Welcome Back Wartook
  |  First Published: July 2006

Winter is definitely upon us and as a result of the cold conditions the fishing in the Wimmera River has really gone quiet, which is normal for this time of year.

The trout fishing in the Grampians streams has been excellent but now that the riverine closed season has commenced, they’re off limits for a while. In early June, anglers caught some excellent wild brown trout to nearly 2kg in the McKenzie River, near the falls, on lures along with a few nice redfin too.

Lake Wartook

There isn’t a lot of choice for Wimmera trout enthusiasts given the riverine closed season and the netting of Lake Fyans, but thankfully the fishing has remained very good at Wartook.

Some excellent brown trout have been taken and in good numbers. It seems the closure of the lake for a couple of months after the Grampians fires might have done the fishing a lot of good with some of the best trout fishing that I can remember.

Good trout to nearly 2.5kg have been taken right across the lake, which is about half full. The wall and island areas have produced the best action for bait anglers, fishing either mudeyes under bubble floats or unweighted peeled yabby tails from the bank or from boats.

In previous seasons I have always found the best fishing here to be from sunrise until about midday, but this year the good fishing seems to start around midday and go right through the afternoon.

Anglers have also been taking good brown trout by trolling Rapala minnow spoons and Tassie Devil lures, especially up the north end of the lake. The best lure colours seem to be orange, brown or gold.

The redfin fishing at Wartook is still very quiet but that doesn’t matter when the trout have been going as well as they have.

Taylors Lake

The fishing always slows down here over the colder months but some good catches of redfin have been taken from the shore and from small boats.

Baitfishing has been most productive with whitebait, gudgeons and worms doing well on the reddies. A few small Murray cod have been taken as well. Not many yellowbelly have been seen, which is pretty normal for this time of year.

The carp are still pretty active, especially in the shallower areas towards the highway. They are easily taken on worms and can provide a lot of fun when not much else is biting.

The inlet channel area can be a hot spot at this time of year. Whenever it starts putting fresh water into the lake, it is an area well worth checking out. It can produce yellowbelly, cod, redfin and even trout. Scrubworms and lures do very well here.

Rocklands Reservoir

There hasn’t been much in the way of fishing reports coming from Rocklands as the lake is very low. Some redfin have been taken on gudgeons and worms but the average size has been small.

The larger redfin are usually caught here in winter so I wouldn’t write this place off just yet. And the trout should start to fire up here soon – the cold weather seems to really get them moving up top.

If you’re after the large redfin and big browns then trolling from a small boat would be the best method going by last winters fishing. Tassie Devils, StumpJumpers and Rapala minnows are proven fish takers at Rocklands for anglers willing to put in a bit of time and effort for the big fish, which are mostly amongst the abundant timber.

Baitfishing with mudeyes and minnows under bubble floats can also produce big trout at this time of year, especially at the wall early in the mornings.

Boat launching is still possible at the wall but small tinnies are recommended due to the low water.

Lake Bellfield

This lake is now very low making small boat fishing nearly impossible. Bank anglers are still taking a few fish though.

Most of the redfin have been very small and not worth the effort but a few trout have been taken. The rainbows are the dominant fish at present but a few browns have also been about. The rainbows aren’t overly big but are about in good numbers. Baitfishing with glassies and PowerBait have been best for the rainbows with the browns being suckers for well presented scrubbies, mudeyes or peeled yabby tails.

The browns can be quite big in Bellfield but they’re very cunning, wild fish, making for exciting but often frustrating angling. They don’t get big by being stupid and they sure see a lot of tourists trying to catch them.

Fishing very early in the morning, in the evening and after dark is best if you’re after one of the big browns. Some good blackfish are also taken from Bellfield after dark on worms and can be quite a good size at times.

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