Around southwest Victoria we really are blessed with an array of fishing destinations.
In the southwest there are plenty of reasons why we shouldn’t steer away from our fresh water fishing: one of them is Aringa Reservoir.
Where do you start when you decide to give Aringa Reservoir a crack? Aringa Reservoir is situated approximately 6km along the Port Fairy-Hamilton Rd on a property called ‘The Rocky’. The Port Fairy-Hamilton Rd is directly opposite the main petrol station in Port Fairy along the Highway.
Once you’re along the Port-Fairy-Hamilton Rd you will find that the road is very twisty and you may miss the property at first. If you find yourself at a property called ‘Watson’s’ you have gone just a little to far. But Aringa isn’t that difficult to find and you should be fine.
With recent track upgrades thanks to the non-profit organisation Fishcare, Aringa has become more accessible than ever. Anglers are now easily launching small boats with sedans and other small two-wheel drive cars.
And with a beautiful outlook like this you can’t help get excited as you rig up and start wetting the line.
The geography of the lake makes it slightly easier to fish from a boat than to fish on the bank. The lake has a rocky bottom, weedy edges and on the land rows of pine trees that act as great wind breakers and plenty of native flora which adds to the aesthetic value of the land.
As the property name suggests Aringa Reservoir has a very rocky and tough terrain. Trout, both brown and rainbow are regularly stocked into Aringa but it isn’t really the trout that brings me here, it’s the resident redfin. And reddies are perhaps better targeted from a boat.
My favourite methods of fishing Aringa Reservoir are trolling as well as cast and retrieve lure techniques.
Hardbodied lures that I have found work well at Aringa Reservoir are Bassday Kangoku Shads, Stumpjumpers, Ecogear SX40’s and Rapala Countdown Minnows just to name a few. It’s just personal opinion; spinners and Tassie Devils are others that are proven winners over the test of time.
The first thing I do when I am on the water at Aringa Reservoir is start throwing around a plastic as soon as we get off the boat ramp
Berkley Power Minnows in 3”, 2” Atomic Fat Grubs, Bulky Hawgs, Squidgie Critters and the Gulp varieties such as 3” Gulp minnows and Turtleback worms are all great options on Aringa.
It’s not just because I like plastics that they are usually the first tactic I use down at Aringa, using a plastic lets me fish all depths. This is extremely useful when you are thinking about trolling later on in the day.
If I find that I am getting touches or fish on a minnow style lure down deep on a slow retrieve that is how I am going to want to troll, slow and deep.
However if I get a fish early on a plastic fishing it faster but higher in the water column I would try and match the hatch to one of my lures such as an SX 40 with a slightly faster troll.
The gear I use to catch these redfin is a 7ft Daiwa Tierra fitted with a Daiwa CY2000 reel spooled with 4lb crystal Fireline and a Pflueger Trion fitted with a Daiwa Exceller and 2lb crystal Fire line.
Don’t be afraid to have your leader up to two-rod lengths long when you are trolling. When trolling you don’t have to cast as often as you would if you where spinning, so you can afford to have to longer leader. It will also increase your chances of a fish with a more stealthy approach.
As well as exploring all avenues when you are fishing for redfin, it is important to concentrate on areas of water that you have caught a fish and persist with lures that have caught you fish in the past in similar situations.
In my experience when the water has been murky only black or dark lures work, and on overcast day where the fish where sitting higher in the water they seem to prefer smaller lures over larger lures.
It is easy to find patterns when redfin fishing and a positive mindset can be the difference in recognising the patterns.
Finding feeding patterns on Aringa is sometimes the main reason why I managed to compile a bag of 1kg plus fish.
If I find the fish are in a particular water column depth, such as areas where I had caught a fish, having another three or four runs of trolling usually picks up fish before moving onto another weed bed or bank that had been good to us in the past.
If things become quiet after you have caught a few fish and you are running through the patterns that have worked earlier with no success, then there are a couple of things that you can do that could start getting you among the fish again.
Try trolling a sinking lure such as a Rapala Countdown minnow or a deeper diving floating lure such as a Stumpjumper, The only difference with your troll this time is that instead of going straight, you should troll your lures in a zig zag motion.
This will change the action of the lure and the lure will either sink or float depending on the lure as you turn each corner in the zig zag.
Redfin over 1kg often fall for this change up of tactics. One very memorable fish was caught as we did a fairly shape turn and the lure floated up in the water column. It was almost at the surface when a very nice fish decided to take a 55mm Stumpjumper like it was the last breakfast.
Aringa is such a great fishing destination for visitors as you don’t have to be a local or have the inside scoop to catch the fish. All you need is a positive attitude and a trust within yourself to catch the fish – if you just have your line in the water you are a chance to hook up.
It’s not only Aringa Reservoir that holds plentiful redfin stocks around southwest Victoria, Lake Gillear, Lake Purrumbete, Lake Hamilton, Lake Bellfield and Wartook Reservoir are all within a couple of hours dive.
Don’t forget Lake Purrumbete’s healthy stocks of salmonoids too.
All of these destinations hold excellent stocks of trout and redfin so there are now no excuses for staying in the salt.Reads: 8440