River Low But Fishing Well
  |  First Published: April 2006

Windy hot summer days and a lack of decent flows have seen the Wimmera River’s water level drop so low that the annual Horsham Fishing Competition had to be cancelled and all of the boat ramps are now high and dry.

The river still appears to be quite healthy in the Horsham to Wail area with fish biting well despite the low water. On the downside though, areas of the river near Drung, Jeparit and Antwerp are getting very salty and degraded and many of the once great river red gums are in a bad way. It desperately needs a good flush before it’s too late.

Wimmera River

The fishing in the river has been very good, with areas at Glenorchy, Horsham and Lower Norton well worth a try. Around Glenorchy, yellowbelly to nearly 6kg and redfin around 1kg have been caught recently on lures and bait. There has been a few small Murray cod taken too. Good lures have been small StumpJumpers, Codgers and spinnerbaits. Fluoro green has been a productive colour.

The Horsham area, particularly near the weir, has been fishing at its best. Yellowbelly to 4kg, Murray cod to 60cm, abundant catfish, a few redfin and some big carp have been caught. Baitfishing from late afternoon well into the night has been most productive, particularly with worms, yabbies and peeled yabby tails. Cheese is also worth a try for a cod. I lost a nice cod recently on cheese here.

At Lower Norton there have been some nice yellowbelly to nearly 3kg taken on lures cast at the snags, as well as a few catfish and redfin on bait.

April is normally a productive time to be fishing the Wimmera River because the water is quite clear and water temperatures about perfect.

Taylors Lake

This lake near Horsham is very popular and the action has been pretty good for some time. Fish from small boats or the bank – it doesn’t matter. The best times are always early in the morning or in the evenings.

Most anglers go after yellowbelly that have been taken to nearly 3kg lately. Most have fallen to yabbies and worms around the timbered areas. Some good redfin catches have been taken on gudgeons and worms with most reddies around the 500g mark.

Catches of good Murray cod have been scarce this season, but plenty of small cod between 40 and 50cm have been caught and released by anglers fishing for yellowbelly. There are plenty of large cod in this water but they’re very rarely fished for. Most decent size cod are hooked by anglers using light yellowbelly gear and the bulk are lost in the snags.

Lake Wartook

In early March access roads to Wartook were still fenced off while the roads are made safe again after the huge Grampians bushfires. Thus I have no recent fishing reports. April is a good month to target trout here if the roads open soon.

Fishing with mudeyes, peeled yabby tails and worms is worth a go off the wall. Trolling and flyfishing can also be excellent. I’ll be making a few trips to Wartook as soon as it’s possible so I’ll have more information in my May report.

Rocklands Reservoir

The water levels are still very low but there have been some good catches of redfin around the wall area, both from the shore and from small boats. Baitfishing with gudgeons and worms has been best with a few nice redfin to nearly 1kg taken. Many small redfin have been about as well and lots of carp.

The trout have been a bit quiet but should fire up soon. If you’re after a trout at Rocklands, it’s hard to go past the ever reliable minnow or mudeye fished below a bubble float.

Lake Bellfield

A lot of anglers have been fishing Bellfield recently, mostly targeting the stocked rainbow trout.

Most of the rainbows have been around 1kg with the occasional larger brown trout taken as well. Baitfishing with mudeyes and scrubworms from the bank has been most productive. A few fish have also been taken lure casting with small Rapalas and Celtas.

Let’s hope that the rainbow trout stockings continue at Bellfield. I believe they’ve been a huge success!

The redfin fishing has been good but their average size has been disappointing with most only just keepers. Gudgeons, worms and yabbies have been the best baits for the reddies.

Trolling from small boats with electric motors has also been good on the redfin and trout. Good lures to troll are small Rapalas, Tassie Devils and spinners but you’re only allowed to use an electric motor. Petrol motors are banned on Bellfield.

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