Brave the cold for rewards
  |  First Published: September 2016

Anglers prepared to get out in the wind and rain to brave the cold, uncomfortable conditions, have been rewarded in Wimmera. The past month has seen great trophy trout and redfin in particular. Lakes are still floundering dangerously low on water levels, so fishing has been tough.

Cold, wet, windy and overcast is the recipe for a big trout. Toolondo has been terrific on these ugly days. Redfin have played well, but with water temperatures now below 10°C, we’ve seen a steady decline in numbers across most lakes. As they go deeper, they’re hard to tempt. Natives have all but shut down until spring. A big jump for temperatures in October will bring them back on the chew.


Proven to be the best trout spot across the region, many anglers have spent days totally missing out on action. Untidy days are the best starting point for a big trout. Work the shallows with surface lures such as OSP bent minnows. This has produced many fish up to 3.5kg, mainly browns with the odd rainbow.

Redfin have shut down and will fire up again in spring. Rainbow trout follow some weeks after the browns on the post-spawn hunt, looking for high protein smelts and minnows to build themselves back up. Trolling has been tough, with floating weed, as has baitfishing in a maximum depth of 1.8m. Without valuable rains, this may be the last season for Toolondo. We fear a complete fish kill over summer.


While Fyans has experienced brilliant inflows and rising levels, the fishing has been sporadic. Local anglers who read the lake better than most, have tapped into big redfin, which the lake is renowned for. Working the shallows with plastics and shallow running hardbodies, until recently, has worked well. The big girls have gone deeper and into refuge in the weed beds. Lipless crankbaits rigged with single hooks, worked through and around the weed, has produced a few good fish.

Trout are firing up on the inflows and collections of boats are fishing these areas, where bigger fish are grazing on washed-in offerings. Soft plastics, imitating the lakes minnow and smelt population, have done well. Bladed lures such as Celtas and Ondex are good for trout and reddies. Trolled winged lures, such as Tassie Devils, and shallow running hardbodies will also put some runs on the board. Early and late in the day are the best producing times.


Better results have appeared with awesome fish, in a fast rising lake. Mudeye fishers have reported improved catches, as the bigger trout start to be mobile, and go on the hunt for a pre-spring boost in condition.

Great trout have been taken on winged lures, trolled flat-lined and deep divers running around the edges of trees. For those who remember the tree line prior to bushfires, it’s a great starting point. Worm and bait fishers working the depths have also reported occasional redfin, but no big bags of fish it was once famous for. As we come into September and October, locals are excited about Wartook. Tradition shows that these are prime months for big trout.


Recently at 19%, Rocklands has had significant rainfall and inflows. This raises the levels slightly, but not enough to trigger desperately needed flows to other lakes like Toolondo. The water has cooled to around 10°C and resulted in the redfin becoming scarce.

Trout are now moving, and the wall has been the prime location. Browns and rainbows have been landed by bank anglers. Cast plastics, hardbodies and diving lures, towards the wall and the ledges nearby. Some bass are still around, but finding the school fish has been difficult. Trolling StumpJumpers and Halcos hardbodies that run around 2-3m has snagged trout, bass and larger redfin.


Good rainfall has seen the river move a little and switch off most fish, except the pesky carp, catfish and plenty of small silver perch. Golden perch will be hard to tempt this time of year, but baitfishers have been able to connect around the snags, using small yabbies or worms. Most offerings are raided by the annoying species, but persistence pays. With a healthy system at our fingertips, there should be exciting and productive times over the warmer months, when the natives fire up.  


Storm Rosier with a lovely Toolondo brown trout, taken off the surface on an OSP Bent Minnow.


Jeremy Gadea with a cracker Toolondo redfin around 2kg, also taken on an OSP Bent Minnow, in less than a metre of water.  


Shane Stevens recently landed this well conditioned brown at Wartook, on mudeye fished under a bubble float.

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