Trout starting to feed on baitfish
  |  First Published: April 2005

A few of the Ballarat Lakes are starting to see trout chase and feed on the baitfish population as the lakes begin to cool down. With the added resurgence of the mayfly, autumn is looking good for freshwater anglers.


Some anglers are reporting that big trout are starting to chase this lake’s local smelt population and a few have had success with Tom Jones flies worked with a constant medium retrieve.

Most trout taken have weighed in around 1-2lb, but a few bigger fish have been missed. It’s still early days with the action normally extending through autumn and into the colder months. A few mayfly duns have also been seen, but not in the numbers required to interest trout. Bait fishermen have had the most success catching redfin on earthworms and the odd trout on mudeyes.


The fishing on Hepburn has really been up and down and seems to have slowed down from last month’s report. A few bait fishermen have taken redfin and tench on earthworms and scrubbies.

May should see a small mayfly hatch, but with the pervious low summer water levels, anything could have happened to the insect life. Let’s just hope that all is well.


Reports indicate that this small lake in Ballarat is fishing well to bait anglers who are using earthworms and scrubbies on the bottom and drifting mudeyes under a bubble float.

Fly fishermen have observed a few trout smelting around the edges, but they’re hard to deceive. The best fly patterns have been small Tom Jones and Bag flies, while the best area is along the southern shoreline.


Reports from this lake have indicated that bait fishing with mudeyes under a float is taking some nice brown trout up to 1kg. With the same sized trout being taken by flyfishermen who are slowly retrieving Stick Caddis flies and blind searching with size 10, olive green Woolly Buggers. The best areas on the lake have been along the western and eastern shorelines.

Harcourt Reservoir

Reports have been filtering in about nice trout being caught throughout the month with some weighing up to 2.5lb. I went to Harcourt Reservoir recently and found the lake’s water level a lot higher, with bright and sunny weather conditions. Weather like this, at this time of the year sapped my confidence from the word go, and after working a number of fly patterns, I didn’t receive a touch let alone see a trout. However, the weather conditions weren’t right, so don’t disregard this lake just yet.


The water level of Malmsbury is well and truly up with the recent good rainfall. Water is just starting to enter the eastern bay. The southern bay at Portwine Road is now reaching the halfway mark, with the fishing a bit up and down and very dependent on the weather conditions.

On my last trip there the conditions were bright and sunny and nothing happened until the last hour of light when the odd small trout was found rising to some unseen insects.

The water is covering new ground, which means there will be smorgasbord of insects. Another advantage is being able to wade long distances around the bay.


The lake is fishing well for small, newly released trout and small redfin. The best methods have been earthworms and scrubbies fished on the bottom and mudeyes fished on the top under bubble or quill floats. The best fishing area has been along the western shoreline.


Best Flies

Nymphs - Size 12/10 gold bead head nymphs, weighted flashback nymphs, pheasant tail nymphs, weighted black seal fur nymphs, brown seal fur nymphs.

Caddis - Elk hair caddis, Goddard caddis, Creel Caddis.

Mayfly - Size 18/16 Rusty brown Para Duns, Pale morning duns, Iron blue duns, Size 16 red and black spinners.

Wet flies - Size 10 l/s Clouser Minnows, size 10/8 Matukas, Woolly Buggers, Damsel Nymphs.

Termites- Yellow flying ant, yellow deer hair ant

Grasshoppers Nobby Hoppers, Latex Hoppers, Banjo Hoppers

Best Bait






Best Lures

Tassie Devils Gold winged - 89, 82, S12, Lazer Lures, Min Min lures, Wee Wobblers, Strike Pro Pygmy-205/ 71, Raider 10 and Maniac 7 and Tassie Devils - No 63/ 6/ 38, Stumpjumper- Frog 25

Best SoftPlastics

Glitter Minnows, Nippers, Swim Minnows, Power Frogs, Floating frogs, Atomic Grubs, Long Tail Minnows, Wriggle Tails, Bullheads, Squiggy fish.

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