Timing is everything for Ballarat
  |  First Published: March 2017

What will give you the best opportunity to catch a fish today? Do some homework and find information on the species you are going to target like what they eat and the best times of the day to fish for them. Find out what other anglers have been catching them on and where.

All of these tips can be found in articles like this or on Facebook, fishing forums, TV programs, DVDs, radio and at fishing clubs. There is a host of knowledge out there. Tap into it. Find out about the fish you are after. Unfortunately, 90% of the fish caught are often caught by 10% of anglers. Let’s try and change the odds.

Anglers in and around the Ballarat district need to think about this. We’re in the middle of our summer. A lot of our fisheries in the district are shallow by nature. During the warmer, sunnier months, trout and redfin will seek refuge in the weeds and change their feeding patterns, to stay safe from predators like birds.

This behaviour is also dictated by what the fish are feeding on. Mudeyes are predominately the number one source of food in our local waters at this time of the year. The mudeyes crawl out of the weeds and swim through the water onto land to hatch into dragonflies. This generally happens on evening and into the night. Sometimes they hatch all night and the fish will feed all night into early morning. This is when you should be out to give yourself the best chance of catching one, whether you’re a bait, lure or flyfisher.

This information can be used on most species of fish and not just around the waters of Ballarat. You have to think like a fish. What is a good time to fish in the middle of spring is not the necessarily the best time during autumn or summer.

Fishing in the district waters has been a bit patchy over the past month. Anglers who have done their homework and fish at the best times have landed some lovely fish. Daniel Hon loves nothing better than to get out on Lake Wendouree in the evening casting lures out of his Hobie. Lately, he has been catching magnificent trout and redfin casting a variety of hardbodied lures and soft plastics.

Ben Young and Damien Keirl certainly know the best time to fish Wendouree. The boys have been bagging some excellent redfin. Damien caught them on mudeyes and Ben used lures.

I have taken my kids up a few mornings on first light, firstly trolling the rowing lanes with small hardbodied lures, then we fish mudeyes suspended under bubble floats into the weed beds with excellent results. My youngest son Maxi had a ball trolling and landed lovely rainbow trout and redfin. The best lures we have found at the moment are the Bullet Lures in silver and gold trolled 5m behind the boat. This allows them to be higher in the water column and not dredging the bottom, getting fouled up by weeds or the rope from the rowing lanes.

Lake Wendouree will continue to fish well over the coming months if you stick to the right times of day to fish. Early morning, evenings and after dark are prime times, especially in the next couple of months. The mudeye hatches peak in these months, so the fish will make the most of this opportunity and so must anglers.

Newlyn Reservoir reports have been patchy. The water level is falling due to the water being used for irrigation purposes, which has exposed a lot of weed. This happens every year and anglers need to target the areas where the weed is not as bad or wade through the weed to cast baits and lures into the open water.

The best time to fish Newlyn over the past few years has been on very first light before the sun gets up. Fish with mudeyes suspended under floats in the open clear water and make sure you have your lines greased up with Mucilin so it floats and covers plenty of water.

At Hepburn Lagoon, not very far from Newlyn Reservoir, the same suggestions apply. I haven’t heard much from Heppy. I’m sure that over the next couple of months with the mudeye hatches in full swing, anglers will be out there making the most of the feeding frenzy that takes place on or after dark. Anglers fishing mudeyes and flyfishing at the prime times will catch some lovely fish.

Moorabool Reservoir is flying under the radar at the moment. I have heard nothing on the angler grapevine and there are no photos on Facebook. I’m sure the fish will be biting normally at this time of year, as there are plenty of guys catching big bags of redfin casting lures from the deeper banks of the reservoir. The best times have been evening and early morning. Moorabool Reservoir was heavily stocked last spring with brown and rainbow trout, so there should be plenty of fun to be had. A bunch of garden worms on a running sinker rig will bring them undone.

Other waters that will be worth a look in and around the Ballarat area over the coming months are Bostock, Cosgroves, and the Dean and Tullaroop reservoirs. Anglers using plastics, lures and baits should be able to catch a trout or redfin.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Hon.

Photo courtesy of Ben Young.

Photo courtesy of Damien Kierl.

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