More space for anglers to wet a line
  |  First Published: March 2017

The summer holidays have well and truly finished, leaving many of our waterways uncrowded for the first time this year. From February onwards and right throughout autumn seems to be the best time of year for locals to get out there and wet a line.

Many of the water skiing fraternity have finally left the waters of Lake Bullen Merri allowing the more sedate sport of fishing to go unhindered. All it takes is a warm to hot day to occur on a weekend and they suddenly reappear in droves. If you can get in a session or two during the week, Chinook salmon are still being caught close to shore in depths from 4-8m.

These fish are varying from a kilo in weight to well over two. The odd rainbow from 1-2kg have been thrown into the mix. The browns are quiet, but I’ve heard whispers that local bank anglers fishing throughout the night using mudeyes and locally sourced live gudgeon minnows suspended under a float have picked up the odd solid fish.

So far the lake’s water temperature hasn’t risen sharply as it has done in the past. This is due to a below average summer. A thermocline layer has yet to fully form, so downrigging hasn’t become a necessity yet. Plenty of boaters are still flat line trolling minnow lures around the shoreline and I’ve noticed a substantial increase here of boaters static fishing, casting soft plastics as well as hardbodies towards the shallows.

There are plenty of smaller, more recent releases of the above species about and they are voracious to say the least. Many of these fish could be considered pan-sized. There are plenty of larger salmonoids about, so carefully release the smaller ones. It will only take a few months for these fish to double or even triple in weight with the sheer amount of food on offer in the lake.

Lake Purrumbete remains fairly quiet. Solid rainbows around 2kg have been taken early on in the day. Suspending bait at least 2m under a bubble float and allowing it to drift towards the weed beds has been successful for a few. The odd Chinook has also been taken along with brook trout. The big browns are still there. Lately, I haven’t heard of any confirmed captures.

Lake Tooliorook has rainbows around 800g taking just about anything on a given day. The campers have finally left, so the lake has much less boat traffic. Lake Elingamite’s water levels continue to slowly drop and small tinnies can still launch. If it wasn’t for two large falls of rain that occurred in December and January, I doubt whether anyone other than kayaks could access the lake.

The new release trout are rapidly approaching 40cm and the odd fish that were released last year are being taken on minnow lures, along with redfin up to 1.4kg. Casting or flat line trolling lures is working well here.CAPTIONS

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