Still plenty of fishing options in the Wimmera
  |  First Published: April 2007

Despite enduring a very hot summer without much rainfall, our waters in the Wimmera have fared pretty well considering just how low the water levels are. There have been no fish kills in our low waters, which has been great, apart from all the pelicans feasting on the fish in the river at Horsham. This year’s rainfall will be very important to the future of fishing in this region as another dry year will mean the end for most of our remaining waters. At the moment we still have some good fishing so I’m just making the most of it with my fingers crossed for some good rain soon.

Wimmera River

The fishing in the Wmmera River continues to be good with decent catches being made at Riverside, Horsham and near Dimboola. I have been catching mostly golden perch to 3.5kg and the occasional redfin around Horsham Weir, while casting spinnerbaits and small lures from the bank. Some nights after work I will get quite a few golden perch only to get nothing the next night, so it can be a bit hit and miss. It is all worth it when the fish are on though and can be really good fun.

Baitfishing with worms and yabbies has also been good for silver perch, catfish and golden perch, with a few Murray cod being caught around Horsham as well. Unfortunately many locals don’t see the value of catch and release cod fishing and most fish have been killed, which is a real shame. The cod have missed two years of stocking and we don’t know if they can breed in the river here as yet.

There is word around town of a few decent-sized cod being caught in the Dimboola area of the river but these reports haven’t as yet been confirmed.

April is usually the last month of good fishing for the natives in the river before winter but water temperatures are still pretty high so the good fishing may last a bit longer than usual this season. I sure hope so.

Lake Wartook

The rainbow trout are still going very well in Lake Wartook with most anglers taking some nice fish. I have had a lot of trouble getting mudeye for bait but trolling lures has been working well for me and is probably a bit more enjoyable than baitfishing anyway. The lures that have been working for me are Rapala Husky Jerks, Rapala minnow spoons, and Tassie Devil-style winged-lures in pink, brown or gold. I have taken a few rainbows on StumpJumpers as well.

A lot of redfin are being caught while trout fishing but their average size has been very small.

The brown trout here have been very quiet, just as they have for a few years now. It is hard to believe this lake has been stocked with up to 5000 brown trout a year for the last ten years because they have a low catch rate compared to the rainbows, of which only 2000 were stocked in a single year.

As we enter April the boat ramp is only just in the water, but luckily boats can still be launched with care as the ground is very solid behind the ramp.

Lake Bellfield

The fishing here has started to get better over the last few weeks with good catches of redfin and some very nice rainbow trout being caught. Most fishing is being done from small tinnies with electric motors trolling spinners, minnow lures and Tassie Devil-style lures around the lake edges early in the morning.

Recently while launching my boat here a local bank angler landed a good-sized redfin of about 400g, only to catch a good size rainbow of about 1.5kg a few minutes later. He was using scrubworms fished under a bubble float and reported catching many good rainbows over the last few weeks.

Electric motors are all that are allowed to push your boat on Lake Bellfield which makes things difficult on windy days - so choose your fishing days wisely unless bank fishing is more your thing.

Taylors Lake

The fishing in Taylors Lake has been very sporadic with the occasional golden perch and small Murray cod being caught, though some anglers have been getting some nice redfin when the natives have been sulking.

Most of the redfin are being caught on gudgeon and small Stumpjumper lures both cast and trolled. Once a school of redfin has been found, some good catches of fish of 1kg or more can be made.

Small boats can still be launched with care here but trolling for cod with bigger hard-bodied lures has been very frustrating due to the shallow and weedy water. Trolling spinnerbaits is probably a better option but the weed has still been very annoying. Baitfishing with yabbies in the good areas of the lake has also been difficult because the yabbies hide themselves in the weed. A paternoster rig is the way to go here at the moment to keep your bait up off the bottom a bit.

There are some very large cod in Taylors Lake but the low water levels seem to have given them a serious case of lock jaw.

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