Lake Colac dry
  |  First Published: February 2009

The slow death of one of Victoria’s best redfin lake is now complete. Lake Colac is dry.

No, we are not talking about a lake in the Mallee or Wimmera. We are talking about a lake in the Western District. You know, the area that has reliable rains every year. No one seems to remember the lake ever being dry before. Some very old records suggest it was low enough to walk across at some stage.

But now it has gone and so to have those cricket score tallies of redfin that it was known for. The Meredith Park camping area that played host to hundreds of anglers, especially those from Ballarat, now has only an odd visitor that has come to see the empty lake.

What the future holds is anybody’s guess. I hope I will be around to see the lake fill again, and with some good management there may be no carp. Perhaps if and when it fills again we may see a native fishery evolve, with bass as a draw card. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the future.

As for the other lakes in the district, Purrumbete is the best opportunity for some good angling. Boat anglers fishing on and just off the bottom have caught redfin in big numbers.

Boaties have also been doing well with good numbers of brown trout plus a few rainbows and Quinnat salmon. Bullheads seem to be the best bait, either lowered to the bottom and then lifted up 2-3m to get away from the redfin, or fished under a bubble float.

Anglers walking the banks are still getting their share of trout with hardbodied lures. Of interest for the flyfisher have been the good hatches of beetles on hot evenings. Although never a place to have big numbers of fish rising, the possibilities of a trophy fish are always there at Purrumbete.

Bullen Merri is also worth a look. Once again mornings and evenings are best, if only to get away from the boat traffic. Trolling with Tassie Devils and Loftys in the southeast corner is your best chance of a nice brown. Even with the extreme heat in late January and early February lifting the water temperature, the local population of bass have not been stirred into action.

Our local rivers have been good for blackfish again over February, with a fish of 55cm caught by Louie Presani.

If you are considering fishing the local rivers make sure you have a licence as the local rangers have been busy in the area. Trout in the rivers have continued to improve with good numbers being taken by both fly and lure fishers. The lure guys have been getting into some absolute rippers with Rebel and Rapala lures.

For those wanting an update on the boat ramp at Purrumbete I can only say that there is progress being made.

One of Victoria’s best redfin fisheries, Lake Colac, is dry for the first time in many, many years (photo courtesy of the Colac Herald)

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