Some hope in dry times
  |  First Published: June 2007

The fishing in the Ballarat district last month has almost been non-existent with very few anglers venturing out. This may be the result of our water levels but I urge all anglers not to give up hope – there are still plenty of fish to be caught and there is a lot less water between them.

The district catchments are down to approximately 10% capacity and despite recent rainfall all over the state, the rain still continues to avoid the Ballarat area.

Tullaroop Reservoir has been the most productive in the last month. Maryborough fly fisherman Brian Hughes has been fly fishing during the evening, walking the banks and waiting for fish to rise. For him, this has been met with mixed results with plenty of hook-ups and bust-offs but without a single land. The best baits, according to Brian, are caddis moths and midges from the surface.

I fished there the other day, with perfect overcast conditions yet I didn’t land any trout and, frustratingly, I lost one that was chasing smelt. Tullaroop in the next month should provide Ballarat anglers with excellent fishing, as smelt will be the main focus of the trout’s diet. The smelt move in around the shoreline to breed and the trout come in from the deeper water to feed on them. My suggestion to fly fishermen would be to use obvious smelt patterns and woolly buggers stripped quickly and for the lure fishermen to use minnow patterns and wobblers. One last thing to mention about Tullaroop: the banks are very muddy, so be careful.

Cosgroves Reservoir has been consistently producing fish with John Monteduro catching redfin up to 750g.

St Georges Lake at Creswick has just received a stocking of rainbow trout from the fisheries dept. Anglers have been catching these small rainbows up to 500g by fishing worms on the bottom or mud eye suspended under a bubble float.

Newlyn Reservoir again features in my angling report. With mixed results, Vern Barby fished Newlyn with no result, due partly to very dirty water. He did see fish chasing smelt.

Lake Esmond, a small lake in Ballarat, has been producing a few rainbow trout and in fact, my nephews Brayden, Nathan and niece Kirra Ward have been catching them on mud eye under a bubble float.

Lake Esmond’s success has been due to the fisheries program whereby small waters around community areas are annually stocked. This usually coincides with the school holiday period, and the fish that survive the holidays grow to very good sizes. In this regard, the Fisheries Department must be commended for their efforts in promoting fishing to children who are our future anglers.

We hope in the next few months that the rains come our way, but anglers should not give up hope as there are plenty of waters that do fish very well during the winter. A few suggestions holding good populations of trout and redfin are Talbot Reservoir at Evansford which is a very underrated fishery, Wombat Reservoir at Daylesford and just at our back door, Gong Gong Reservoir. Happy Fishing!

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