Aiming for bigger browns
  |  First Published: June 2006

Bigger fish for Bullen Merri is what DPI Fisheries are aiming for. Well, that’s the explanation we’ve been given for the halved stocking rate this year.

There are always plenty of arguments about stocking rates and I know that our local lakes, Bullen Merri and Purrumbete, get their fair share of fish. And yes, 25,000 salmonids (trout and salmon) is quite a few fish for one lake.

Last year, Bullen Merri received 47,500 and produced fish over 5kg on a regular basis in spring. Now if Fisheries can get us bigger fish than that, then bring it on.

But, and there’s always a but, how much extra fishing pressure, due to the monster fish from last year and ongoing drought in other parts of the state, is this lake going to get? Where are the extra 22,500 fish going this year?

Regardless, the annual stocking regime has begun down our way with fish around 100g being distributed into our lakes and rivers. As is the case most years, many of these small fish will be harvested long before they get a chance to grow much bigger. Birds are the main offenders but fishermen also have a bit to answer for. If you start catching these little fish then cut them off and give them a chance to do what Fisheries intended – grow into monsters.

Bullen Merri

Fish wise, winter means some big browns at Bullen Merri. Anglers trolling and baitfishers wetting a line around the edges could be in for some real action as these monster browns get back into feeding mode in the cooler conditions.

The possibility of an early run of fish taking soft plastics will also see plenty of locals trying their luck during June for both Chinooks and browns.


Purrumbete will be closing soon for boat anglers but that won’t stop shore-based anglers, particularly the flyfishing fraternity, from pursuing good browns along the eastern shore when conditions permit.

Wurdi Boluc

Wurdiboluc is another fishery that’s worth investigating during winter with both rainbows and browns a possibility. Bait anglers using mudeyes will account for fish along the southern and eastern sides and flyfishers will be best served along the southern side.

Neil Slater reports that John Albrecht from the Torquay Angling Club enjoyed a good session on the redfin at Wurdiboluc recently. Casting soft plastics from the shore he managed two 600g redfin before hooking up to a 1.4kg beauty. He went on to catch another two, rounding out a productive afternoon out of the house.


Most of our rivers close to trout fishing in June (the exception is several sea-run fisheries along the west coast) but remain open to those chasing blackfish. The closed season for blackfish commences on 1 September, not far off when the riverine trout season gets going again.

Most anglers don’t chase blackfish at this time of the year because it is too cold to fish at night and fluctuating river heights aren’t really what blackfish like.

As I’ve said before, winter can be tough, but the rewards are there for those who persevere and tough it out, especially in our lakes!

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