Dropping water makes fishing tough
  |  First Published: March 2016

There’s no escaping the doom and gloom surrounding the drought like conditions that are affecting our freshwater scene in the South West, but there’s still an option or two available to sweet water anglers.

Even though Lake Purrumbete’s water levels are dropping, there’s still plenty of water available for the fish stocks. Launching from the main double boat ramp at the caravan park will soon come under threat, however the Lake Purrumbete Angling club has the situation in hand.

It is apparent that boat launching has become a problem, so the angling club will tow the floating pontoons around to the previous ‘drought’ launching facility, which can be found just before the caravan park entrance down Hamilton’s Lane. The entire infrastructure from the last drought situation still remains in place, including the road, fencing, trailer park and most importantly the gravel ramp.

The not so good news is that the trout fishing has been quiet. January saw the trout fishing rather hard work, with only the odd brown trout to just over a kilogram coming in. The best fishing was had at first light with mudeye suspended under a bubble float and presented close to the weed beds.

A thermocline layer is no doubt building and the fish have begun to head for the depths to escape the warming surface water temperatures. Downrigging will soon become the norm and probably stay that way until winter.

There’s plenty of redfin about, it’s just a pity that the overwhelming majority of fish are stunted. The odd bigger fish has been landed but expect to wade through up to fifty smaller fish before a keeper comes along.

The reddies love a wide variety of soft plastics slowly worked along the bottom in depths around 6m. Manifolds Bay is a popular spot to snag a reddy or ten!

The angling club are currently exploring the possibility of getting professional netters in to clean up a very large amount of these stunted fish, which would be a blessing. It’s estimated that the fish could very well number in the low millions and are placing great pressure on available food sources for all fish.

Many trout that have come out of this lake in recent years have been a bit on the skinny side, except for the huge specimens that are caught here from time to time. They could easily swallow these stunted redfin whole!

Hopefully in the near future the club can reach an agreement with fisheries and this can legally go ahead. Of course not all the redfin could ever be netted, but the ones left behind might stack on the pounds and there would be more aquatic food sources to go round, especially for the trout.

In the meantime, if any angler lands a small redfin, please don’t put it back. I know it’s a miniscule attempt to cull the population, but it all helps.

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