The lakes are cold and the big reds are on the chew. Trout are smelting, thus giving away their location and making your lure or fly selection that bit easier. Stealth is the key to winter fishing these great lakes, so leave the radio at home, keep the outboard off and go electric. Take the time to drift into your desired spot.
Lake Toolondo has really fired up this month with plenty of action from both trout and redfin. Normally I would only talk about monster brown trout in this fine pond, but the increased biomass from last year’s above average rainfall and the water transfer from Rocklands Reservoir has done wonders for growth rates. The average size redfin of late has been solid to say the least, with it being more common to catch fish in the 30-40cm range than smaller models.
There has been no shortage of larger ones either. The best method for fooling these big fish has undoubtedly been large minnow style plastics fished low and slow in the water column. Weedless rigging your plastics will make it easier. If there is no wind, the floating weed can be frustrating at times when you’re not used to fishing weedy waters.
Trolling until you find a school is the easiest method, then sit on the school and flick. If the bite drops off, return to trolling to locate another school. For the land-based angler, a good set of neoprene waders will get you in the right spot, with some redfin coming from weed beds close to the shore. Local gun angler Trevor Holmes has been doing extremely well with 4” Fish Arrow J Huddles and J Shads with many fish nudging towards the 50cm mark.
If you’re more interested in catching trout, keep your eyes peeled for smelters. Overcast days will see good smelting activity throughout the day. It can be a simple affair. For the lure angler it’s hard to go past the ever-popular bent minnow styles or Rapala X-Rap series. Neutral colours seem to be performing best followed by white and silver. Sometimes just parking the boat and waiting quietly for activity is the best method, then cast towards the action.
If this isn’t your style, trolling wing style lures is always a smart option. Be sure to run your lures a long way back, also stagger them too. Often it will be the last lure that gets the fish, so sneak out a bit more line while your buddy isn’t looking. As for colour choice, pink and silver variations have been accounting for a few trout.
Lake Fyans has continued its fine form with some monster redfin still being caught. In recent weeks it has been common to see catches nudging 50cm. It’s equally common to not locate a plate-size fish. As always with this fine lake, your success will come down to your weedless techniques. Don’t even bother looking for an arch on your sounder, Just search for structure changes. Plastics are the number one choice at the moment closely followed by micro-sized chatterbaits. Look to purples, browns and blacks. Fish them deep and slow with the occasional twitch and pause.
Pink Finesse StumpJumpers have continued to be a go-to lure for trolling over the top of the weed when chasing trout. Expect some by-catch of redfin too. Small Rapalas have also been a great option with the rainbow trout and spotted dog colours are a standout. If you’re more of a traditionalist, Blue Fox Spinners have been accounting for more than a few fish too.
The Glenelg River has also been fishing well. With the good flows fish have been able to make their way along the river to better waters. A few bass have been caught recently, which would indicate they have finished their spawning run in the brackish water downstream. Equally, some good-size redfin have come from around Harrow. Fishing for redfin is a whole new game in running water and one that is well worth the effort. Soft plastic curl-tail grubs would be my choice of offering.Reads: 163