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The next Eildon?
  |  First Published: June 2016



The farmers, as well as the fishing fraternity are excited for the upcoming winter and rain anticipated to arrive soon. As the whole system is very low on water for stock and domestic use, the buzz of a normal winter and rainfall has raised the excitement for many and some very encouraging projects are on the table to enrich the region and bring back the much needed tourism. Wimmera could well become the next Eildon!

Fisheries and VRFISH recently announced that after extensive research, feasibility and habitat studies the prospects of Rocklands as a native fishery are well and truly about to be realised. Cod and golden perch would be the intended stockings at this stage, with the possibility of estuary perch. We can only marvel and dream of a wet winter, plenty of water and native stock liberated in Rocklands.

Exciting times indeed, and to have these two fisheries re-establish would encourage massive influxes of tourists to the region. All we need is the rain gods to be nice to us and the dream will become reality. Hats off to the guys at Fisheries for their foresight, as the potential has been there for many years and it has just taken some positive thinking and homework to get it over the line.

ROCKLANDS

Rocklands is still producing some nice redfin and bass on the troll lately with smaller reddies becoming a bit of a pest. Multiple hook-ups have been common as the fish school up prior to the cold weather.

StumpJumpers and RMG lures running around the 3m mark have been the best option as fish move into the shallows and food becomes less abundant. The bass will become almost dormant over the colder months, but those who persist and sound up schools should do well if targeting them with bait.

Even in their quiet times, the bass can be enticed to bite by dropping a worm down among the school. Trout will become more active from now on too, and the aggressive strikes and takes should increase in winter.

Flatline trolling Tassie Devils in whites, pinks and oranges should produce fish in most areas.

TOOLONDO

While the lake is very low now, we have seen signs of fish starting to become active again as the water temperatures cool off. A few intrepid anglers have been able to launch and get among the action; producing some good browns to 3kg.

With a maximum depth of 1.9m and crystal clear water, the windier and overcast days are certainly going to be the more productive.

Surface lures such as poppers and bent minnows would be my choice, but don’t discount soft plastics worked hard and fast across the top and on the edges of the weed.

Trolling is not an option just yet, as there is still plenty of surface weed to frustrate anglers.

Small redfin are a pest at the moment, hitting and taking anything that moves in the water, but will become less active as it cools off.

WIMMERA RIVER

There are still some nice yellas taken in the river lately, and with a little rain I can see it firing up briefly before the normal winter quiet period.

Baitfishing has produced some good fish with yabbies and worms the best option. The cod have been few and far between, but the odd smaller fish is being landed on bait by anglers targeting yellas.

Catfish have also been a by-catch for baitfishers. Carp, as much as we all hate them, provide good sport fishing and a great learning curve for juniors. Hopefully in the future, these pests become a thing of the past with the federal government testing a proposed carp herpes virus aimed at eradicating the river rabbits.

LAKE FYANS

Fyans is probably the best option throughout the region for a crack at the freshwater trifecta of a brown, rainbow and redfin. Schooling reddies have become more abundant and the trout are springing into action in cooler conditions.

Flatlining Tassies and shallow running lures to 2m and avoiding the weed has achieved the best results. Working tree lines and weed beds as well as the wall area should produce a feed in no time.

Mornings and late afternoons are the prime times, but those who persist will pull a fish or two during the day. I tend to go baitfishing in the brighter times of the day, as the fish go deeper and become less willing to take anything off the surface.

TAYLORS LAKE

Once again, the yellas and cod have come to the fore and been the mainstay for visitors. Baitfishing the edge with yabbies and worms has been best options for yellas with some nice fish around 2kg landed.

Cod have been taken on the troll using big deep diving lures that smack the bottom and stir the fish up. Oargees and StumpJumpers in flouro greens, purples and blacks have been ideal. A very slow troll is needed for the cod, so ideally an electric troll motor is best.

Spinnerbaits have also accounted for their fair share of both species and some of the cod are of XL size too. The average fish is 60-70cm, but several up to 1.2m have been released.

LAKE WARTOOK

Wartook has been a bit of a let down for many anglers the last couple of years and devastating bushfires have caused a loss of habitat. I spoke recently to an angler who had dived to retrieve a lost rod and he spoke of a barren bottom lined with ash and virtually nil aquatic life in sight. In time, weed will re-establish here and we will see the glory days restored, but it could take some time.

There’s been a few good reports of trout starting to emerge now the cooler weather has arrived, but disappointment for anglers who target redfin with very poor catches.

It’s a tough fishery for many, but regular visitors seem to get a few trolling a mixture of surface and diving lures. Surface action should increase and working the wind lanes and rushes beds through the lake will see some great fish landed here over the winter. Gudgeon, minnow and mudeye will be a good option too as the fish will hunt down almost anything that moves, given the lack of habitat.

LAKE BELLFIELD

Redfin of the smaller size have plagued fishos lately but a few nice eaters have been among them too. Vibes and plastics are the best option to work the wall and edges, but also the tree areas, especially on the western edges.

Trout have started to become active as well, with both browns and rainbows starting to liven up finally. You have to get down a bit and work the deeper edges with plastics, as these fish are very shy.

Kayak anglers have done well too, flatlining both edges and deeper areas, but have also said the further they run the lure back the more hits they get, proving the shyness of these trout.

As yet, there have not been many reports of Chinook salmon landed, but I expect a few in these cooler months. Please let me know if you land one, as Fisheries would love to get the data of any catches. Length and weights would help research greatly.

• 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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