Western District redfin fire!
  |  First Published: November 2007

The fishing in and around Horsham has been a bit inconsistent lately, so when I have been lucky enough to earn enough brownie points for a days’ fishing, I have been traveling to the Western District waters of Lake Hamilton and the Wannon River. I these waters I can be pretty confident of good fishing results.

Most of my local waters, in contrast, are really suffering from low water levels, poor fish stockings and difficult boat access. Nevertheless good fishing can still be found in the Wimmera if you are prepared to put in the time and effort. The native fishing has been a little quiet, but a couple weeks of hot weather is all we need to get the native fishing in full swing again.

Wannon River

I have been having a lot of fun fishing this river lately, around the Cavendish to Coleraine area. There are good redfin to be caught here and lures such as small StumpJumpers, Rapalas and spinners have been producing redfin to nearly 1.8kg, as well as the occasional brown trout. A few golden perch are also present in this water.

The fish bite well right throughout the day, but early morning has been best. I have tried a bit of bait fishing here but it wasn’t as productive as walking the banks casting lures. Good shoes, a backpack full of lures and a good lure de-snagger are all that is required for a good day’s fishing on this productive river.

Be very wary of snakes here as I have already seen a number of them. Don’t forget to take a pressure bandage just in case.

Lake Hamilton

This lake has been fishing very well for redfin, which average around 400g. Some very nice trout to 2kg are being caught here as well. All methods of trout fishing work well here, but most of the better fish are taking mudeyes fished under bubble floats, particularly in the mornings and evenings. Lure casting from the shoreline is very good here at the moment, with Tassie Devils, Pegron spoons and Celtas producing some very nice fish.

I still find it hard to believe just how good the fishing is here, right in the middle of a city. I have made many trips here over the last month and never been disappointed. Don’t forget you can only use a boat here on odd numbered calendar days, after 10 am.

The bank fishing can be good right around the whole lake, but the deeper spots are near the wall.

Lake Wartook

There has been a few nice brown trout to 1.8kg caught in Lake Wartook on mudeye and trolled pink Tassie Devil lures, but is has been very inconsistent. This lake usually fishes very well in spring, but so far this year the fishing has been well below average. The majority of anglers fishing this water are leaving the place empty handed and disappointed, but it hasn’t all been bad – you just have to work a bit harder to get results here at the moment. Low stocking levels and high fishing pressure have definitely taken their toll on this water.

Fly anglers have been getting a few small rainbow trout and the odd larger brown on small wet flies such as Mrs Simpsons fished slowly near any structure along the shoreline. A few small redfin have also been taken. To have the best chance of some good fishing it is important to fish in the mornings and evenings, and try to pick a day with a steady or rising barometer. There are some big browns in here but they haven’t been coming easy.

Police paddock dams

The fishing in the Police Paddock Dams at Horsham North has been pretty good for small rainbow trout, a few good-sized redfin, and tench. The water has been very dirty so bait fishing has been best. Worms, gudgeon, corn and Powerbait fished under a small float has worked well.

This is a great safe place to take children fishing with a good chance of catching one of the many rainbow trout that are stocked here each September school holidays.

Wimmera River

Fishing in the Wimmera River has been a little on the quiet side. We need a few weeks of hot weather to really stir the natives into action here. There have been a few reports of large golden perch of around 3kg being taken near the Horsham Showgrounds on worms, and a few catfish have also been caught. The water is very dirty so bait fishing with worms and yabby tails is still the best option. I think that as we head toward summer the fishing will get better here.

Taylors Lake

The fishing has been a bit on and off in Taylors Lake, which is normal while water is being taken out of the lake. The lake’s level has been dropping a fair bit each week, which always puts the golden perch off the bite and has made boat launching a bit difficult. A lot of carp are being taken on worms, along with a few nice redfin to 500g. The occasional golden perch has been taken on worms and yabbies. There have also been reports of small Murray cod being caught and released here recently by anglers fishing for redfin. With the poor native fish stockings here over the last few years it is important that all native fish are carefully caught and released so this native fishery will last into the future.

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