South West salmonoids go shallow
  |  First Published: August 2015

As of late June the fish were finally beginning to move out of the depths and back into the shallows at Lake Bullen Merri.

The thermocline layer or what remained of it has finally dissipated and schools of fish are beginning to move in close to the shoreline. I as well as other anglers have just started to reap the salmonoid bounty without having to work the depths.

Bait anglers are now setting their minnow traps close to shore and leaving then in overnight for a maximum catch of minnow and gudgeon. Apparently, wet cat food is working whilst the dry ‘kibbled’ version is not.

It’s a pity that due to public liability that much of the shoreline here remains out of bounds for bank anglers. It’s all down to a few unthinking anglers who left their rubbish behind plus the lighting of fires and then leaving them unattended or not fully extinguished and as a consequence several grass fires were left for landowners to attend to. Currently no one in office whether it’s the local council or Parks Victoria or anyone with authority wants to assume public liability over the usage of almost half the lake’s shoreline. It’s simply an ongoing messy situation.

The most practiced method here besides bank fishing with bait would have to be flat line trolling around the lake’s fringe. After spending several trips here of late with nothing much to show for my efforts except newly stocked fish, I, as well as others, finally found schooling fish moving in the shallows sometimes just metres from the shoreline.

It’s mostly Chinook salmon weighing in over a kilogram and rainbow trout to over two. I’ve found trolling medium diving lures such as Damiki Saemi 70s and Pontoon 21 Greedy Guts minnow lures in 4-5m depth has attracted strikes.

Any time now the browns should follow as spawning must be on their minds and the trouble these fish go to just to find an outgoing stream (which, of course, doesn’t exist) in which to run up and mate so this month I imagine all 3 species here should be available to one and all.

As of mid June the fishing remained quiet at Purrumbete with only reasonable redfin and Chinook salmon biting at depths of 30m on bait such as cut pilchard along with the odd brown trout to over 1kg being taken on down rigged minnow lures. Again, this situation should shortly change with fish moving on mass into the shallower water around the lake’s edge. Trolling or casting a variety of lures around the drop offs and weed beds should start to attract interest from fish.

Lake Elingamite remains closed to most due to low water levels at the ramp. I know that some kayakers have launched here recently and some have done extremely well in the fish department. However, they are taking an awful risk attempting to walk out on the quicksand-like mud in an attempt to push their canoes out and I strongly advise against this. Another decent downpour should see just enough water at the ramp for small craft to safely launch and I advise impatient anglers to simply wait.

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