After being away for a couple of weeks to get married and experience some magnificent Fiji weather I was looking forward to getting back on the lakes and chasing some redfin. Not to be let down, the fish has risen to the challenge and are starting to play nicely.
Some exceptional fish are on offer, however, post-drought conditions have left the bio-mass of redfin still not back in the most systems. I can see these bigger fish being harvested quickly and supplies dwindling under a bit of fishing pressure as the spring/summer anglers get out and about. Trout have been a little patchy still with the barometer being unusually high over the last few weeks. Native fish are only a degree or two from starting to become active in the lakes and rivers as well so the lead up to Christmas is looking exciting. Once again, a dry winter is going to hamper many of the Wimmera lakes as water levels decline and evaporation depletes these systems.
As water levels slowly decline, the trout have already become very moody and dependant on the barometer, which indicates that it could be a very tough summer for trout enthusiasts. With a maximum depth of 2.6m visibility, the odds are stacked in the trout’s favour. Casting lures and plastics in the shallows is still working well as is the ever reliable mudeye under a float. Gudgeon have also been fishing well, and anglers should fish under a float where they are exposed from the increasing weed beds. Redfin haven't appeared here yet, as the water is shallower than most of the regions lakes making the water warmer. Hatches of insects and dragonflies results in the usual afternoon aerobatic trout display but also causes them to reject bait offerings.
Once again Rocklands is on the drop water wise as transfers take place to supply the northern lakes and Taylor's lake. Reddies have really fired up here in the larger variety and it's not unusual to snag a fish between 40-47cm. These seem to be found as individuals or in pairs although we have seen the odd school in the last few days following up a hooked fish. Best time to catch them seems to be first light until around 10am after which, the fish go deep. Locating them on side scan on the sounder is the key, working around the fish and casting plastics or hard body lures that dive to their range. Bait fishing has been very slow for them as they haven't schooled up just yet. Trout have also started to move nicely here with some great fish landed lately.
Trolling lures such as tassie devils mixed up with a couple of shallow to mid running hardbodies is the best option. Both rainbows and browns are starting to feed freely and the shallows will be a great option for the working angler willing to cast plastics. I'm still yet to see a bass landed this spring and fisheries still need a sample fish for ageing, if anyone lands one please keep it and let me know.
Some fantastic angling has started here again with some ripper tout, both browns and a few rainbows landed over the last few weeks mainly on mudeye fished under a float in the deeper sections of the lake. Fly fishos also have had some fun working both from boats on the drift or from the shallows early and late in the day on foot. Trolling has also seen a few fish taken and with a fresh flush of water still going into the lake the fishing will only improve in coming weeks.
The inlet area once again will be the zone for the Redfin as the big spawning girls head towards some inflow. Trout will also gather in the same areas searching for a cheap feed and sweet water. Working the tree lines and weed beds should see some great action as the water temps rise and fish become active.
While the trout have been sporadic, the Redfin have fired here too with locating them being half the battle. As these fish are bunched up pretty tight in schools it's a bit of a hit or miss affair. Locating and sticking with a school is critical and most of the fish are hugging the bottom. Size wise these fish are fantastic – we recently landed fish up to 1.9kg by sounding then dropping soft plastics amongst the fish. They are still a bit lethargic due to cooler water temps but if provoked into action are willing to strike presented plastics. Staying connected to the fish is critical as once a hooked fish is lost the whole school relocates and becomes wary. Trout are moody here and as usual Wartook fishes well trolling early and late in the day as these fish hide and go deep as the sun brightens up the water.
I don't think I've seen the trout this good for years proving the recovery of the waterway. With an abundance of feed in the lake there will be some magnificent fishing here this spring and summer. Keep a look out for what we believe is an albino brown trout sighted in the shallows lately!
With the cod season now closed until December for the big girls to breed there hasn't been a lot to report of late with the exception of a couple of golden perch being landed in the Wimmera on the warmer days. Both fish I know of were landed on small yabbies fished on the bottom but it's only a matter of time and water temp before they become really active and we see some great catches in the region.
The lucky golden perch angler also reported almost losing a rod and being busted off in a snag by a much larger fish that stayed deep which I'm tipping was a large cod. Taylor's Lake will still provide some good action on baits but being so discoloured due to inflows the fishing will mainly be a bait option until the clarity improves and the water level stabilises.Reads: 553