Fresh in the west
  |  First Published: December 2004

The weather is warming up and so to are the local fish. Local lakes are holding higher levels of water than seen at this time for quiet a few years. With the extra water we can expect to find fish in tip-top condition as they fill up on the feed over the new ground.

Lake Ellingamite, with the extra depth, has allowed launching a boat to be a damned side easier than in the past. The browns, rainbows and reddies in the lake have been responding well to trolled Tassie Devil and Lofty style lures.

There have been a few fish rising in the evenings giving flyfishers a chance, but the tried and true mudeye under a float is still taking the most fish.


Lake Purrumbete has been producing some nice browns, mostly once again to the bait anglers with mudeye being the pick of the baits. In a recent competition held over the three lakes – Bullen Merri, Purrumbete and Ellingamite – the best results were from Purrumbete with local Colac angler Mathew Laity taking the honours with a brown of 3.2kg and a rainbow of 2kg.

Quinnant salmon have been responding to deep fishing with glassies. Use berley as an aid to get the fish into the area. Atlantic salmon at Lake Bullen Merri have also been responding to berley with anglers dropping their baits to 30m, winding up a couple of turns and waiting for some good results.

Lake Colac, with its abundant supply of redfin, should be well and truly firing by mid-December. These fish prefer minnows fished under a bubble float, but when they become hard to get the local smelt will also assure you a bag of good fish. Redfin have been taken recently up to 700g, but most are averaging 450-500g grams in weight.

RiverS and streams

As things warm up, the trout in the local rivers will change from bottom feeding to taking flies on the surface. The Gellibrand is a good example of this, and don’t forget that this river holds probably the largest stock of river blackfish of any river in Victoria. The blackfish season opens in early December and there is a size and bag limit on these beautiful eating fish.

For those chasing blackfish, a small yabby is a good bait to try as the numerous eels, which abound in the river, seem to shy away from this offering.

For those camping over Christmas, if you haven’t already booked at places like Purrumbete, my advice is to get on to it pronto!


Colac angler Luke Rollnik with a 2kg chinook salmon from Lake Purrumbete near Camperdown.

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