The gritty days of winter are upon us, with sideways rain and wind that seems like it will never pass. While this is what we can expect in Melbourne, for the short while ahead, the common phrase “you can’t catch fish on the couch” could not ring truer.
The diehards and fishing desperados won’t have this problem, as they’ll be out casting in rain, hail or shine. While our stream trout options are off the cards for a while yet, there are a good number of lakes close by to suburbia that we can all get our fix from.
With plenty of surrounding parkland and facilities, Karkarook Lake in Moorabbin is a great option for a land-based fish during winter. The lake itself is made up of silty shallows dotted with reeds, which hold plenty of insect life, and some good weed growth further out along the drop off. The lake is quite deep out further, and this area sustains a cold temperature all year round and keeps the trout happy.
Speaking of trout, the lake usually receives a top up stocking of yearling trout just prior to each school holidays, so taking the kids down to the lake in between rain showers is a good idea.
By far and away the most productive way to target these lake trout is to bait fish. Sure, the odd angler will catch a trout or two by simply casting out a natural bait of scrubworm, yabby or mudeye, but the dough style baits like PowerBait or Dynamite Baits will normally out fish these five to one when set up correctly.
These baits should be fished on small size 14-18 short shank ‘stinger’ style hooks, and normally a bait the size of your little fingernail is perfect. A running sinker style rig with leader of around 6lb is ideal, with the sinker swapped to a feeder or berley cage.
Berley cages are available at most good tackle stores and for those unfamiliar with them, they are basically a small cigarette lighter sized cage with holes designed to be filled with berley, and also act as casting weight. The last piece of the plan for successfully catching stocked trout is to use the correct berley. There are lots of recipes that will work, but again, most quality tackle stores will carry a small brown pellet form berley that is basically the same as what these fish are fed in the hatchery.
The same form of fishing can also be very effective in other local stocked lakes, and one such lake is Devilbend Reservoir down on Mornington Peninsula. Devilbend has fairly recently received a top up of stocking of both brown and rainbow trout, which will respond to this form of bait fishing. The only trick to using this method here is to get your bait in a small clearing in the dense weed that fills the lake. The main fishing jetty or second jetty towards the gorge are the better areas to try.
If you are more into lure and soft plastic fishing, there have been some very nice redfin coming from the lake recently. Small ‘buggy’ looking plastics have accounted for most reddies, with ZMan grubs and Strike Tiger Hawgs the standouts when fished over the weed.
• For any of the latest metro reports and information, pop into Compleat Angler Dandenong at 241-243 Princes Highway, Dandenong, give us a call on 03 9794 9397 or jump on to the ‘Melbourne Metro Freshwater Fishing’ page on Facebook.
Photo courtesy of Eden Barlow.Reads: 718