The Winter Fishing Report

BRAVE THE ELEMENTS FOR REWARD

With the onset of winter there’s a distinct transition in species throughout the Wimmera region whether it be in the rivers or the lakes. Trout become the targeted species for most with the rivers closing for the spawning and all the attention turning to the lakes. Native fish become relatively dormant until spring time and the reward for effort is outweighed by their absence. Redfin will be a option over the winter but also become harder to catch.

Our trout water I will cover below and keep in mind that most of them hold good numbers of redfin as well.

LAKE FYANS

Located between Stawell and Halls Gap, Fyans is one of the most fishes locations throughout the region. Well known for its big brown trout and feisty rainbows it offers some great boat and bank angling options. Bait fishing produces many good fish here and Mudeye is the prime bait for both species as well as other live boats like minnow and gudgeon. Trolling or casting lures early and late in the day also puts some fish in the creek. Tassie devils are the best option here in gold, gold winged and brighter colours over the winter as spawning fish are aggressive and will take on most things presented they see as an intrusion.

Ashes hero Merv Hughes boated this lovely Lake Fyans Brown.

Ashes hero Merv Hughes boated this lovely Lake Fyans Brown.

LAKE WARTOOK

Nestled in between valleys Wartook is a lake that offers a lot to land based anglers in particular over the cooler months with a huge section of wall that gives easy access to trout feeding areas. Tassie devils are the prime here as are shallow running hardbodies which account for plenty of fish. Also holding a good population of redfin at times Wartook is a option for baitfishing the bottom as well with worms or yabbies. Mudeye under a bubble float is the ideal trap to set for the big trout that cruise the wall area.

LAKE BELLFIELD

Being right on the southern end of Halls Gap township this popular water storage which is electric powered boats only is becoming very popular as a kayak and land based destination. With the chance of maybe a XL chinook salmon as well as brown and rainbow trout the lake has now been stocked with Golden Perch which will enhance the fishing opportunities locally in the next few years once they mature. Redfin are probably the most prolific fish here and provide hours of fun in the warmer months. Lures that are shallow running are better here as the timber areas of the lake are very snaggy. Bait also works well here especially in the areas where natural inflows occur on the road side of the lake.

Local kayak guru Robyn with a monster brown out of Lake Bellfield.

Local kayak guru Robyn with a monster brown out of Lake Bellfield.

LAKE TOOLONDO

Although showcased as the jewel of the Wimmera and known as one of the best trout lakes in the state Toolondo is in the rebuilding process after losing a large percentage of its bigger trout in early 2016 due to low water levels and higher temperatures. Fisheries have enforced a minimum size level here of 45 cm for brown trout and 30 cm for rainbow trout with a combined bag limit of 3 fish to help the restore the lake to its former glory. Also very well known for it autumn and spring monster Redfin it’s well worth a trip just to catch one of these monsters.

One of the monster Redfin Toolondo has become famous for.

One of the monster Redfin Toolondo has become famous for.

LAKE WALLACE

Fronting most of the western township of Edenhope, Wallace is starting to come of age with some lovely brown and rainbow trout now coming out in good numbers. Although reasonably shallow it still has enough weed and depth to produce well conditioned fish for both land based and boat anglers. Powerbait, Mudeye and worms are the best bait options while the ever reliable Tassie devils and shallow running hardbody lures get the job done on the cast and trolling behind a boat. Have heard reports of some big Redfin also being taken but most are being plagued by smaller models which hit trolled lures.

KONONGWOOTONG RESERVOIR

Tucked away south west of Balmoral and just north of Coleraine is this little known gem which also produces some lovely trout for anglers. Being another electric powered only lake it’s popular with kayakers and land based anglers as well with a north facing wall that allows you to float out baits or just bottom fish for both trout and Redfin. Fly fisherman also do very well here at times using both wet and dry flies when conditions are favourable. Trolling lures will produce In lesser light conditions and casting or jigging soft plastics is also effective. Redfin are also a proposition here and some larger fish are landed at times.

ROCKLANDS RESERVOIR

Soon to become a well known native fishery due to massive stockings by fisheries there is a air of excitement about Rocklands. In the past it has been famous for it cricket score numbers of Redfin landed in a day and also for some terrific trout option for locals. Although trout stockings will likely cease in the future there should still be some excellent fish to be taken over the next few year. Australian Bass often become a welcome by catch here too taking hardbody lures trolled for trout or Redfin. Known to be better than 50 cm they certainly provide a good tussle when hooked. The Murray Cod and Golden Perch will certainly provide anglers with a new destination which is set to rival Victoria’s native go to lake Eildon in the coming years!

Jarrod Potter with a fine Rocklands Bass taken trolling lures.

Jarrod Potter with a fine Rocklands Bass taken trolling lures.

REGULATIONS AND COMPLIANCE

Being constantly patrolled by Fisheries Inspectors please ensure you either hold a current Victorian Angling Licence or check to see if you are exempt. Monies generated form these licences are channeled back into restocking for future generations to enjoy. Check bag and size limits as they do vary from other locations and states. Safety is paramount around the waterways and a pre check of safety gear and your boat is good policy. The Wimmera lakes and rivers can become very dangerous in a short space of time so be aware of oncoming weather events or changes. Safe and happy fishing to all!