Take a break in the west
  |  First Published: February 2009

Have you have been thinking about a trip to Purrumbete or Bullen Merri and wondering if the fishing has been any good up this way?

Well, I am pleased to say that even the jolly old bloke in the red suit has been spending some of his ‘R&R’ time in the area. He has been spotted at a couple of local water holes during January, which suggests the western district must have some of the best fishing about.

Purrumbete has been the standout again. Even with the limited boat access, anglers have been landing some great fish. The mainstay has again been brown trout, with fish to 3.6kg being taken by a variety of methods.

Bullheads fished deep have been the most productive, but those trolling have also taken plenty of fish. Flyfishing has also produced good results, with mudeye patterns fished late in the evening accounting for some nice browns. Anglers using soft plastics from the rocks, in particular Gulp Minnows in the pearl watermelon colour, have also been nailing their share of fish.

It hasn’t been all browns though, with rainbows to 1.8kg and plenty of redfin also landed. Quinnat salmon have also been taken, with Terry Lindsay landing a ripper of 3.63kg using bullheads in early January.

For those contemplating a trip to Bullen Merri, I suggest you try and keep away from the weekends. A recent weekend sortie to the area revealed at least 50 ski boats, half a dozen yachts and four jet skis. In other words, they are conditions that are not well suited to a quiet afternoon’s fishing.

There have been a few browns about at Bullen Merri, but early mornings and late evenings have definitely been the best way to go.

The local rivers are slowly starting to turn the corner for the local flyfishers chasing trout.

Of much more interest for many locals and visitors is the return of the blackfish season for another year. The Gellibrand River holds the reputation for being the best blackfish river in the state, and over the next few months there will be blackies to 2kg or more taken from the river. Evenings and into the dark are the best times, with yabbies or mudeyes the pick of the baits. Plenty of fish will be taken on earthworms, but putting up with the bootlace size eels can be a problem.

The West Barwon got a good lift with the heavy rains in mid-December and is well worth a walk along the banks for those who like spinning. Although the browns and rainbows in this impoundment never reach much over 1kg, an afternoon’s fishing will usually result in a couple of fish.

Lastly, February should see the start of the bass season at Bullen Merri…but I make no promises!

The fishing has been so good in the crater lakes that even Santa has been trying his luck!

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