Cold foggy mornings are here. There’s no better time to chase trout! While the Sunday fishers are still tucked up in bed, we get out on the water to watch the sunrise, along with a trophy trout or two. The chilly mornings we come to expect of May are like a doorbell to the big trout that call our lakes home. Now the hard part is deciding what lake to choose.
We truly are spoilt for choice when it comes to lake trout, whether on the mountain lakes of the Grampians, or Rocklands and Toolondo further west. Without a doubt, Toolondo is always first to mind when planning an early start with the hopes of a new personal best brown trout. It’s all too easy to get blinded by the aura that surrounds this mighty pond.
Lately I have been drawn to Lake Wartook. There are no crowds and plenty of solid fish to be talked about for many moons. Wartook doesn’t get the wrap that Toolondo gets, and there is only one reason why – those that fish it with great success are generally tight-lipped with whom they share their results! Sorry guys, but I can’t hold this lake back any longer.
Wartook deserves to be in the spotlight. This lake offers shelter from wind in any direction due to the island within it. It has deep water along the wall, varying shallows from stump strewn sections to reed beds, rocky points and the deeper depressions of the sunken creek bed. Any method of fishing will work on this magnificent lake, be it bait fishing from the wall, flyfishing the shallows in waders or flicking your favourite lure from a kayak or boat.
Plan to get out on the water before sunrise and take a moment to sit silently and listen for surface activity. In low light conditions matching the hatch isn’t as important as when the sun is at its highest. Unweighted soft plastics in darker colours are a fantastic surface and subsurface choice, along with the usual go-to trout lures like the ever-popular Tassie Devil or bent minnow. As the sun gains some height and warmth, start to look for deeper waters and match your lure selection to suit.
For the angler that would rather a warm bed, this time of year still has a good chance of a yellowbelly in some of the region’s lesser-known waterways. Yarriambiack Creek has been fishing well of late with some great catches of yellowbelly. A bunch of fresh scrub worms fished off the bottom are a proven method that should get you a result.
Mount William Creek has been receiving environmental flows from Lake Lonsdale to connect the summer pools to the Wimmera River and reduce salinity. This has also given fish the opportunity to travel from the Wimmera River up Mount William Creek. For the adventurous angler, now is a great time to throw on the hiking boots and gaiters and wander the banks for the creek.
Redfin and yellowbelly are the target species. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a battle with a catfish. Be it floating worms of flicking lures, you will sure be in for a back to nature experience walking Mount William Creek. Due to the snaggy nature of the creek, weedless rigged plastics or small spinnerbaits are great choices.
For the boat-based fishos, now is a great time to try to get your PB redfin. The schools of redfin will be slowing down, thus making it easier to target the larger ones. If the wind is down, Lake Fyans is well worth the effort. Purple StumpJumpers or Ecogear SX40s are a favourite among locals. Alternatively, plastics are always a winner at Fyans.
Curl-tail grubs are hard to beat when selecting a plastic here. Watermelon, red flake or pumpkin seed colours normally get the job done. Don’t discount catching a big trout here either. It might just be worth trolling a pink Tassie Devil or finesse StumpJumper. You never know your luck!
If you’re looking to get away for a night or two, have a good think about Rocklands Reservoir. This time of the year could see you land a reddy, bass, trout or cod. Bring all your tricks and try to bag the big four!
For the tech savvy angler, this is the place to know how to read that high-tech sounder. You can learn a lot from this lake and it will get you on the fish much faster. Work exposed points and heavy timbered areas and aim to swim your lures in the bottom third of the water column.Reads: 902