Finding ‘chooks on the troll
  |  First Published: September 2016

The cold, wet and windy weather has truly embraced us all here in the southwest. All warmth has well and truly dissipated, but will begin to return by September. Rainfall is slowly topping up our lakes and putting a flow back in our rivers. The rivers have been open to the sea, which is great news. In saying that, it’s hard to be motivated to get out there and wet a line. Now is the time for hardcore anglers.

Some friends of mine travelled down to fish Lake Purrumbete in July, but unfortunately there wasn’t much in the way of trout for them. They could spot plenty of large browns smashing schools of minnow around the weed beds, but getting them to take a minnow lure was nigh impossible. Many recent reports confirm this. One report stated that you have to drop a lure right in front of a prowling trout just to get it to strike out of aggression.

On their trip to the lake, the boys also cast paddle-tail soft plastics, jigged across the bottom in depths of 6-10m. They caught plenty of small redfin, almost a fish per cast at times. It’s a pity that most fish were coming up small.

A similar situation is happening in Lake Bullen Merri. Trout and Chinook salmon can be seen smashing bait schools around the lake’s edge, but are hard to tempt with bait or lure. Rainbows and Chinooks are being caught mostly, and the rainbows look like footballs due to the huge amount of food, currently on offer in the lake. The low water temperatures in both lakes currently are ideal for the trout and salmon, as they are definitely showing signs of activity. With an influx of baitfish on offer, anglers may struggle to hook and land a fish.

Slowly but surely, Lake Elingamite near Cobden is filling. I have been in contact with Fisheries Victoria, and they assure me that they’ve allocated trout to be released here, as long as the lake keeps filling. Fingers are crossed for that one. To say that this is my favourite body of local sweet water would be an understatement. The trout grow quickly here and the quality of redfin that come out is simply amazing.

Sea-run brown trout are active in the Gellibrand River at Princetown. Fish are averaging around 300g, but there are larger fish approaching 800g about. They can be caught throughout the lower reaches of the river and found almost right down to the mouth. The bank side reed beds, especially below the campground road bridge, are popular areas to work. Many anglers already do this is in search of bream and estuary perch, but there’s every chance one could connect up with a feisty trout. A variety of hardbodied minnow lures, soft plastics and metal vibe lures, are all attracting some interest.


This is one of many Chinook salmon taken on the troll on a Damiki Saemi lure, with orange for the flavour of the month.

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