Transformation for the waterways
  |  First Published: February 2017

The last month has been a period of transformation for the waterways of the region. Water clarity has vastly improved and water temperatures have risen to a point that the redfin are schooling up and are on the chew. Floodwaters have receded. Riverbanks are drying out and stabilising. The Wimmera is open for fishing!

While trout fishing has taken a back seat to targeting natives and the ever-popular redfin, some fine specimens have still been caught in deeper waters. The wall at Lake Wartook offers a great land-based option with deep water access. Floating a mudeye at sun-up or sunset is always a good way to find a trout. During the heat of the day, fishing the bottom is a better option. Scrub worms on a running sinker have worked well. Lake Bellfield is another place for the land-based angler to access deep water.

Without a doubt, Rocklands Reservoir is the choice for redfin at the moment. With its clear water and rocky bottom, targeting redfin is a simple affair. Trolling your favourite hardbody lure until you locate a school is the best method. Target water depths around 4-6m and choose a lure that runs in the bottom third of the water column. Once a school has been found, swap to flicking plastics to keep up the strikes. ZMan motor oil curl-tail grubs have been my go-to plastic in full sun, where white has been my cloudy option.

For the land-based anglers, working rocky points and sunken saplings during the heat of the day with small plastics or vibes is a great way to chase redfin. Keeping the plastic in contact with the bottom is the key in the shallower waters. Long pauses and moments of frantic hops and twitches will be sure to tempt a strike. More often, the strike comes during the pause.

A dedicated few, both bait and lure anglers, have been putting in the hours at Taylors Lake chasing the mighty Murray cod. The results have been very promising. Both undersize and oversize fish have been landed and all the fish have been in very healthy condition.

Through the heat of the day, the green fish have been holding tight to structure and are almost requiring a bump on the head with a spinnerbait to get a strike. Persistent casting at each sunken tree is needed. Put in at least a dozen casts at each tree before moving on. Spinnerbait choices should be simple – black, red or purple. Try 1oz down to 1/2oz in size and be sure to run a stinger hook, as the bite is often only a tail nip.

For the bait fishos, there have been great results with whole yabby fished on a running sinker rig. There have also been some great by-catches of yellowbelly on both bait and lures. Once the sun gets low in the sky, start to target the rock shelf between the sunken timber and the shore, as both cod and yellowbelly will be found cruising this area in the search for an easy meal. The future of Taylors Lake as a cod fishery is looking bright.

Late evening sessions on the Wimmera River have produced good catches of yellowbelly. By far the best method has been scrub worms fished on the bottom in close to undercut banks. Those that have been willing to put in the leg work and get to the lesser fished stretches of the river have done well. Be cautious, as snakes are a common sighting and some trees have had a lot of root wash from recent flooding.

The next month should see Lake Fyans fire up with some hot redfin bites. Trolling small minnow style lures along the wall or flicking chatterbaits or plastics along the weed beds will be a good tactic to find some redfin. Late evening sessions with walk-the-dog style surface lures in the shallows should be a fun option worth trying too. There’s nothing like a surface strike!

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