Plenty of variety in the west
  |  First Published: September 2007

Slowly, slowly. That’s how our lake levels are moving up. As I write this report we are getting another cold front that has brought about 6mm of rain. Yes, it is getting wetter, but as spring approaches a good downpour would help.

Local anglers who favour fishing for trout in rivers are in a much more fortunate situation this year than the lake anglers. Rivers and creeks in the area have been running good volumes of water for weeks.

Good flows in Mount Emu Creek over the last couple of months have cleaned out the floating weed that had clogged up large sections of this creek last summer and autumn. Although not much is heard about the Emu, it does hold big fish that readily take flies. One of the major reasons this stream is as good as it is, is that most anglers who fish here practice catch and release. This seems to be the norm here, so if you decide to give it a try, remember this is not a ‘put and take’ fishery, but a ‘take a photo and put back’ fishery.

The Gellibrand and Carlisle rivers, plus all the coastal streams, have also been on the receiving end of some good flushes of water. The trout in these streams should also be in tip-top condition at the opening of the season.

Now what is happening in the crater lakes? Purrumbete has risen a bit, and dinghies have been able to launch. Bigger boats are still not worth the effort. Results from those that have managed to launch boats have been fairly mixed. Brown trout to 2kg are taking lures either trolled or cast around the back of the weeds. Bibbed lures have been popular, as have plastics, and, of course, the best bait has been mudeyes.

Plenty of redfin are being taken by some of the dinghy fishermen, with bobbers and minnows doing the job.

Land-based anglers are still getting some nice fish. Plastics have worked well around the edge especially on the rougher days. Flyfishermen are still getting their share of trout too, with smelt patterns working well. It is expected that more fish will move into the shallows during spring, so smaller flies, nymphs, and stick caddis patterns will give better results.

Bullen Merri has changed a bit in the last month, with some reports of better fish beginning to feed closer to the surface. There are still some fish coming to those trolling deep, but the flat liners are now getting amongst some good browns too. The bite can be short, but if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, the results will be good. There seems to be plenty of small minnow about at present and as they grow and move closer in, the bank angling is sure to pick up.

Both West Barwon Dam and Wurdi Buloc Reservoir are rising at a steady rate. The fishing in both could be best described as consistent. Lures, plastics and baits are catching fish at the West Barwon, whereas flyfishermen seem to be getting more of the fish at Wurdi.

My advice if you are thinking about a trip this way in spring – and you are bringing your boat – would be best to give the caravan park at Purrumbete a call to check out the water level.

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