Lakes are making a slow but steady comeback
  |  First Published: March 2016

With less boat traffic throughout the Wimmera the fishing has settled down and regained some normality. The lakes are virtually deserted through the week, but see many visitors on weekends as well as ski and wake boats. Plenty of fish have been landed and many released over the holidays with resurgence in redfin populations in Lake Fyans – a thrill for many. Other lakes have continued to suffer a decline in water level, but a bit of much needed rain has seen a couple that looked doomed hanging on by a thread.

The predicted January rains eventuated, a lifeline just in time for our dry area. Over the next couple of months more rain is needed and predicted so once again we are se,t to rely on a wet winter to top up the whole system and possibly fill a few lakes back up. Here’s hoping!


Some anglers have had great success here over the last few weeks, mainly trolling surface lures for trout early and late in the day. Outside these times, mudeye, gudgeon and minnows fished under floats have worked well. The redfin have kicked back to life in good numbers, and most anglers trolling deep divers working the edges of weed beds and tree lines have done well. Bottom fishing with gudgeon and yabbies has also landed a few as well as dropshotting soft plastics for those who have mastered the technique. Lipless crankbaits continue to work, as long as they are worked in the right areas that are holding fish.


Rocklands fishing has been a bit tough as the water levels continue to drop, however, trolling StumpJumpers has continued to pull a feed of redfin in 3-4m of water. Use the pale pinks, bright orange and red colours. Bass have been tough to coax on the dropping water. Try to target them in the shallow timbered areas early and late in the day. A few brown trout have been taken on mudeyes and minnows fished under floats around the thicker stands of trees. Rainbow trout have been very quiet of late, as is expected in mid-summer.


Close to Horsham, golden perch up to a kilo are a regular catch within the town boundaries. Yabbies, shrimp and scrub worms have featured as the prime bait, but several have been taken on spinnerbaits too. Decent cod are still taken by the patient bait fishers with no set times preferred. This encourages me to think these fish are moving up and down the river rather than holing up in structure. A theory I’ve discussed with several local anglers is that, with the resurgence of golden perch, the cod are moving around searching for food sources rather than ambushing adjacent to their usual lairs.


Bank anglers over the holiday period did very well off the wall with both bait and lures when conditions were favourable. Cast Tassie Devils in yellows, golds, pinks and black/red for the best surface action. Shallow running hardbodies such as Daiwa Double Clutches and Presso Minnows, Nories Laydown minnows and some imitation soft plastics worked a little deeper have worked well for bank and boat anglers.

Trout haven’t been huge; apart from the odd one over 2kg, the main captures are the 1-1.8kg browns and rainbows that feed freely on the surface early and late in the day but go deeper as the water brightens up. Mudeye fished under a float is an ever-reliable method here as well as any trout water. Redfin have been a disappointment this summer but should fire again in late summer and autumn.


Not normally known for producing big trout, this year has kicked off well at Bellfield especially for a few local anglers that have spent time locating where the bigger fish hole up and observing the baitfish they chase. Many nice rainbows to 2.7kg have been taken in the deeper sections opposite the wall car park. Known for holding and producing some bigger brown trout up to 3kg, Bellfield is starting to come of age as a good fishery that is accessible to all. Soft plastics that imitate baitfish such as fish arrows and grubs work well. Small redfin continue to plague the lure and bait anglers late in the day as the sun goes behind the Grampians, but among them are a few good eaters too. It’s just a matter of sorting through them, but more importantly, cast heavier weighted lures and plastics to get down deeper to the bigger fish.


Still a good number of cod and goldens on offer at Taylors for the angler who braves the elements and fishes into the night and up until daylight. Bank anglers have good access here and have cashed in this year on some great fish. Boaters working the east side with deep divers that bump the bottom have landed a few cod to 80cm, as well as some lovely goldens up to 47cm in the last few weeks as activity on the lake has subsided. Plenty of carp are located here as well, that eat into a good worm supply, as do the silver perch. Both seem to have a very slow growth rate. Peeled raw yabby tails, live yabbies, cheese, and scrub worms have been the best baits for both cod and goldens. Flouro greens, purples and blacks are the best colours in the deep diving lures.


With the lake hovering around the 10% mark, access has become very difficult. As such, there has been not a lot to report here of late from boaters. Wading fly fishermen and kayak anglers have done well working the trees and banks in half light conditions catching the trout out in feeding mode as they hunt smelt, minnows and gudgeon. Redfin have been virtually unsighted and will be holed up in the deeper water as surface temps increase. With a maximum depth of 1.9m, winter and rain can’t come quick enough for Toolondo and the magnificent fish that live in the lake. Let’s hope the skies open and it pulls though.

• Enquiries to Trevor on 0438 132 130 or 03 5388 1338. Catch us on Facebook ‘Victorian Inland Charters’ or check our web site www.victorianinlandcharters.com.au

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