Bruising Bass and Browns
  |  First Published: February 2006

After the blast of hot weather at the beginning of January, we can expect more of the same this month. Hot weather should mean hot and still evenings, which in turn means good hatches.


Purrumbete has probably outfished Bullen Merri over the last month with plenty of browns between 1.5 and 2kg, taken by most methods. Early in January the fish began feeding heavily on small smelt resulting in fish moving all over the lake. Small rainbows were taken in big numbers and these fish were full of smelt. They will be stacking the weight on and should continue to be caught in good numbers through February.

We all like chasing big fish and the browns are sure to be there chasing smelt as well. But for the fly guys, the last bit of daylight should see some excellent fishing. A mudeye pattern around the weeds is a good way to go.

Bullen Merri

We are all holding our breath to see what happens with the Bullen Merri bass. Christmas and New Year didn’t quite turn out as expected. After the rush of bass in late December things dropped off with the best results going to those fishing flies slowly along the bottom.

But we’re still living in hope. Local tackle shops are well stocked with plastics, lipless lures and spinnerbaits so here’s hoping the warm water in February will turn on the bass again.

Meanwhile, Bullen Merri will still be worth fishing for Chinooks, browns and rainbows from the bank or a boat. Glassies and pillie fillets amongst a steady flow of berley from the boat, and mudeyes or bullheads under a float are good strategies. Glassies on the bottom for those fishing from the bank should see you amongst a few fish too.

Algal bloom has been a problem at Bullen Merri for the last couple of months but the fish seem to continue feeding even on the worst days.

West Barwon

The West Barwon Reservoir is low but has been good for rainbows and browns. Most of the fish have been taken on winged lures. For those using bait it’s hard to go past a mudeye under a float

Gellibrand River

The local rivers, especially the Gellibrand, will fish at its best in February for blackfish. The article on blackfish in the Yarra in the last VFM rings fairly true for the Gellibrand as well.

Muggy nights and yabbies for bait is a sure fire method to land a feed of these great tasting little natives. One tip for blackfish down this way; if you are fishing after dark try the shallow running water above a hole and you may be pleasantly surprised. Blackfish to 1.3kg are taken every year from this river.


Wurdibuloc has had some great hatches over the last month with some good fishing on dusk for both fly fishermen using beetle and mudeye patterns and bait anglers using mudeyes under floats.


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