Have rod, will travel!
  |  First Published: October 2007

Fishing in the Ballarat district has been fairly quiet following the start of the new trout season. Anglers were awaiting opening weekend with renewed optimism and hope of another successful year – however with the continuation of the drought, many anglers have been disappointed.

Many of the local waters have not been stocked by Fisheries during the winter months because of low water levels. As a result many anglers now have to travel at least an hour from Ballarat to have a chance of catching a fish.

Lake Fyans has been the shining light for many anglers. It has a good trout population and the fishing has not been affected by the low water level. Ballarat Fly Fishing Club members recently fished Fyans for a weekend, with excellent catches of brown trout being made on fly. Bruce Pipkorn, David Hearn and Jim Bambridge caught browns around 2kg, all on smelt fly imitations. The trout were in excellent condition.

The trout were feeding freely on smelt throughout the day. Trout were caught both from the shore and from boats drifting around the weed beds. The trout seemed to be using the weed beds for cover while waiting for a school of smelt to swim by. The amount of trout that we saw chasing smelt will see me return to Lake Fyans in the near future, especially when the mudeye and mayfly hatches start. It’s a place that is well worth keeping in mind for your next trip.

Ballarat Angling Club members fished Lake Purrumbete with mixed results. Only small boats are able to launch at the moment, but if we get some good rainfall the lake level will rise sufficiently to get bigger craft on. Brian and Barry Rogers have been fishing from their boat using mudeyes suspended under bubble floats and catching rainbow trout of around 900g. Meanwhile Brian Nyygaard has been catching beautifully conditioned brown trout from the shore on the southern end of the lake. Brian has also caught some redfin up to 1kg, also using the same method of suspending a mudeye under a bubble float drifting around the weed beds and along the drop-offs.

At Tullaroop Reservoir, Lance Keane has been landing brown trout up to 1.8kg, again fishing mudeye under a bubble float. Tullaroop should fish very well early in the morning and on dusk in the next couple of months. The trout are usually feeding on midge in the shallows.

Lakeside anglers fished Lake Wartook in the Grampians with mixed results. The only successful angler was Bill Middleton who caught two brown trout of around 1.4kg.

In the coming months I will be wetting a line in a variety of waters, including Purrumbete, Fyans, Bullen Merri, Wartook, Tullaroop and Hamilton lakes. None of these waters are especially close to Ballarat, but I think that they are the best waters available to local anglers. Nevertheless the local waters, despite their low water levels, should not be forgotten as many of them hold good populations of fish.

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