Natives in Full Swing
  |  First Published: December 2005

With the days now longer and much warmer, many local and visiting anglers have been out and about on our waterways, with some excellent fishing reported. Native fish such as yellowbelly, silver perch and catfish have been very active along with the occasional report of Murray cod caught and lost.

The trout fishing usually slows down a bit at this time of year, but a few good trout can still be taken, particularly if you fish at first and last light or after dark.

The redfin seem to be making a bit of a comeback and have been active in many of our waters.

Wimmera River

The fishing in the Wimmera River has been excellent. The most productive spots have been all the main areas from the Big Water, just out of Horsham, right through to the weir at Dimboola.

Most of the action at the moment is for those walking the banks and casting lures such as StumpJumpers, spinnerbaits and Ondex spinners, particularly at Horsham. Yellowbelly to 3kg have been around along with a few silver perch to 2kg. Most redfin have been around 500g with an excellent 1.5kg specimen taken near Dimboola recently.

Bait anglers are also getting some good fish in the river with catfish caught in good numbers on worms and peeled yabby tails. Catfish can be caught during the day, but after dark on a full moon, produces the best catches. The Dimboola area is best for bigger than average fish.

There have been reports of undersize to 55cm Murray cod in the Horsham area by anglers using yabbies for bait while pursuing yellowbelly. There was a ‘one that got away’ story circulating town of a 10kg plus cod repeatedly hooked and lost near the caravan park. No one has been lucky enough to land it yet.

Taylors Lake

The fishing here has been getting better every month at Taylors. Yellowbelly and redfin have been the main fish caught recently with baits such as yabbies and worms doing well fished around the snags.

The carp don’t seem as numerous here compared to past seasons, but there are still plenty of them getting caught on worms.

The Murray cod have been a bit quiet although the lake has a good population of them. Fish to nearly 20kg were caught last summer. There’s no doubt that a few trophy size cod will be caught at Taylors this summer. Hopefully most will be released to fight another day.

If you’re after a cod, baitfishing with yabbies and bardi grubs is well worth a try, particularly over the full moon period. Lure fishing with StumpJumpers, Codgers and spinnerbaits is also becoming more popular and it seems that the bigger than average yellowbelly and Murray cod every season are all taken by lure anglers.

I’ve been spending a bit of time fishing the Taylors Lake inlet and outlet channels for good redfin and a few nice yellowbelly on worms, yabbies and lures. I recently hooked a good yellowbelly of around 2kg on a StumpJumper only to lose the fish while trying to land it. A few casts later I hooked a large fish that I’m sure was a Murray cod, only to be busted off as the fish made a powerful run over a rocky outcrop.

Lake Bellfield

This beautiful lake just out of Halls Gap has been producing some good redfin fishing with a few nice rainbow trout up to nearly a kilo also caught. The majority of redfin are small, averaging between 300 and 500g. Their abundance makes up for their small size. Baitfishing with gudgeon and worms has been taking good bags of reddies, as has casting or trolling small minnow lures and spinners.

Now that the warm weather is upon us, it’d be well worth trying for a few blackfish. Use worms fished under a float from the bank after dark. The blackfish are generally small, around 20cm, but there are some larger ones around 500g about.

Most of the trout have been caught early in the mornings with mudeyes under bubble float rigs.

Lake Wartook

In early December there were some big browns to 2.2kg taken on mudeyes fished under bubble floats. Hot summer days though will probably see the trout fishing die off a bit at Wartook in January.

If you’re keen on getting a Wartook trout then fish at first and last light, or after dark. If fishing after dark you may also be lucky enough to catch a few blackfish, which can be taken on worms and mudeyes.

The redfin fishing has been getting better with a few good fish between 300 and 600g taking trolled lures such as StumpJumpers, Rapala minnows and cast soft plastics from the bank. Baitfishing from the bank or from a drifting boat would be well worth a try if you’re chasing a few redfin for the table. The best baits for the reddies are gudgeon, worms and small yabbies.

Rocklands Reservoir

A lot of anglers have been fishing Rocklands near the wall. Some good redfin to 1.5kg have been taken but small redfin have been a bit of a nuisance of late. Trolling with lures has been the best way to target the better size redfin with pink StumpJumpers and Ondex spinners productive at times.

Drifting with gudgeon and small yabbies has also been working well, but take plenty of bait with you as the small fish will keep you very busy. The occasional good brown trout has also been caught while fishing for the redfin along with a few big carp too.

Small boats can still be launched at the wall area and some good bank fishing spots can be found here as well.

Glenelg River

The redfin reports coming from this river have been very good with Cherrypool, Fulhams and Harrow producing numbers of good redfin averaging 500g. Baitfishing with gudgeon and worms has been good with a few also being taken on spinners.

Along with the redfin, blackfish, tench and tupong can be caught in this river. Then there are the yabbies as well. I’ve also heard of some quite large yellowbelly taken near Harrow by anglers fishing for redfin. I wasn’t aware they’d been stocked into the river, although maybe they’re escapees from local farm dams further up the catchment.

McKenzie River

This little river flowing from Lake Wartook can produce some great trout fishing for small to medium size browns in summer, as well as a few redfin and blackfish.

The average size of the trout is usually small, between 300 and 500g, with a few larger fish found from time to time. They can be very cunning and won’t take a lure if they’ve seen you first.

If targeting trout, the best method is to walk from pool to pool casting spinners, small minnow lures and soft plastics. Flyfishing also works well at times, but can be difficult due to the overhanging bushes that hamper casts.

Drifting baits through each pool with unweighted worms and mudeyes also works well. Some good blackfish can also be caught in the McKenzie using this method.

Good areas to start exploring this river are between Zumsteins and McKenzie Falls, and also near the old mill down Smiths Road on the way to Lake Wartook.

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