Solving Bullen Merri’s mystery
  |  First Published: February 2007

If February brings rain, it will lift all our spirits but it may also bring those mystery fish at Bullen Merri on the bite.

Anglers have grown increasingly frustrated by Bullen Merri’s fishing over the last few months. Despite being able to see several fish on their sounders, many fishers have struggled to actually land any. After a few reported catches of big Chinook from the banks, however, the wheel could be starting to turn.

Low water levels and difficult boat launching facilities have failed to put a dampener on Purrumbete’s good fishing. Brown trout to 3.5kg are patrolling the weed beds and anglers fishing mudeyes under a float or behind a Ford Fender have had the most success. Flyfishers have also taken some nice fish around the weeds with mudeye style patterns. Purrumbete is producing plenty of redfin, with Manifolds Bay one of the better areas. Anglers fishing glassies close to the bottom with a steady berley mix of cat food, chook pellets and tuna oil have scored Chinook to 1kg.

Other lakes and reservoirs in the area are all feeling the drought. The two Geelong catchments, West Barwon and Wurdibuloc are all low but still worth a shot. Flyfishers are taking advantage of the evening rises and scoring browns and rainbows. Plastics, lures and mudeyes also produced good catches from West Barwon over the holiday break.

Lake Colac’s redfin are pretty safe from boat anglers with water levels dropping beyond the boat ramp. Colac anglers can look forward to a new jetty which, when the water rises again, will provide better access.

Our main local river, the Gellibrand, has had a bit of a facelift. Willows have been removed from riverbanks, blackberries have been cleaned up and native trees have been planted. Similar projects in other areas of the state have met with some criticism but local flyfishers could not be happier. The river is alive with free rising brown trout. Although many fish are small, there are plenty of fish to 1kg with the odd fish to 1.5kg.

The blackfish season has been rolling along for a month now and warm sticky evenings have provided good bags of these Aussie natives. Worms and small yabbies are two of the better baits, and yabbies don’t attract as many eels. Good size black fish to over 1kg can be expected along the Gellibrand River. Remember there is a bag and size limit on blackfish.

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