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Winter browns at Wartook
  |  First Published: July 2007



It’s been a cold and wet start to winter, which has been terrific for our waterways. We have had enough rainfall for run-off to enter lakes such as Wartook, Rocklands and Fyans, which is something that we haven’t seen for quite a while.

The long suffering Wimmera River is looking the healthiest I have seen it for a long time with most of the pools now linked up. The fishing seems to have improved in our trout waters since the rains, with good brown trout now coming from both Rocklands and Wartook. The browns had been quiet and sulky for some time but the rain has brought them out of hiding to feed around the rising lake margins.

Lake Wartook

This great lake is still fishing well for trout and a few big redfin are being taken as well. Last weekend, brown trout to 2.3kg, rainbow trout to 1.5kg and redfin to 1.6kg were caught, with the ever-reliable mudeye fished under a bubble float producing the best catches. Other baits that have been working include gudgeon, powerbait, scrubworms, peeled prawn and yabby tails. The area near the wall has been very productive for bait anglers fishing from both the bank and from boats. Early morning has been best.

The trollers have been getting some nice trout on Rapala Minnows, Tassie Devils and StumpJumpers, with most areas of the lake producing good fish, especially the timbered area behind the island.

The lake has been steadily rising over the last few weeks so the boat ramp is now back in the water, which is great.

There has been some good flyfishing up the north end of the lake in the newly flooded areas, with some very nice brown trout and a few rainbows being taken. The best flies have been Mrs Simpsons, Wooly Worms and my favourite the Weirs Ruffy. Most of the trout can be seen tailing and foraging in the shallows, particularly early in the morning. There has been a lot of trout chasing smelt, which are exciting to watch but often challenging to catch. Good flies for the trout chasing minnow here are the Bushys Horror, Mrs Simpsons and olive Wooly Matukas.

Lake Bellfield

This lake doesn’t receive a lot of fishing pressure compared to waters such as Wartook but the fishing has been pretty good lately. The hotspots have been anywhere the freshwater has been flowing in from the many small creeks that are now entering the lake. Rainbows to 1.5kg and a few redfin are being caught on scrubworms and mudeye, with early morning producing the best results. I haven’t heard of any browns being caught over the last month. When you get one here they are usually big wild trout, but they are very cunning and hard to catch.

With the lake slowly rising flyfishing the shallow lake margins should be good here using wet flies such as Mrs Simpsons and Wooly Worms.

Rocklands reservoir

Some good reports have been coming from this lake, mostly from the wall area. Anglers fishing the lake margins with mudeye and peeled yabby tail have been taking some very nice brown trout to 2.5kg, again mostly early in the mornings. Most of the trout have been chasing minnow around the shoreline making for some very exciting moments.

Flyfishing and lure casting would be well worth a try here for large smelting brown trout. When the trout are smelting, spoons such as the Old Pegrons and Rapala Minnow work very well, as do the good old Wonder Wobblers. The Rapala Husky Jerk also works well on the minnow chasers. I just cast it to where the latest surface disturbance was and slowly twitch it to imitate an injured baitfish.

Along with the trout, some nice redfin have been taken to around 1kg, mostly by anglers in small boats trolling lures such as StumpJumpers and small minnows.

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