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Festival fun for the fishermen
  |  First Published: December 2016



There will be plenty of fishing fun to be had over the holiday season in and around Ballarat and District, and I hope Santa delivered the goods to all those happy anglers who fished throughout the build up to summer.

Lake Wendouree is still number one when it comes to fishing in the District, with anglers using every method in the book to catch quality trout and redfin. It doesn’t matter whether it is day or night; Lake Wendouree is producing the goods. Anglers are travelling from far and wide to fish this magnificent fishery in the centre of town, and the Lake is Ballarat’s number one tourist attraction not only for fishing, but walking, cycling, running, sailing, kayaking, canoeing and rowing too.

Over the last month, redfin have started to show up once again – I just wonder where they go, as the lake is not that big, and they seem to go off the bite, but now they are back being caught once again. Damien Keirl has been nailing some excellent reddies on mudeyes fished under a bubble. Damien has also been targeting the trout in Lake Wendouree, but these awesome table fish have been chewing up Damien’s mudeyes – though there have been no complaints from Damien, with these fish have averaging 1.5kg. Ben Young has also joined in catching the Wendouree redfin using a different angling method. Ben prefers to cast lures out of a drifting boat with the Ecogear MX, finding the yellow-over-red pattern the most successful redfin lure for him at the moment. Once again the size has varied, but fish of the 1.5kg mark are not uncommon, and as most anglers know, redfin travel around in schools – so if you get one, you will probably get more!

Lake Wendouree is very versatile at the moment. I have just mentioned that the redfin have started to bite, but trout are certainly on the chew as well, as they have been for months. I would dare to say at the moment that Lake Wendouree would have to be fishing the best it has fished for as long as I can remember. I mentioned last month that the mayfly hatches had returned to their former glory, which I personally have waited for for many years. Over the warmer months the hatches slow down, and pick up again in late March and early April. The trout in Wendouree are now in full feed mode with anything and everything on the menu! Mudeyes are probably the number one on the list, which is great for those who love to fish bait, but also those who fly fish using mudeye fly pattern imitations. The mudeyes crawl out of the mud and weed up onto the shore and hatch into dragonfly trout candy.

Chris McIntosh has been fishing mudeyes recently, both during the day and evening with excellent results. Chris’s best fish to date, that he has caught and released, is a whopping 3.2kg brown trout – and during the same week, Chris caught three more brown trout over 2kg, which he release as well. Ben Jeffrey has been also nailing some quality brown trout with his dad Shane. The guys have been fishing out of the boat during the middle of the day, on what I would say are not ideal days for Wendouree –bright sun and no wind are not the best conditions for fishing trout, but that goes to show how good the fishing is at the moment! Ben’s best fish to date is a brown trout of 2.35kg, on mudeye. Kiel Jones, a very keen fly angler, has been nailing some awesome mudeye hungry brown trout after dark on Muddler Minnow fly patterns. The Muddlers, as I like to call them, are an exciting way to fly fish – they are a surface fly, which imitate a mudeye hatching into a dragonfly, and are available in a number of colours. The fly floats, and with a very slow retrieve the trout thinks it’s a dragon fly – and you can actually hear the trout slurp the fly down. Then you lift your fly rod to set the hook, and it’s game on! This is one of my favourite times of the year, when the trout actually take Muddlers – this happens on every lake when the trout are feeding on mudeyes hatching after dark.

Fishing around the District is not just about Lake Wendouree, but as my report suggests, the other waters District have to offer, have certainly been over shadowed by how well Lake Wendouree has been fishing. The fact is, I have not received many reports of anglers catching fish at any other location. We have some awesome fisheries that will fish very well over the next few months using the same methods as mentioned above, but timing will be critical to getting the best results. As the weather warms up and we move into the summer months – early morning, evening and after dark are the best times to target fish in the district, using baits, lures, plastics or flies. District waters that should fish very well over the coming months are Hepburn Lagoon, Newlyn, Cosgroves, Moorabool, Dean, Bostock and Tullaroop Reservoirs – and all these waters are within 30 minutes of Ballarat.

Photo Courtesy Kiel Jones.

Photo courtesy Damien Keirl.

Photo Courtesy Shane Jeffrey.

Photo courtesy Chris McIntosh.

Photo courtesy Ben Young.

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