Cold water bass at Blue Rock
  |  First Published: August 2015

Over the last month reports have been flooding in of bass still being caught at Blue Rock Lake in good numbers. Adding to the excitement of winter bass, some big reddies have also been caught jigging worms and lures, and some nice-sized trout are being picked up trolling the lake. A few years ago Blue Rock was a quiet lake dubbed ‘Lake Disappointment’, but now it’s quite the opposite. It’s a great option for those brave enough to face the cold, and wet a line outside of the stream trout season.

Most bass are still around the mid-20cm mark, but some outstanding fish above 35cm are still being caught and released in the heart of winter. Most of the winter bass were undone by the deadly garden worm, along with the odd one on jig lures.

Bass tend to go quiet chasing soft plastics and lures at this time of the year; the fish like to go down deep and school around structure, feeding off shrimp and small fish that come their way. Fishing for winter bass is very similar to targeting redfin. Garden worms, scrub worms, live crickets and jig lures dropped down next to trees and other structure can produce fish, but be prepared to move around until you find the schools. At Blue Rock there is certainly no shortage of dead trees up the Tanjil Arm so deciding where to start can be a bit overwhelming! Rather than pot luck, use a good sounder to save you time and increase your chances.

Some big redfin have been caught over the last month, too. The bigger fish have been comfortably tipping the 40cm mark which is a big reddie for Blue Rock. I don’t know if it’s because more people are fishing the lake now or the bass are controlling the population (or both!) but there are some much bigger redfin being caught. Last summer I caught two healthy bass at 28cm and both regurgitated 10cm+ redfin and loads of shrimp. This suggests the redfin now have a serious predator, and the bass could be naturally controlling the smaller reddies. It’s an exciting thought; a lake full of big redfin and redfin-fed bass!

A reminder that the stream trout season reopens at midnight on Friday, 4 September. The closure of the season brings some relief to the stream trout population, which relies solely on natural spawning high up in the tributaries of the catchment. There are no stream trout stocking programs in West and South Gippsland so we rely strongly on anglers catching and releasing their trout. The closed season means that stream brown and rainbow trout can spawn and then migrate back downstream to feed, all in time for the season opening in September. If you are heading out to target stream blackfish or eel (or just happen to be passing through) and you spot illegal activities on our streams, please report it to 13 FISH.

As always, feel free to send me a report or photo, particularly if you have any success stories before the closure of the trout season or bass on Blue Rock. Happy fishing!

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