Chinook to 3.5kg
  |  First Published: June 2005

G'day all, I’m filling in for Steve this month so here's a bit of a roundup of local news. It’s a magic time in the southwest, particularly for trout anglers over the next few months. The local waters will cool and the fish will really get on the chew!

For trout enthusiasts, the southwest lakes and rivers begin to fire as the water temperature drops below 15 degrees Celsius. The cold winter mornings create ideal conditions for surface smelting trout, a great visual experience for anglers fishing from the boat or shore. At the time of writing, there has been little rain, so the lakes are a great option as the trout season draws to a close in local rivers. If you want to make the most of the couple of weeks of open season left in the rivers, then Otway rivers such as the Aire and Gellibrand will produce some quality fish for lure casters.

Remember that the closed season for salmonids in 2005 is from midnight on the 13th June to midnight on the 2nd September 2005. During this time anglers may not take or possess trout or salmon in rivers or streams and some lakes. Although the majority of lakes in the southwest remain open, Lake Purrumbete is closed to salmonid fishing from boats during the closed season period. Fishing for salmonids from the shore, however, is permitted.

Lake Bullen Merri
Bait fisherman have been doing well from the shore using live gudgeon or galaxias at night. Chinook salmon to 3.5kg have been taken by bank anglers fishing from the south shore. The excellent baitfishing for Chinooks has slowed a little but as we move into early winter the larger salmon will start to move around the edges in a futile attempt to spawn. So go prepared, as an aggressive trophy fish may be on the cards. Try pilchard fillet, whitebait, glassies or live baits to lure a big one.
The brownies are only just starting to move and are in good condition. The fishing will improve into the winter months. Plenty of rainbows averaging about a kilo are also on offer and anglers have taken them trolling using Tassies, Cobras and Power Bait fished from the shore. Reports of bass captures have been few and far between, but that doesn't mean they're not there for those that target them.
Lake Purrumbete

There have been plenty of redfin caught lately with fish to 500g quite common. These have been taken around the weedy edges in the morning and afternoons on baits and soft plastics. One session an angler had a couple of weeks ago resulted on double hook-ups on each cast for half and hour. The redfin were in the 300-500g range. Some good brownies have also been taken with fish to 2.8kg landed in the mornings and evenings. The rainbows are smaller than the Bullen Merri average but are in good condition.

Other lakes

Lake Modewarre is best given a miss as it has had some fish kills of late and you are better of driving and extra 45 minutes from Geelong to try Wurdibuloc, West Barwon Reservoir, Bullen Merri or Purrumbete.

Lake Elingamite is also worth a look for early winter browns, however launching can be difficult due to the shallow nature of the water level around the edges at present.

Wurdibuloc has been fishing well over the past few months and is a great option for those living close to Geelong.

Hope you manage to hook a few!

A nice 2.5 kilogram Bullen Merri Chinook salmon taken on a pilchard fillet.
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