Even though some unpleasant days are plentiful this time of year, they can often be the most rewarding, and those willing to take on the elements often find the goods. I’ve always maintained that trout especially take great delight in wanting to play on the days when a lot of anglers would rather be watching the footy in front of the fire.
Some of my best results over the last few years have been on terrible days with cold winds, rain and generally unfishable conditions for many. Getting out there is the hard bit sometimes, but the rewards make it sweet. I’m often asked what I do over winter. It’s my favourite time of the year for big fish and when I’m at my busiest on charters. Those anglers in the know chasing a trophy fish are out and about, braving the cold and wet and putting runs on the board. Over the last sixweeks. I’ve seen some great fish landed and lost.
Most of the Wimmera Lakes hold big trout, so get out and amongst the action.
With access improved, there has been a steady influx of fishers, with many attracted by the talk of some good redfin being on the go. This was the case until the first frost hit in mid June and they then disappeared, apart from a few smaller ones.
Trout have been very hard to tempt in the shallow water and surface feeding has been minimal. The overcast and windy days are prime, as the fish are more secure and willing to hit baits, lures and plastics. Trolling has also produced a few fish of late as the weed subsides.
Not known for really hitting top gear until after a couple of frosts, the trout of bigger sizes are now starting to appear in catches as they become more desperate for high protein fodder to replenish condition post spawn.
Tassie Devils slow trolled have been the prime method but the anglers working shallow to medium running hardbodies are also getting results.
Early and late in the day, the wall area is producing some bigger fish on live baits such as mudeye, minnow and gudgeon fished under bubble floats.
Redfin have backed off a bit in the cold, but some good anglers targeting them over weed beds and around the rushes have produced some cracker fish both on plastics and hardbodied lures.
While Wartook has been a bit of a flop at times over the last few years after the devastating bushfires, we are starting to see some better results now the colder weather has taken hold. Some nice brown trout have been landed recently as well as a few very nice redfin.
Fishing there over a weekend in late June, it was reported some large schools of redfin were sounded up in the deeper parts of the lake but were hard to tempt. Ice jigs seemed to be the best option, with several fish landed around the 2kg mark. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come and we see the rejuvenation of a great lake that is well known for its magnificent trout and reddies.
After some great sessions here over the spring and summer I was hoping to see some more action on the bigger reddies heading into winter, but this was not to be. There’s plenty of smaller fish about, as well as some newly released trout, but the big girls have hibernated for the winter.
Bass are still an option, but seem to be tapering off also and may be hard to target until spring.
Trout of the larger sizes are becoming more regular catches, and I’ve seen several browns landed over the 3kg mark lately. Working the wall area at its current low level should pull a fish or two for persistent anglers.
Once again, Bellfield has produced a few great fish, and in my opinion continues to improve overall as a fishery and anglers hitting it can be more confident of landing a quality fish.
Reddies, although smallish, continue to take plastics, vibes and hardbody lures around the edges.
It’s out deeper, away from the easy to access areas where most of the action has been. Casting long from the banks and allowing lures to sink before retrieving is a very productive option. I prefer spoon type lures when fishing Bellfield.
Bellfield is a electric-powered only lake and a favourite for kayak anglers. Holding trout, redfin and Chinook salmon, you’re a fair chance of a good fish!
With the onset of winter, the reports of natives have all but dried up, apart from some bait fished goldens of 800-900g being landed out of both locations on scrubworms and small yabbies. With the close of cod season only weeks away, I’m sure there will be a late flurry of activity from the diehards for that last fix of the season. Carp numbers seem to be down in both places, making bait fishing easier, but at Taylors the small silver perch are abundant and continue to steal baits intended for the bigger goldens. Expect some good bank fishing in the river, especially where there’s a creek or back water running in, as goldens will congregate there looking for a washed in worm, grub or insect.
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