Crossing fingers for rain
  |  First Published: December 2015

As I put pen to paper, the water level at Lake Elingamite boat ramp (previously precarious for boats) has dropped due to the sudden influx of above average temperatures that hit in the southwest like a sledgehammer from the start of October. By the time this magazine hits the newsstands, not even kayaks will be able to launch unless we get some serious rainfall.

Unfortunately, according to scientists we are entering an El Nino and a big one at that.

Prior to the lake’s closing, the fishing was exceptional with browns and rainbows weighing in well over 2kg and the additional huge redfin. Next year, when and if we get enough rains to reopen the lake, the trout fishing will be a tad on the quiet side. Fisheries Victoria, in conjunction with the Cobden Angling Club didn’t manage to release the full quota of trout into the lake. Due to low water levels at the ramp, only one boat managed to struggle out with only 300 fingerling browns when 3000 (plus 1000 rainbows) were brought down for release. This is a sad state of affairs.

Lake Purrumbete has been a quiet with only the odd brown trout weighing in over a kilogram. Fish are being taken bait anglers suspending mudeye under a bubble float or by casting shallow diving minnow lures towards the weed beds that fringe the lake’s edge. Plenty of small redfin have been taken mainly as by-catch while targeting bigger fish. However, fishing Manifolds Bay using soft plastics hopped along the bottom usually attracts many hook ups. This can be a saviour on an otherwise quiet session.

Lake Bullen Merri has rainbow trout approaching and exceeding 2kg available in the shallows around the lake perimeter. Trolling or casting a wide variety of lures in 3-5m depth, or bait fishing using locally caught gudgeon minnow has been the way to go. The chinook salmon fishing is still quiet but the odd one over a kilo has been taken by those targeting the rainbows. Going on last year’s events the ‘chook’ fishing really took off from late spring and into summer as they came in close to shore on mass –for a while everybody was catching them using just about any method available to the angler. Hopefully this happens once again. The restocking of brown trout has already commenced but not in the numbers they once were. Bullen Merri has been the number one lake to stock chinooks in regards to growth rates and this will continue, while the numbers stocked in Purrumbete have been reduced the stocking of browns here has increased.

Hopefully the fish will remain available to all anglers for at least the next two or three months before they once again go deep and sit just above a forming thermocline layer to escape the warming water brought on by summer temperatures.

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