Flyfishers Do the Hard Yards
  |  First Published: July 2005

Cold mornings, mild days and chilly evenings are the pattern around Ballarat. Bait fishermen are taking good trout and redfin while flyfishers are having to put in the hours to achieve any worthwhile results. Insect hatches are tapering off. In their place anglers are starting to see baitfish numbers increase. They’ll be the mainstay for the next few months.

Newlyn Reservoir

Anglers arriving at Newlyn at first light are sighting many smelting trout in the back section of the reservoir. One flyfisher reported that he spent 3 hours chasing some smelters but didn’t get a touch. He said this wasn’t because of an incorrect fly choice but just not being able to cover the trout quickly enough.

Bait fishing is proving worthwhile. Earthworms and scrubbies on the bottom and live minnows under a bubble float are your best bet.

The coming month will see the smelt fishing intensify with large hatches of midge starting on those calm and windless days.

Hepburn Lagoon

Hepburn Lagoon is still under the influence of the algae but it’s now starting to clear. The fishing is still worthwhile with bait fishermen continuing to take brown and rainbow trout to 3 pounds on live minnow and black crickets under a bubble float.

On my last trip to the lake, trout movement wasn’t seen until mid-afternoon. After trying countless numbers of flies, the only results came from a size 12 Tom Jones.

Flyfishing buddy Andy Scott caught and released a fat rainbow of 3 pounds after covering a sighted riser on the northern shoreline.

The coming month will see the trout continue to feed on the smelt. Bait fishermen should get results using live minnow.

Wombat Reservoir

Flyfishers have been taking brown trout from half a pound to a pound in weight on stick caddis and English loch style flies worked close in along the shoreline. To best imitate stick caddis, I recommend size 12 Flyline caddis, Cased caddis and the Brassie fly. My pick of the loch style flies are the size 12 Dunkeld, Black Peacock Spider and the Brown Palmer.

Bait fishers continue to take small brown trout along the southern dam wall with earthworms, scrubbies and maggots the best baits. These small trout are probably the result of recent stockings by the Department. I encourage anglers to release them until they reach a larger size.

The coming month will see worms, midge, and stick caddis the most productive offerings to snare a trout or two.

Lake Beaufort

Baitfishers using earthworm and scrubbies are experiencing the best fishing with brown trout to 1 pound taken along the eastern shoreline.

On a recent trip to the area a local flyfisher told me of some big trout rising to midge on calm winless days. With this information I fished the lake blind with some size 16 midge pupae patterns and had success, taking and releasing two brown trout to 1 pound.

The coming month will see the continuation of the midge fishing with both the larval and adult stage imitations.

Bostock Reservoir

Bostock continues to fish well to all methods with earthworms and scrubbies taking small trout and redfin when fished on the bottom with a running sinker rig.

Fly fishermen are still sighting the odd smelting trout a long way from the shoreline. One angler reported catching and releasing a brown trout of 2 pounds. The best flies have been size 10/8 Matukas in black, red and black and olive green.

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