Spring fishing options in the Wimmera
  |  First Published: September 2007

The start of spring is a great time to be out fishing in the Wimmera region. At this time of year we have a few more options besides trout, which were really the only species on the go over the colder months.

Over the next few weeks the redfin, catfish, golden perch, silver perch and even carp will start to become more active, which is great as the trout fishing has been a bit inconsistent of late. Our waters are starting to look a lot better after the great rains we have been getting. Lakes such as Bellfield, Fyans, Taylors, Wartook and Rocklands, and even Lake Lonsdale, have received some very good inflows.

There should be some good yabbies to be taken at Lake Lonsdale this month too, as there is plenty of water there at the moment and the these tasty crustaceans always fire up when the lake has just received water after being dry. I will definitely be chasing a feed over the next few weeks.

Lake Wartook

The fishing at Lake Wartook has been on and off since mid-June, with a few large brown trout being taken along with the occasional rainbow trout. Trolling with Tassie Devils has produced the best fishing but it has taken many hours work for small rewards. A few trout are also being taken on mudeye, scrubworms and peeled yabby tail, but the action has been very slow.

Interestingly, brown trout under 1kg have been a very rare catch here over the last couple seasons, which suggests the last two years’ brown trout liberations were a failure, or simply too few trout were released. Only time will tell on this one.

A recent flyfishing competition here produced a few nice brown trout to 1.7kg, but for the amount of anglers fishing and the hours put in over two days, the return was very poor (see also Shane Stevens report from Ballarat – Ed.).

Maybe now that spring is here and the water will warm up a little, the fishing will improve. Let’s hope so as this has been the Wimmera’s best trout water the last couple seasons.

The Wimmera River

The Wimmera River is starting to look good again after the rain and a few fish are being caught. The weir area has been fishing well for bait anglers, who are catching a redfin, carp, small silver perch and the occasional golden perch. The catfish are still a bit quiet but it won’t be long until they are also on the go again. Worms have been the best bait, but yabbies would also be worth a try. The fishing here will get better and better as we head toward summer. Don’t forget to let any accidentally caught Murray cod go as the season is now closed.

Taylors Lake

This lake has been receiving some good run-off from the Wimmera River, which has boosted the water levels nicely. Let’s hope the water actually stays in the lake for a while this year. Spring is a good time to be fishing this water for redfin, a few golden perch and the ever-present carp. Bank fishing and boat fishing are both productive options here, particularly around the timbered areas.

With the water being a bit dirty now, baitfishing with worms, yabbies or gudgeon will be the best option to get a few fish. The redfin average around 500g, but the odd larger fish is often caught. The reddies are usually in schools, so can be caught in good numbers at times.

The golden perch are getting fewer in number here each year as they haven’t been stocked for a few seasons because of low water levels. Catch and release is the way to go if we are still to have a golden perch fishery here. The average golden perch is around 1kg but there are some real thumpers present to nearly 4kg, so be prepared for them.

As with the Wimmera River, remember it is now closed season for Murray cod, so they must be left alone and quickly released if caught by accident.

Lake Fyans

The water levels have risen enough for small boats to be launched on Lake Fyans again. There has been a few redfin to 1kg taken here recently by anglers trolling Ondex spinners and small minnow lures. Drifting with baits of gudgeon and minnow has also produced some nice reddies. Maybe if we are lucky we may even see trout being stocked here again, now that water levels are good – fingers crossed on that one!

I have heard unconfirmed reports of a few large trout being taken here. I guess I will just have to go there and find out for myself, because if there are trout still in here they will be very large by now. Let me at em’!

Rocklands Reservoir

With recent trout trips to Wartook being disappointing, many anglers are now coming to Rocklands for their trout fishing, and it hasn’t been too bad either. Around the wall area some nice brown trout to 2kg have been caught recently, mostly by casting lures from the shore. The lures that are doing the damage include Tassie Devils, Pegron spoons and Rapala Minnow spoons. Baits of mudeye, minnow and worms have also produced a few nice trout, along with the occasional good-sized redfin.

Recently I fished here and noticed many trout chasing minnow along the shoreline not far from the wall. A few quick casts with a spoon and I was fighting a beautiful brown trout that leapt all over the place, while more trout were still chasing minnow all around me. It sure was exciting stuff!

Now the warmer weather is here the redfin should start to fire up at Rocklands again. Trolling minnow lures or baitfishing with gudgeon works best on the reddies here and good catches are always reported at this time of year.

Natimuk Lake
Recent reports about Natimuk Lake have caused a lot of excitement amongst anglers and I have been asked why I haven’t reported about this water lately. Unfortunately Natimuk Lake is still dry with only a few puddles near the inlet area (although the inlet creek has started to run a little bit). We still need a lot more rain to see any fish being able to swim in Natimuk again - maybe next year!
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