Wimmera River Yielding Good Catches
  |  First Published: December 2006

The long, hot summer only seems to be getting longer and hotter, and unfortunately Wimmera’s local lakes and rivers are still low. We really need some of those fantastic thunderstorms over our waters so they can hold on for a little bit longer. Storages are at a critical level, and all we can do it hope that a wet hits soon.

Many Wimmera anglers head to the coast or Murray River in search of good fishing, however there’s still plenty of fun to be had locally. Those that stay close have been rewarded with good fish from the Wimmera River and Lake Wartook.

Wimmera River

There are a few areas that haven’t been too badly affected by the drought such as Riverside and the Horsham Weir through to Polkemmet. The best fishing has been in the early mornings, late afternoons and right through the night. High daytime water temperatures have been stressful for the fish in most areas, although Riverside and below Horsham weir have been the exception, with some very healthy water and fish holding in the deeper holes.

Down by the river in the later afternoons I’ve taken some nice yellowbelly to 3.8kg and the occasional good size redfin on spinnerbaits and small lures such as stumpjumpers. My best session so far produced 6 yellowbelly and 2 redfin in a couple hours. Most nights I manage to catch one or two good yellowbelly; they’re almost unstoppable in the heavier snag piles, but if you persist, you’ll hook them.

Factors such as the weather, barometric pressure and moon phase seemingly don’t affect the natives here. Any day could produce good or bad fishing – just go out there with a bit of confidence.

Baitfishing has also been productive with catfish, yellowbelly and the occasional Murray cod to 60cm being taking worms, yabbies and peeled yabby tail. Although most of the large yellowbelly and Murray cod have been taken on spinnerbaits and lures.

Around Horsham there has been plenty of carp caught on worms, some have been quite big. In some stretches of the river you can actually see the schools of carp moving around feeding, which means you can easily cast a worm in front of them to entice a bite.

Lake Bellfield

There has been a lot of redfin caught here lately but most have been small, with the odd fish reaching a pound. Baitfishing with gudgeon has been productive as well as casting small minnow lures and spoons.

Many small rainbow trout are still being taken here by most methods, but the larger fish have been a bit sporadic, which is normal at this time of year. Minnow and mudeye fished under bubble floats have been working well on the trout and flyfishing with wets such as Mrs Simpsons and Wooly Worms should also return catches.

This lake is presently very low at 10% capacity so bank fishing has been the best option.

Lake Wartook

The fishing at Lake Wartook has been fantastic, with many rainbow trout to 1.4kg taken along with the occasional brown trout to 2kg. Fisheries Victoria made a terrific decision to stock this lake with rainbows and fishing has been terrific ever since. The action may slow down a little during the middle of summer, but early morning, evening and after dark will still be productive.

Baitfishing the wall area in the deep water has been the best method using mudeye and powerbait. Trollers are also taking a few good trout on tassie devil style lures and small spoons, but the small redfin have been a nuisance.

The lake is at 40 % capacity so both bank and boat fishing has been good.

Taylors Lake

Due to extremely low water levels, only small boats can be launched with care at Taylors. Surprisingly, the redfin fishing has been good from the bank with some very nice catches taken by angers using gudgeon and worms for bait in the timbered areas. A few good Murray Cod to 7 cm have been caught recently along with the occasional yellowbelly. Yabbies have enticed the most bites.

This lake contains a lot of very large cod but not a lot of anglers actively hunt them out; most are hooked while fishing for redfin and yellowbelly, which means many escape quite easily on the lighter gear.

The water is a bit green and murky at the moment so lure fishing has been quiet.

Some nice yellowbelly have been taken around Horsham on spinnerbaits.

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