Newlyn and Hepburn Firing
  |  First Published: June 2005

The influx of warm mild days is creating some unusual fishing, and insects are hatching in earnest in some of the Ballarat lakes. Newlyn Reservoir and Hepburn Lagoon in particular have experienced large numbers of ants blown onto the lake, creating a smorgasbord of food for the stocked trout. Fishing in other lakes is also improving with the unseasonable weather.

Newlyn Reservoir

The fishing is getting better and better with continued insect hatches that have consisted of black ants, brown ants, midges, the odd mayfly emerger and duns. On a recent trip with friends, we started the day blind fishing, searching with damsel nymph flies. We managed two trout despite not seeing a trout rise. At around 3pm, black and brown ants started to fall on the water and in no time trout began to rise right through until dark. We ended up catching and releasing five brown trout. All were taken on size 16 black flying ant patterns. This pattern has the hackle wrapped around the middle of the fly and is a great imitation of the real thing. It must be remembered though, that weather conditions play a big role in your fishing success for ant feeding trout. Look out for days of light wind. The coming month should see an end to the ant hatches with the trout feeding on the schools of smelt.

Hepburn Lagoon

Hepburn has awoken from its non-fishing slumber with some excellent trout between 2 and 3 pound caught by bait anglers and flyfishers.

Bait fishermen have had best results on earthworms and mudeyes fished under a float. The northern shoreline has been particularly productive. Working smelt patterns along the same shoreline is the best tactic for the flyflickers. John Guljas recently caught many trout to 3lb with this approach.

Recommended fly patterns are size 12 olive green and grey Matukas.

The coming month should see the smelting action continue, especially as the colder weather approaches.

Wombat Reservoir

Situated near Daylesford, Wombat has just been stocked with 2,000 brown and 2,000 rainbow trout yearlings. The trout are rising everywhere to surface insects and flyfishers have been capitalising, with good numbers caught and released. Most captures have been to beetle and midge dry flies fished from late afternoon until dark.

Bait fishermen were also reported to have taken the odd trout on earthworms, scrubbies and mudeyes. The coming month will see the tapering off of the beetles, but the midges will continue to hatch right through the winter in the right conditions.

Lake Beaufort

Lure fishermen are taking nice brown trout up to 2 pounds and many small redfin using Celtas and the bigger Wee Wobblers. Bait fishermen are catching the odd trout on scrubworm and mudeye with the caravan side of the lake the best location.

Fly-fishermen have reported the odd small hatch of mayfly emergers and duns, but no trout are rising to these hatches.

St Georges Lake

Bait fishermen using earthworms, scrubbies and pink Power Bait are still catching trout, while the fly-fishermen are having some success blind fishing wet fly attractor patterns like Woolly Buggers, Woolly Worms and Fuzzy Wuzzies.

Midges are also providing some dry fly action for those lucky enough to be on the lake at the right time.

I recommend fishing around the picnic area and the northern shoreline.

Bostock Reservoir

Bait anglers are taking trout to a pound and small redfin using of floats and maggots for bait. Flyfishers are sighting the odd trout smelting and are taking some with Matukas; black, grey, and olive green are the best colours. The pine tree area of the lake has been the best location for both bait anglers and flyfishers.

The coming month will hopefully see a continuation in the smelting activity. As usual, fishing an earthworm or scrubbie should catch you a trout or two.

Malmsbury Reservoir

Slowly filling and fishing fairly for the odd trout to 2 pounds along the dam wall on scrubbies and mudeyes. Flyfishers, on the other hand, have had to walk distances and search for smelting trout. The northern shoreline is producing the most action and the best smelt patterns have been size 10 Bag flies with a gold body.


Best baits – earthworms, scrubworms, mudeyes and Power Bait

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

Best soft plastics - Glitter Minnows, Nippers, Swim Minnows, Power Frogs, Floating frogs, Atomic Grubs, long tail Minnows, Wriggle Tails, and Bullheads, Squidgy fish.

Best flies

Nymphs - Size 12/10, weighted Flashback Nymphs, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, weighted Black Seal Fur Nymphs and Brown Seals Fur Nymphs.

Mayflies - size 18/16 Rusty Brown Para Duns, Pale Morning Duns, Iron Blue Duns. Size 16 Red Spinners and Black Spinners.

Wet flies - size 10 l/s Matukas, Woolly Buggers, Woolly worms, Fuzzy Wuzzies and Damsel Nymphs.

Marie Scott holds an ant feeding trout caught from Newlyn Reservoir, which has been fishing well.

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