw recently spent a day on the water there and even with blue sky and windless conditions managed to catch a couple of nice rainbow trout casting a rainbow coloured Daiwa Double Clutch. Tullaroop as I mentioned will fish extremely well over the winter months, and is well worth the short drive to have a chance at catching some of the clunkers that are lurking in its waters.

Newlyn Reservoir and Hepburn Lagoon are still producing for those putting in the hard yards in, but you’ll need be there at first light, and be prepared to cast lures, wade through the lake’s extensive ribbon weed, and put in the hours to get the results. Darryl Luttrell from Geelong and Tom Kulzcynski from Melbourne hit the lake most weekends and are on the water just as daylight is breaking through the darkness.

Darryll has been bagging some lovely brown trout around the 4lb, mainly casting Tassie Devil, but he also has nailed some cracking redfin on mud gudgeon coloured Ecogear Paddle Tail soft plastics. His best results have come at Newlyn Reservoir. Tom on the other hand has been nailing them at both Newlyn and Hepburn. Tom mentioned that at Hepburn there is a lot of ribbon weed so you have to wade out as far as you can and cast your lures out into the clear water and high stick your rod on the retrieve to get maximum clearance above the weed. Tom mentioned that the brown and rainbow trout at Hepburn have been nailing small, brown and bronze coloured Tassie Devil lures right on the edge of the clear water and weed. Tom’s best session at Hepburn consisted of three brown trout to 6.5lb, and a lovely 4.5lb rainbow trout, all released to fight another day.

The Ballarat area is blessed with some other waters that generally fish well over the cooler months Bostock Reservoir, Moorabool Reservoir and Dean Reservoir are just a few to keep in mind when venturing out for a fish in the coming months.

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