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The big chill sets in
  |  First Published: August 2016



The Ballarat and district anglers are certainly a hardy mob when it comes to fishing during the winter months, especially this year as the Ballarat winter of old has returned with a vengeance. Over the past week the barometer hasn’t risen over 5°C and snow has fallen in and around the district. Only the very keen anglers embrace the conditions – those that fish rain, hail or snow or are just plain mad!

Anglers who brave the cold conditions have reaped the rewards with some excellent winter trout caught using fly, bait and lure.

Tullaroop
Reservoir

I have mentioned Tullaroop Reservoir over the last few months as a fishery well worth keeping an eye on after the Reservoir fished brilliantly last year during the winter months, with some real trophy rainbow and brown trout. There have been a few anglers trying their luck over the past few months and not making the cut, but I think now that winter is really with us the results will start to turn in the angler’s favour.

The Maryborough Angling Club recently held a competition at Tullaroop in icy conditions. John Rivett was one of a few diehards that fished the competition and scooped the pool landing the two heaviest fish – a magnificent trophy brown of 3.45kg as well as a lovely rainbow trout. Both of these fish were caught on salted whitebait fished on a running sinker rig. During the winter months the trout still feed and the food supply is a bit light on with hardly any insect activity so their main diet becomes smelt small baitfish. The trout forage around and look for whatever food they can find. The salted whitebait has a scent that gets spread around by the water current that the trout can pick up the move in for a feed. This method is used widely when fishing for trout in our lakes during the winter months when other baits like mudeyes are hard to find.

Tullaroop will fire up over the next couple of months and lures are the go-to method to catch some of the brutes that lurk in the water. Make sure you have very strong trebles on your lures and that your line, whether you use braid or mono, is in good condition, as many fish were lost last year as a result of gear not being up to scratch.

Lake Wendouree

Lake Wendouree has seen anglers arriving in numbers to try and catch one of the crackers that are swimming around. Guys and girls casting lures and plastics have made up for 95% of the catches. Father and son team Stephen and Nathan Angee have to be one of the best teams going. Stephen usually fishes from a boat and Nathan fishes from the shore. Both have been getting into the trout over the past month. Stephen usually likes to troll or cast lures out on Wendouree and his most successful lure of the month has been the Spawning Brown Bullet lure, while Nathan has caught some absolute crackers casting the Ecogear Powershad soft plastics. His best brown was approximately 6lb and was released to fight another day.

Declan Downes also hit the waters of Wendouree and has caught some absolutely magnificent brown trout casting lures from a boat. I have seen plenty of other anglers lining the shores of Wendouree over the past month, but I expect these numbers will fall now the real icy weather is here! The diehards that rug up for the cooler conditions will be rewarded for their efforts.

Fishing around the Ballarat and district over the next couple of months will be a bit on the tough side, waters that I would certainly look to try are Newlyn Reservoir using baits, lures and flies. Moorabool Reservoir is one waterway that is on my radar to fish well during the winter months – a bunch of worms is deadly at this time of the year. Anglers casting hardbodied lures or the good old wobblers result in excellent catches. For the fly fishers I suggest smelt patterns and woolly buggers.
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