Bumps and thumps
  |  First Published: December 2016

With the cold wet spring being nothing but memories of slow days fishing, the great Wimmera and surrounds have never looked so good – with most lakes full, and the others the highest they have been in years. The Wimmera River received natural flows all the way to Lake Hindmarsh. Along with Toolondo, it received a much needed drink from Rocklands in November, after Mother Nature kicked in and got Rocklands to the much needed trigger point to allow a release via the channel. The waters have now cleared and all species are on the chew.

Taylors Lake has been getting a lot of attention from bait fishos, with reports of solid yellow belly being caught on both scrub worms and yabbies. Trolling diving lures along the tree lines has also produced a few good fish to with the ever-reliable Stump Jumper being the go to lure. With new fishing pontoons and upgraded boat ramps, the Wimmera River has attained more family friendly options then ever before – it has never been a better time to fish the river! Bait anglers have been rewarded with good catches of yellowbelly, from the upper reaches of Wimmera River, all the way to Lake Hindmarsh. Lure fishing has been a bit slow, but with a bit of persistence, casting soft vibes at structures and undercut edges has paid off, with catches of redfin and yellowbelly.

Rocklands Reservoir has been the stand out location to fish. Some solid bass have been caught measuring past 40cm. Casting spinnerbaits and vibes at vertical structures is the best method, followed by trolling diving lures tight in the timber. Great catches of schooled up redfin are not uncommon – trolling is a good way to locate the school, and once you have, anchor with them and flick soft plastics on a slow roll or jig them erratically along the bottom. The trusty old Tassie Devil trolled have been responsible for some healthy trout, both browns and rainbows.

The Grampians lakes (Wartook, Bellfied and Fyans) have also been producing great catches of trout and redfin, with the pick of the three spots being Fyans. The best results have been sessions from dawn and dusk, whilst paying particular attention to matching the hatch, and due to the clear waters, these fish are not easily fooled. Chatterbaits in dark colours have been doing well at tricking big redfin into thinking they are fleeing yabbies. Fisher at Lake Toolondo have been polaroiding, both those who caught some solid brown trout, and those who caught nothing. Even with its splash of water from Rocklands, cracking the code has been a tough gig – but as one young lad I was speaking to said, “All those donut days are worth it for that one trophy fish.”

Finesse plastics like the Fish Arrow J-Shad are a good starting point to flick around, along with the ever-popular bent minnow hardbody. Mudeye, along with the trusty old scrub worm, under a float have accounted for some great trout – that is if you can keep the small redfin away from it long enough for a trout to get a look at it. Though next month, as the water temperatures rise, we should see some hot redfin bites across most of the region’s lakes to the point where a bit of tin foil on a hook should net you a feed of redfin. However, if you want to use some conventional gear, lightly weighted plastics in colours like motor oil, pumpkin seed and watermelon should be the first choice when rigging up. If trolling is your preferred method, look to small minnow shaped lures that dive down to 2m.

Lake Lonsdale has always been renowned as a great redfin and yabby lake. Now it’s had water in it for a few months, I’m sure we will see an exciting return to form of this great lake – it would be worth a day out with the drop nets and a spot of bait fishing. Taylors Lake will be the lake to fish, with January having the best murray cod catch opportunities. Yellowbelly will still be on the chew with the water temperatures on the rise, with big spinnerbaits and chatterbaits being go to lure, followed by extra deep diving hardbody lures. White skirts and gold blades are the go to color choices for spinnerbaits at Taylors Lake. For those choosing to fish with bait, a big scrub worm or yabby tail should bring success. But if you’re looking for a true battle, dust off the surface lures or fly rod and take on some dusk and dawn sessions – and don’t forget the full moon, as it provides a good option for an all night surface session.

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