Just like the winters of old!
  |  First Published: September 2016

Our cold weather continues not only around the Ballarat district, but all over the state, which is music to our ears. The sound of rain falling on roofs, being able to drive around and having water lying everywhere in paddocks, the backyard and home is totally saturated and most important of all, the creeks and rivers are running into our much needed water storages and fisheries.

We still need the rain to continue to really fill up our waters, as many are well down due to below average rainfalls for the last few years, so hopefully the end of winter continues in the same pattern and our spring is a really wet one as well. Years ago, the spring rains was the icing on the cake to totally fill up the water storages and fisheries.

Victorian Fisheries have certainly been on the job over the last month, and will continue in the coming months, releasing over 750,000 into all our fisheries, even some waters that I thought were too low for them to release fish into. With all the water flowing around through the creeks, gutters and rivers, we’ll hopefully see these waters full once again.

Fisheries stock these fish from revenue raised through our fishing licences, so when you whinge and moan about paying the fee, have a think about where all the fish stockings come from. Many of our target species cannot breed in the environment that they are in, and this is why it’s important to keep them stocked.

Fishing in the district has certainly slowed down with the freezing cold, windy and wet weather. Angler numbers have also dropped. I distinctly remember last winter the amount of trophy trout that were caught during the winter months, even though the conditions last year were a lot milder, and the amount of guys who were out there reaping the rewards was unbelievable. This year is a lot different. I have made a conscious effort to do the hard yards to try and land myself a true trophy to no avail as yet, but it’s not over until it’s over, but what I have noticed is there is not many anglers out there this year. Those who have been out in the elements have certainly been catching some very nice trout and redfin in the district.


Tullaroop Reservoir has certainly turned up the heat for fishing action over the past month. I banged on about Tullaroop, and anglers are finally catching some very nice brown and rainbow trout. Patience seems to be the order of the day, with anglers being prepared to cast out a salted white/blue bait on a running sinker rig and just wait for a trout to swim past and pick up the scent of the salted bait scooping the pool.

On recent trips, Kim Watts has bagged some lovely browns up to 5.5lb and Brian Rivett has managed some decent browns to 3.5lb, all in magnificent conditions.

Geoff Cramer and I fished Tullaroop recently with Geoff fly fishing the shallower bays and me casting lures in the deeper water like last year, trying to tempt a trophy trout. Geoff landed a personal best brown trout of approximately 8lb on an olive Woolley Bugger, which he released to fight another day.

Over the coming months, Tullaroop will continue to fish very well, but it’s not easy by any means. Time and effort will prevail to those anglers willing to put in the yards, and overcast windy weather seems to produce the best results.


I have mentioned Moorabool Reservoir over the last couple of months, and it has has slowly started to see angler numbers increase trying to snag one of the quality brown trout or redfin that call this place home. Moorabool’s water level is well down on previous years, but the good news is it is slowly starting to rise. Hopefully with the wet weather, we should see water levels rising over new ground, which see the trout move out of the deeper water and into the shallows foraging for food like grubs and worms.

Tom Kulczynski, a gun angler from around the fishing circles, puts in the hard yards, both miles and hours, and is duly rewarded for his efforts. Tom likes to fish Moorabool during the winter months and has been rewarded for his efforts over the past month, catching some magnificent brown trout on both lures and bait. Tom, as I mentioned, covers plenty of miles, walking the shorelines casting various types of lures from hardbodies to spoons and soft plastics. Tom tries all different patterns and styles until he finds the winning formula, and over recent months the Pegron Tiger minnow has been his favourite.

Tom also like to fish bait over the winter months at Moorabool, with a big bunch of scrub worms fished on a running sinker rig a favourite. With the worms, the bigger the better is Tom’s motto out at Moorabool, and it also helps to be patient, as you might only get one or two bites for the day.

On Tom’s most recent trip, he bagged two magnificent brown trout around the 6lb mark. The weather conditions play a big part, and Tom mentioned to me that windy and overcast cold days produce the goods, just make sure to rug up and keep warm.


Lake Daylesford? Where’s that? It’s a small water located right in the middle of Daylesford, and while anglers might have heard of Lake Jubilee, they may not have heard of Lake Daylesford. The lake is only small in size, but big in quality fish. Access is restricted in fishable areas due the bushland growth around the shorelines, but a walking track is located right the way around this small lake and it’s water is slightly discoloured, but very deep.

There are numerous jetties and landings plotted around this scenic little lake. The lake has previously been stocked with trout through the Small Waters Project from the Fisheries.

The redfin have been on the chew in this little lake over the recent couple of months and are they are some big reddies, with quite a few over the 45cm mark. The best way to catch these quality redfin is with big soft plastic around 4”. Heavy jigheads have been favoured to get them down deep, and a slow roll retrieve has done the job. My nephew Nathan Ward and mates Will Lawrence and Ryan Carrol have been having a ball catching these thumping big redfin, and the boys have been putting in plenty of hours to catch these fish. It’s not just a walk up start to bag these redfin, but well worth a look.


Lake Wendouree is the quietest I have seen it for a few months, with not many anglers fishing and reports have been a bit thin on the ground. Anglers rugging up still have managed to catch some lovely brown and rainbow trout, mainly casting lures or soft plastics or trolling the main rowing channel when in a boat or kayak.

Lake Wendouree over the next month will start to fire up as the anglers come out of hibernation and start to hit the water again. I know the lake is full of fish and we will see reports start to come in once again. All forms of angling methods will start to work once again.


Waters around the region I haven’t mentioned this month that are not on the radar at the moment, but are really worth a look as the water levels start to rise, are Hepburn Lagoon, Newlyn Reservoir, Dean Reservoir, Cosgrove Reservoir and Bostock. All these waters are well-stocked with trout and other fish species just waiting for anglers to cast a lure, fly or bait at them.

Photo courtesy of Geoff Cramer.

Photo courtesy of Linda Ward.

Photo courtesy of Tom Kulczynski.

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