Wimmera River Goldens and Catfish
  |  First Published: February 2006

The native fishing in the Wimmera was excellent over Christmas and the New Year break. Silver perch, big yellowbelly, a few cod and the ever abundant catfish were caught in good numbers. The Wimmera River produced some of the best fishing I’ve ever had for years.

In late December and early January we had numerous days topping 40, which seemed to really fire the natives up. Some excellent catches were made.

Wimmera River

This is definitely the pick of our waters with areas around riverside, Horsham, Polkemmet and Dimboola producing excellent fishing.

I’ve been fishing the river around Horsham most nights after work for some big yellowbelly to 3.6kg, heaps of catfish, a few silver perch and the occasional carp and redfin. I’ve also seen two small Murray cod between 40 and 50cm caught and released. These were taken on Hogback spinners near the big water area.

I’ve found that baitfishing with peeled yabby tail, worms and small yabbies has been most productive. The best time to fish has been about an hour before and an hour after dark. Lure fishing with StumpJumpers, spinnerbaits and Ondex and Hogback spinners has also been producing good yellowbelly and a few silvers, mainly around the riverside area where the water is quite clear.

Bank fishing is the go as the water levels are low in the river and it’s a bit hard to get a boat in. The boat ramps are in very poor condition, particularly at Horsham.

Taylors Lake

The fishing for redfin was has been very good with the best catches achieved using gudgeons and worms. The average size of these redfin has been between 400 and 800g. Fishing from boats and the bank has been working well.

The native fish anglers have been doing well at Taylors with yellowbelly to 1.5kg and a few small cod also caught. Small yabbies fished around the timber has been the best method.

There has been quite a few small cod between 30 and 45cm caught and released by yellowbelly anglers. A nice by-catch and a promising sign for the future.

The yellowbelly have been sporadic, which tends to be the case at Taylors for some reason.

I always take a bucket full of worms to fish for carp, which are very easily caught and help make the day go a bit quicker when the natives aren’t cooperating.

There have been many stories circulating around town recently of large cod being hooked on light gear while fishing for yellowbelly, only to be lost in the final stages. It would be well worth a serious fish at Taylors for some of these large cod, which are usually taken on yabbies and bardi grubs. The full moon period often produces the best fishing.

The lake is around half full and boats can easily be launched at the ramp.

McKenzie River

I did a lot of fishing in the McKenzie over the holiday break, particularly around the Wartook area.

I’ve taken most of my fish on Rapala minnows in the brown trout pattern and baitfishing with worms and mudeyes fished unweighted and drifted through each pool.

There are good numbers of small brown trout with a few larger fish around 1kg to be found in some of the better pools. There are also good numbers of redfin, with most between 300 and 600g. They provide some great fun on light gear.

Blackfish are also found in the McKenzie in good numbers and are easily caught on worms and mudeyes.

If you’re prepared to walk a bit then you can find some great water that’s seldom fished. There are plenty of little wild brown trout and redfin but watch out for the snakes.

Lake Fyans

The water is very low and the water temperatures have been quite high, which might cause a fish kill soon. I don’t recommend fishing Fyans during February.

Some redfin have been caught on gudgeon and spinners but the fishing has been pretty ordinary as the fish are a bit stressed.

Lake Wartook

There have been a few good brown trout to 1.7kg caught first thing in the morning on mudeyes fished under bubble floats but you do have to work pretty hard for the trout at this time of year.

There has been catches of redfin taken on gudgeon, yabbies and trolled lures but the average size of these fish has been a bit small with only the occasional keeper amongst them.

I would give this lake a miss for a month or so as it never really fishes that well over summer.

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