With the current state of Victorian water levels, freshwater fishers have had to expand their horizons to find productive waters. Wurdee Boluc Reservoir is no oil painting, but it has become popular amongst land-based locals and day-trippers from Melbourne.
Wurdee Boluc Reservoir is 40km west of Geelong, 10km past Moriac on the Cape Otway Road.
The reservoir is primarily a water storage facility. After water has been treated at the plant, 230 million litres is supplied to Geelong, Anglesea, Torquay and the Bellarine Peninsula every day.
With a surface area of 564ha, a perimeter (at full capacity) of 9km and a maximum depth of 11m, all the ingredients are in place to support some beaut trout.
The State Rivers and Water Supply Commission originally constructed Wurdee Boluc in the 1930s by building earthen embankments around a natural depression.
In 1955 the Geelong Water Storage Trust increased its capacity to 19,000 megalitres. The Geelong District Water Board enlarged it again in 1991 to its current capacity.
Wurdee Boluc has good numbers of stocked trout and plenty of redfin. Trout of over 3kg and redfin approaching 2kg are taken from the reservoir each year along with the less popular eels, roach and tench.
Wurdee Boluc is a domestic water supply so boating, wading and berley aren’t permitted – it’s a land-based affair only. Cleaning of fish should be done at home, which is where all your rubbish should end up too.
The reservoir has a sign posted designated fishing area which stretches across most of the eastern and southern shores. Northerly and westerly winds can make fishing difficult in these areas so pick your days wisely. I tend to visit when it’s blowing lightly from the south or the east, or not at all.
The dam wall covers almost all of the eastern shore and consists of many stones, some large, some small and many that are loose and unstable. Extreme care should be taken because this terrain can make for some ankle and rod breaking trips down the wall to the water, especially if the water level is low.
Before the reservoir was enlarged in 1991, the authorities removed a few pine plantations to accommodate the wall. This left a few stumps for anglers to snag up on so take plenty of tackle with you.
The lake bed features several areas of thick weed. Some live bait, such as gudgeon, tend to bury themselves in the weed so it pays to use a float and check the bottom with a sinker before casting.
Summer sees a few snakes kicking about so wear long pants or gaiters for protection on the warmer days.
Mudeyes suspended beneath bubble float account for most trout captures. Live minnows fished deep are best for redfin and take plenty of trout too. Minnows are probably a good bet each way if you’re not fussed about which of the two species you take home.
I’ve had Wurdee Boluc redfin bite extremely lightly on occasions so it pays to keep a close eye on your gear when baitfishing.
Summer can see swarms of crickets and the odd grasshopper about so send the kids out to capture a few of these if they’re along for a day out with the parents.
Rig grasshoppers or crickets up unweighted if there’s an offshore breeze, or under a bubble float.
A big fat scrubworm will take just about anything here including the lake’s population of massive eels.
Go for a running sinker rig if there’s a bit of chop on the water or fish your baits unweighted with a long rod and light line to gain some extra casting distance.
Fish can be caught very close to the wall in low light conditions so long casts aren’t necessary all the time. They’re probably most important for lure casters looking to cover plenty of water.
The lake bed can have up to 30cm of weed growth on it so consider the use of a small cork as a stopper for your sinker. When fished with relatively slack line, the cork can float your bait up above the weed.
Bubble floats are real fish takers here because the trout often cruise about in the top metre or so of water. Small hooks around #10 or #12 are needed to allow mudeyes to swim freely.
When live baiting with minnows, go up a few hook sizes because I’ve had lots of fish fail to hook up after taking the bait. I prefer from #10 to #8 in a light gauge.
You can comfortably fish right down to 1kg line when float fishing, but as some areas are quite snaggy, fishing the bottom with ultra light gear can be a tad risky.
Despite first impressions, this lake fishes very well with the long wand. There are decent beetle and ant hatches in spring and early summer, and some killer smelters over winter and early spring.
Flyfishing from the rock wall can be tough because the rocks behind you hinder your cast and the ones at your feet tangle your line. A stripping basket will reduce the tangles and anglers skilled in the steeple cast will overcome the high wall behind.
The southern shoreline is mostly snag-free so if conditions permit, head there to ply your trade. First and last light can see some good smelters in winter. The best flies are any you can get in front of a smelter before they disappear. They aren’t too fussy, just fast!
After dark in early summer a big black muddler fished as a dry can bring cricket-munching surface trout undone.
Casting lures from Wurdee Boluc’s rock walls produces a lot of trout and redfin. The very best for casting are winged lures such as Tassie Devils and Lofty’s Cobras. They cast like bullets and cope well with any wind.
Minnow style lures are fine too as long as you can cast them far enough. Light line will help here but onshore winds can make it tough. Take a selection of winged lures just in case.
I’ve had most success on redfin by allowing lures to sink almost to the bottom before commencing my retrieve. Trout on the other hand seem to take lures at all depths.
Don’t leave any good ‘old’ lures in the bottom of your tackle box. Worthy fish are taken on silver Wobblers, green and gold Celtas and Pegron Tiger Minnows.
Soft plastic lures have been popular in recent times too. Anything resembling a baitfish brings interest from trout and redfin, although I’ve enjoyed most success on redfin with bright, single tailed grubs.
There is a small toilet block, rubbish bin, picnic tables, gravel car park and wheelchair access viewing platform at the main wall.
The main reserve gate is ‘officially open’ from 8am to 4pm, and 8am to 5pm on public holidays and weekends. Other access points are ‘side of the road’ parking with pedestrian-only gate access.
As far as Wurdee Boluc goes for a kid friendly venue, it is okay for those with sure footing, but give it a miss if they’re toddlers, or fish from the south shore where it’s a shallow sloping bank.
From Melbourne, take the Princes Highway to Geelong and follow the signs to Colac (stay on the highway through Geelong). Drive on until you come to Cape Otway Road, which is about 8km beyond (west) the last set of lights out of Geelong. Turn left here and drive through Moriac. Wurdee Boluc is about 10km further, on your right hand side.
For more detail about Wurdee Boluc and its access restrictions contact the Public Relations Branch, 61-67 Ryrie Street, Geelong ph. (03) 5226 2500.
Regulations are clear so please obey them.
The southern shore is fairly open for flyfishers.