Crater lakes erupt
  |  First Published: November 2007

After a long period of very little activity, Bullen Merri is starting to attract plenty of attention for both bank and boat anglers. From a lake that seemed to have lost its premier reputation, we are now seeing fish in the 3kg bracket mixed in with plenty of smaller fish.

Anglers fishing baits from the bank, and also those trolling the edges of the lake, are catching brown trout. Successful baits are varied, with the locally trapped bullheads being a standout for the bigger fish. Anglers are taking plenty of fish on Powerbait and glassies, with the southern shore the most popular area.

The sighting of fish feeding on the surface has been another encouraging sign. Whether this will result in increased action for the flyfishers remains to be seen. Remember this lake is very popular with waterskiers, so making the most of quieter times early in the mornings and in the evenings can be a very wise move.

Lake Purrumbete is still the site of plenty of angling action, although the low water levels are restricting the size of boats that can be launched. The eastern and northern shores of the lake continue to be the best areas for flyfishers hunting out the bigger brown trout. Insect activity on the surface will increase in the evenings over the next month, and, with a bit of luck, trout chasing schools of smelt will also make an appearance around the weed beds. The lake’s population of redfin will be another option as the warmer water fires them into action. Anglers using plastics will be well rewarded sitting over a school of reddies in the shallower water.

The Savage Boat Bullen Merri Classic was held October 6-7. Around 100 anglers weighed in 58 fish of over the 35cm minimum, from both Purrumbete and Bullen Merri. These fish included 30 rainbow trout from 750g–1.2kg, five browns 1.8–2.6kg and 23 Chinook salmon from 900g–2.9kg. The overall winner was G. MacGannon from Warburton, with a Chinook and four rainbow trout.  Junior winner was Austin Bungart.

The local rivers have started the season a little more slowly than expected, but the weather warms and the evenings lengthen, some excellent dry fly action will be had on Mount Emu Creek and Gellibrand River. For those contemplating fishing the small coastal streams of the Otway, get in this month as the influx of tourists next month will make the small fish in these streams very flighty.

For the diehard redfin fishermen, November is usually the best time for Lake Colac to produce, but with low water levels again this year we will have to wait and see if local redfin population comes on the bite.

West Barwon and Wurdibuloc reservoirs have both risen over the spring and are a good prospect for trout anglers. Wurdibuloc can even have a dun hatch when conditions are right, but for the fly anglers the beetle fall that occurs in the afternoons and some evenings at this time of year will be of greater interest.

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