El Nino taking affect
  |  First Published: December 2015

With water levels currently lower than average for this time last year and no rain in sight, some waterways are really struggling and we may see some major losses of stocked and naturally bred fish this summer.

Lake Lonsdale is at 0 %, Toolondo is now back to 18%, Rocklands is still dropping rapidly for both environmental flows down the Glenelg and transfer of stock and domestic water to Taylors Lake. Other parts of the region are sitting pretty good including Wartook, Fyans and Bellfield. It’s just a shame that this massive investment in a desalination plant can’t be activated and piped to the Wimmera/Mallee area and make the dryer parts of the state drought proof.

There is work underway studying the logistics of it providing water north of the Great Dividing Range, but major infrastructure would have to be installed first. It’s very easy for some to take pot shots at the injection of water into Toolondo last year by the newly elected government and write it off as a waste, but the local economy and tourism was the real winner in that exercise. Without that, Toolondo would be well and truly finished as a fishery once again. Generating in excess of 15 million dollars per annum the small investment has well and truly been justified without jeopardising water security.


While water levels continue to drop and launching becomes a little harder for most, the lake itself is fishing very well with most anglers continuing to snare plenty of nice browns of the larger variety on mudeyes fished under bubble floats.

The smaller fish released a couple of months ago continue to pack on the weight and are becoming harder to catch now as they get wiser and familiar with their surroundings.

There’s been some great afternoon surface action, and most anglers are reporting sensational aerial action as the bigger fish leap for dragonflies and damsels.

A few smaller redfin being landed, but as yet, the bigger fish haven’t shown up. The biomass of redfin hasn’t returned post drought and the glory days of bags of reddies may be gone.


There’s still a few nice redfin being taken, mainly on the troll using diving lures such as StumpJumpers and RMG Scorpions and Poltergeists. Working the trees and snags has been the best option for those looking for a feed.

There’s not been a lot of action on the bait side of things and as the water drops rapidly, there won’t be any on its way.

Once outflows stop the fish will bunch up a bit more and become very active. Trout have been relatively easy to catch and I’ve taken several lately stalking the banks casting Tassie Devils, Pegron Tiger Minnows and soft plastics as these fish are becoming very hungry post spawn.

The occasional bass also being landed both trolling and casting as the water temperature increases.


With several major competitions coming up at Fyans, there has been a lot of boat action and also some stocking by fisheries of some larger rainbow ex-brood stock in preparation for the comps.

Rainbows have been willing to take anything a bit flashy trolled or cast in the lower light times of the day but the browns once again are best targeted using gudgeon, minnows or mudeye fished under a float.

A few reports of redfin being taken, and some rippers too with fish of 5-6lb not uncommon. Soft plastics cast and retrieved in the shallows are doing the job on these big girls looking to spawn.


Just starting to wake up and fire up of late, Wartook has produced some patchy fishing for most. One day a delight and the next completely shut down again, but those persisting are getting good results.

Rainbows and browns have been taken on the troll with a mix of surface and diving lures.

Some great reddies also being landed but these seem to be just random fish here and there, rather than being schooled up. This may change as summer progresses and they should bunch up making it easier to get some numbers.


With an inflow still happening it will be several weeks before Taylors settles down and produces the native fishing it is renowned for.

Water clarity is the major drawback here for the trolling anglers with visibility virtually nil, the fish just aren’t seeing lures but rattling lures may provoke a strike.

Bait fishing would be the preferred option but yellowbelly intended bait usually get scoffed by the carp, silvers and small redfin.

The cod opening should produce some very nice fish both trolling lures and using bait.


As water tempatures take a leap upwards, there’s been some great fishing for yellas in the river and most anglers have been doing very well.

Town sections of the river have produced as well as the outer reaches, particularly out northwest towards Polkemmet.

StumpJumpers and spinnerbaits slowly retrieved have done the damage with a few nice redfin also being part of the catch.

Cod have also been landed and returned to the water, and it’s great to see with anglers doing the right thing. I’ve heard of one cod being around the 85cm mark, but many around the 40-60cm, so there’s some great potential there heading into summer.

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