Lake Bullen Merri
  |  First Published: November 2015

An old volcano, Lake Bullen Merri lies placid, free from any eruption for years now. With stockings of brown and rainbow trout, chinook salmon, and the ever elusive Australian bass, this lake holds the answers for any anglers chasing trophy sized fish. Trout of 10lb and upwards are not uncommon, and now with large chinooks on the scene, fish of 7-8lb have been reported since the stocking a couple of years ago.


The uglier the weather, the better the fishing is on the ‘crater lakes.’ Overcast days with a bit of chop on the surface are the best times to venture out. The trout feel safe and tend to feed better under these conditions and won’t be sulking down in the depths of cooler water.


Graphite rods with a soft taper absorb the initial hit and have a better track record of keeping fish connected during the fight over short, stumpy, heavy rods. The fight may last longer but you increase your chances of keeping your hooks in the fish.


8-10lb braid with a minimum of 10lb leader is a must. You wouldn’t want to fish anything lighter when trolling the lake as there are some trophy trout pushing 5kg+. The initial hit from a big trout while trolling can easily pop a leader knot leaving you shaking your head in disbelief. Trust me – I’ve seen this happen before!


Pink and white Tassie devils are a favourite and are a must have lure in the tackle box. Down rigging bigger hardbodied lures and flat lining them is also popular. Rapala F7 and F9s and Daiwa double clutch minnows are standouts for this method. Bait fishing from the shore with powerbait and live bullhead under a float account for some very large fish, especially at night time.


Flat line trolling on dawn is a great method for big browns cruising the shallows chasing smelt and other minnow. As the sun gets high in the sky the fish like to head for deeper water so down rigging in depths of 40-80ft is a good place to start until you find where the fish are holding. When bait fishing, bluebait and glassies work well fished on a running sinker. Burley is a must and cat food from the supermarket works wonders for the chinooks.


With the level of salt content in Lake Bullen Merri, be sure to wash down all your gear and most importantly your boat, motor and trailer. The salt in this lake is far worse than that of Port Phillip Bay or any other sea water.


I find trolling into wind works better than trolling with the wind. I don’t know why, maybe it affects the action or the speed of your lure through the water, but I have done several runs where I hooked 3 or 4 fish trolling into it, then worked my way back and not received a hit. After repeating that process I can definitely get behind this tip.

So if times are tough and you aren’t getting any fish, see what way the wind is blowing and head towards it. Hopefully you have the same success as I do.

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