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Fishing the crater lakes
  |  First Published: December 2016



After a long and very wet winter and spring, summer is so far, appearing to be quite subdued. But let’s face it – we often experience extreme temperatures down here in the southwest, with 40° not uncommon. That is not a comfortable temperature to deal with by any means and usually means bushfire. More importantly, the water temperatures of our crater lakes haven’t risen too dramatically, which in turn, means that thermocline layers have yet to fully form – so down rigging lures have yet to become necessary method to nail a trout or salmon.

Lake Purrumbete is fishing well for trophy trout and the occasional Chinook salmon. First and last light, as well as after dark, has been the prime time to try for a brown. For some months now huge leviathans exceeding five kilograms have been hooked and landed, as well as lost.

During daytime hours one needs to fish down to at least ten metres, and in most cases this means down rigging. Many of us do not wish to purchase a downrigger, because let’s face it; they are not cheap. Not for a quality unit anyway, and down this way they are only needed for a few months at the most.

Another method is to invest in a couple of large cod lures that dive to depths approaching ten metres. Remove the trebles and tie an appropriate leader (I recommend at least 4 kilograms of fluorocarbon) on the rear ring of which your favourite lure lies swimming a metre or so back.

The other phenomenon currently happening is the sheer amount of redfin coming out of the lake – and the bonus is, not all of them are small. I have personally witnessed boaters deliberately anchored up in approximately 20 metres depth, bottom bouncing live, locally caught minnow or earthworm, and pulling up reddies almost by the bucket load. Yes, many are tiny and it’s good to see that most anglers are educated and are not releasing any Redfin back into the water. The lake is literally swamped with stunted Redfin, and they are not only providing a food source themselves for larger salmonoids, but they are competing for the smaller baitfish that all species are chasing.

I was out on the lake recently and caught two of the newly stocked brook trout, and I’m pleased to announce that these two fish in particular were rather fat and therefore must be doing extremely well. They were carefully released back to grow even bigger. Lake Bullen Merri has seen a resurgence in salmonoid captures by both boat and bank anglers alike. Quality rainbow trout and chinook salmon have been taken, using bait, such as local gudgeon minnow or Powerbait, suspended under a bubble float or by flat line trolling a wide variety of minnow lures, with depths around five to eight metres – which is not that far from the bank.

If we keep receiving the rainfall, it looks like our trout fishery will continue to produce right through until next winter.

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