Crater lakes crawling with life
  |  First Published: December 2016

Finally, after many, many months, I can now safely say that the freshwater scene is beginning to look pretty damn good down here.

Last month the heavy rains were just beginning to die off and the sun was starting to show itself in earnest, but what a wet winter we have had! We really needed it after several years of below average rainfall.

As of the start of November, Lake Elingamite’s water level at the boat ramp had well exceeded half a metre’s depth. This mightn’t sound much to many, but believe me, this is the best it has been for five years!

At the end of October, I could actually get my 4m bass boat out into the lake proper under outboard power rather than using the bow mounted electric in shallow drive, or worse – poling out.

Fisheries Victoria have come good, with 4,000 yearling rainbows and 1,000 yearling browns released into the lake. A far cry from last year’s aborted attempt where only 400 browns were released due to warm weather dropping the water level just enough to prevent boats from launching.

The lake currently holds one and two-year old fish ranging from 900g-2.3kg, but these are frankly few and far between as far as captures are concerned. But thank the fishing gods for the resident redfin.

Schooling reddies can vary from 350-800g, while larger, lone wolf type fish can easily exceed 1kg. When I say 1kg, the chances are an angler is looking at 1.3-1.8kg very easily. If I can catch them, which I have done in the last few months, anyone can.

I tend to troll minnow lures such as Pontoon 21 Cablistas, which dive to around 1m, and the ever faithful Damiki Saemi 50s, which dive a little bit deeper.

Trolling close to the existing weed beds, you’re is only sitting in depths around 2.2-3m, and the redfin can easily detect most lures swimming along. If school redfin are found, you can then decide to stop and cast to the school.

I must point out that the deepest section of the lake exceeds 5m, and school redfin can be located here via a sounder, but getting them to switch on and bite can be another matter.

So until the new release trout (which will take the best part of a year to approach the 1kg mark) come online, there’s plenty of redfin action to be had.

Lake Tooliorook near Lismore is not far off being full thanks to all the rain. Fisheries took a punt some months ago and released 5,000 rainbows and 3,000 browns, which will certainly complement the existing redfin stocks that no doubt survived the much lower water levels that plagued this lake for the last three years.

Trophy sized brown trout exceeding 4kg continue to be caught out of Lake Purrumbete, but most fish are being taken after dusk either using live bait suspended under a float or by casting or trolling a variety of minnow lures up close to the weed beds that surround the lake’s edges.

Not far from the channel is Horan’s Point, which is a top place to start fishing. You can also slowly make your way around to the quarry on the eastern bank.

The Mount Emu Creek is still in major flood, but the only affected land that currently lies inundated is farmland. This, however, puts this famous creek and the Hopkins River (which it flows into) out of action for the time being, but come December when things finally calm down, I suspect the trout fishing here will really turn on a treat!

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