Spring redfin providing plenty of action
  |  First Published: October 2007

I have been traveling far and wide to find good fishing lately as things had been a bit quiet in the Wimmera. After a bit of extra driving and prospecting, I found some excellent fishing in the Western District waters of the Wannon River and Lake Hamilton.

Wannon River

In the stretch of river between Cavendish and Hamilton, the redfin fishing has been excellent. I just walk the banks casting lures such as StumpJumpers and Rapalas at the many snags. The average size is around 800g, with fish to 1.8kg also present here. They have been in excellent condition, hard fighting and excellent eating. The fish bite throughout the day, but early morning has been best.

There are many access roads and tracks, most leading right to the water’s edge. A light spin rod and a backpack is all that is required for a morning’s fishing here. Once found, the redfin can usually be caught in good numbers.

The river also contains golden perch, tench, blackfish, a few trout and even some Macquarie perch, which must be released unharmed as they have a very small self-supporting population here.

Lake Wartook

The fishing at Lake Wartook is still a bit quiet, but a few brown trout to 1.7kg have been taken on mudeyes, and by flyfishers. The early morning has been the best time, though a lot of anglers are still going home fishless from here at the moment. Even the redfin have been quiet. The Horsham Angling Club recently had a two-day competition here in good weather conditions, but catches were very disappointing. The anglers in this club really know the lake, and how to fish it, so lack of skill wasn’t the problem.

Anglers visiting this water should take a good book and a thermos full of coffee, as the fishing is best described as slow. It has been that way for some time now, which is unusual as it used to fire at this time of year. The water levels are good, there is plenty of feed and the water quality is excellent, but the trout just aren’t here in the numbers needed to produce decent fishing. It seems the last few years’ brown trout stockings here were not successful. The rainbows that were stocked here last year are not showing up in angler’s catches any more either.

Mckenzie RiveR

I fished here near Zumsteins on trout opening day for a few hours, walking the banks casting small Rapala lures. I caught 3 nice brown trout to 35cm and a redfin. I also caught a few small blackfish on worms. All fish were released. The average size of trout here is 30–40cm, with larger fish to 1.5kg being caught occasionally.

The McKenzie River is a great little water that runs out of Lake Wartook and eventually joins the Wimmera River. It contains abundant river blackfish, redfin and a small self-supporting population of brown trout. As with most small waters, catch and release is really the only responsible way to fish this water if it is to continue fishing well. Lure casting is my preferred way to fish, but drifting baits such as mudeye and worms down the runs also works well, particularly on the blackfish.

Lake Hamilton

I have been doing a lot of fishing at Lake Hamilton lately and am very impressed by the excellent redfin and trout fishing available at this water. Baitfishing with mudeyes under bubble floats has been working well for me, producing a few redfin around 500g, rainbows to 1.5kg and ripper brown trout to 2.2kg. Casting small lures and spinners from a drifting boat also works very well here. Lures such as Rapala CD5s, and spinners such as Celtas, Vibrax and Jensen Insects are top producers at this water.

The fish here bite throughout the day, which is great as boats can’t be launched until 10am. Don’t forget you can only put a boat on the water here on an odd-numbered calendar day.

Bank fishing isn’t restricted here and the wall area has good deep water within an easy cast. Flyfishing is also very good here and produces many large trophy trout.

This great lake is a real credit to the Hamilton Council and Fisheries. It is terrific fish a waterway with such good facilities, as well as its well-kept amenities and shoreline. This lake has been stocked well and managed properly, and the result is a magnificent trophy trout fishery bringing money to the town from many visiting trout anglers.

Taylors Lake

Many anglers have been fishing Taylors Lake lately and catching carp to nearly 4 kg, redfin around 500g and a few golden perch to 2kg. With the water very muddy, baitfishing has been best, and baits such as worms, yabbies and gudgeon are doing the damage. The boat ramp is out of the water, but small tinnies can still be launched with care. This lake will start to fish very well as we head toward summer.

This lake is close to Horsham and is very popular with both local and visiting anglers. Being well known as a superb mixed fishery for native and introduced fish, it is one of the few lakes we have left that holds enough water for good boating and fishing summer after summer. Unfortunately the native fishery here is now in a bit of trouble as the lake was not stocked the last two seasons, and is going to miss out next season too. If we are to have any sort of native fishery here in the future it is extremely important for anglers to be practising catch and release here.

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