Get the Chinook look
  |  First Published: May 2016

The weather has finally cooled and the rain is beginning to fall, hopefully soon in earnest. Although we never experienced a hot summer was certainly a dry one – much to the detriment of our freshwater rivers and lakes. Hopefully that is all about to change for the better.

Lake Bullen Merri’s blue-green algal bloom has all but disappeared and we’ve seen some real salmonoids caught for the first time this year. Those in the know persevered and eventually came up with the goods. One intrepid angler from out of town had a great session with several Chinook salmon as well as some rainbows simply by fishing at depth using bait such as pilchard. He managed to catch some amazing fish including one Chinook that measured 75cm and weighed approximately 12lb. Since then every angler and their dog has been on the lake trying to replicate this much publicised catch. Some have come up with the goods while others are still persevering with hope. Either way, the fish have come back on and those who don’t bait fish are trolling lures at depth. Using attractors such as cow bells and the like in front of a minnow lure sent down using a downrigger or by other methods have found some fish. The depth to explore seems to be 10m+, otherwise use your sounder to find schooling salmon and trout.

Last year’s release of brown trout, although limited here compared to Purrumbete’s larger share should become active in the next two months or so.

Hopefully by late May all three species may come fully online in the shallows and shallow trolling and casting of lures and plastics will prove successful. So too will baitfishing with local minnow or PowerBait suspended under a float or allowed to slowly sink unweighted.

Recently the South Beach double concrete boat ramp was extended by several metres due to falling water levels, which was a much-needed improvement. Here’s hoping the rain continues and we won’t need it soon!

Lake Purrumbete remains fairly quiet, which is a shame although for one boater, baitfishing at depth did come up trumps in March with a 4.4kg Chinook salmon. Unfortunately there has not been much else to report except masses of small redfin pinching anglers’ bait and lures. Hopefully in the next month or two fish will move into the shallows and once again anglers will be in a position to target fish without having to present bait and lures at depth.

Purrumbete has received a larger portion of brown trout releases over Chinooks and will continue to do so. The opposite has occurred at Bullen Merri. This was based on growth and capture rates of all three species recorded by Fisheries in both lakes and only time will tell how it will work out – so far, so good.

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