Ripper Redfin at Taylors
  |  First Published: May 2006

It’s been a dry start to the year and our water storages are holding a combined level of only 6.8%. This is about half of what they had in them at this time last year.

The Wimmera River is also low. In places around Horsham you can walk across it and large sandy islands are appearing at many of my favourite spots.

Two of our Grampians lakes with good water levels remain closed despite several months passing since the bushfires. Keeping Wartook and Moora Moora shut for so long is causing problems for many tourism dependent businesses in the area.

Normally, at this time of year, we’re used to enjoying some of the best trout fishing Victoria has to offer. But with low water levels, netted lakes and these closures, most keen Wimmera anglers are making trips elsewhere to the coast or the Murray River.

Wimmera River

Despite the low water level the fishing has been good in the river around Glenorchy, Riverside, Horsham and Dimboola.

Baitfishing with worms and yabbies has been best with good numbers of catfish, a few big yellowbelly, carp and a few Murray cod taken. The weir area at Horsham seems to be producing the better fishing with a big 3.8kg yellowbelly taken on a StumpJumper lure. A few Murray cod around 50cm have also been taken from the weir area with yabbies and cheese the best baits.

The afternoons and evenings have been producing the best fishing but early in the morning is also worth a try. The water is quite clear at this time of year, which can make for some excellent lure fishing. Spinnerbaits, Ondex spinners and StumpJumpers will all take fish.

All of the boat ramps in the river are unusable because of the low water level but bank fishing access is very good.

Taylors Lake

Taylors is around half full and small boats can still be launched at the ramp. The fishing has been good with nice redfin taken on gudgeon and worms from the bank and boats. It doesn’t really matter what time of the day you chase reddies at Taylors – just keep moving around until you find a school.

A few Murray cod have been caught recently with a 6kg fish taken on a lure in late March. Many smaller cod of around 40 to 50cm have been caught on bait. I haven’t heard of any really large cod taken from Taylors this year but I know they’re in there!

The yellowbelly fishing has been sporadic with only a handful of yellas taken on gudgeon and yabbies, mostly by anglers targeting redfin.

Lake Wartook

May is a great month to be fishing Wartook but, as of early April, the lake remains closed. If she is opened by May then fishing from boats or off the wall with mudeyes or peeled yabby tails will work well for brown trout. The water level is around half full, which is still very good up in these parts.

Rocklands Reservoir

There have been plenty of people fishing Rocklands between duck shooting sessions. A few good redfin to 1kg have been caught. Trolling with lures and baitfishing with gudgeon has been good but the small redfin have been a nuisance.

A few decent brown trout to 2kg have been caught near the wall on gudgeon and minnow. They should really start to fire up as the days get cooler.

Small boats can still be launched with care.

Lake Bellfield

I’ve been doing a bit of fishing at Bellfield lately and have caught some nice rainbows to 1.5kg on mudeyes and minnows fished under bubble floats. PowerBait on the bottom has also yielded fish.

The early mornings have produced the best fishing with sunrise the prime time. Small redfin are abundant and can get annoying, which is usually when I start using PowerBait.

Flyfishing with minnow patterns and Mrs Simpsons should be very good in May because the trout will have been feeding heavily on minnow around the lake edges at first light and in the evenings.

The lake is very low and bank fishing is really the best option.

McKenzie River

The river below Wartook and around the falls area was hit pretty hard during the fires but the fish seem to be doing alright. With the lack of cover around the water (for anglers to hide behind), the fish are now a lot harder to catch.

The brown trout average around 500g but some pools contain much larger fish. Blackfish and redfin are also present.

Lure casting with small lures such as Rapalas is productive in the McKenzie. Drifting baits, such as mudeyes or worms, down the runs is a good strategy. The further you’re prepared to walk away from the main parking areas, the better the fishing will get.

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