While 12 June signals closed season for trout fishing in creeks and streams, this month is typically the start of fantastic lake fishing for trout within our region. The cold weather is well and truly here and the monster trout are emerging from the weed beds to feed on smelt and minnows.
Cold foggy mornings are here. There’s no better time to chase trout! While the Sunday fishers are still tucked up in bed, we get out on the water to watch the sunrise, along with a trophy trout or two. The chilly mornings we come to expect of May are like a doorbell to the big trout that call our lakes home. Now the hard part is deciding what lake to choose.
With recent environmental flows from Rocklands Reservoir, the upper Glenelg River is rejuvenated and looking more like a river instead of a series of pools and puddles. These flows have come at a perfect time for bass to migrate downstream with the hopes of breeding, or just moving on to a better looking snag. These flows also promote movement of schooled redfin as they go their own way for winter.
This month signals the start of seasonal change. With the sun rising later, this heralds the approach of the cooler weather.
The last month has been a period of transformation for the waterways of the region. Water clarity has vastly improved and water temperatures have risen to a point that the redfin are schooling up and are on the chew. Floodwaters have receded. Riverbanks are drying out and stabilising. The Wimmera is open for fishing!
With the cold wet spring being nothing but memories of slow days fishing, the great Wimmera and surrounds have never looked so good – with most lakes full, and the others the highest they have been in years. The Wimmera River received natural flows all the way to Lake Hindmarsh. Along with Toolondo, it received a much needed drink from Rocklands in November, after Mother Nature kicked in and got Rocklands to the much needed trigger point to allow a release via the channel. The waters have now cleared and all species are on the chew.
Fishing in the region has been very quiet, mainly due to a wetter than average winter. The cold and wet weather has kept anglers inside rather than outside chasing fish.
Anglers prepared to get out in the wind and rain to brave the cold, uncomfortable conditions, have been rewarded in Wimmera. The past month has seen great trophy trout and redfin in particular. Lakes are still floundering dangerously low on water levels, so fishing has been tough.
Even though some unpleasant days are plentiful this time of year, they can often be the most rewarding, and those willing to take on the elements often find the goods. I’ve always maintained that trout especially take great delight in wanting to play on the days when a lot of anglers would rather be watching the footy in front of the fire.
My time was limited on the water over the last month, so I will talk more tactics in this report. I’m looking forward to a busy few months on the water chasing big trout but will miss the redfin as they close down for the big chill.
The farmers, as well as the fishing fraternity are excited for the upcoming winter and rain anticipated to arrive soon. As the whole system is very low on water for stock and domestic use, the buzz of a normal winter and rainfall has raised the excitement for many and some very encouraging projects are on the table to enrich the region and bring back the much needed tourism. Wimmera could well become the next Eildon!
This time of year is a transition period for trout anglers. Many are already out looking for the big fellas, working the shallows and covered banks for marauding fish on the hunt for a feed
While my time in the Wimmera has been minimal lately, due to a well-earned break chasing barra up north, the reports and stories have rolled in with anglers who are prepared to do their homework for a trip have fared well. Once again we missed out on much needed rains, but the coming months show plenty of promise with tips far and wide of the drought breaking and predicted rains set to replenish the system.
With less boat traffic throughout the Wimmera the fishing has settled down and regained some normality. The lakes are virtually deserted through the week, but see many visitors on weekends as well as ski and wake boats. Plenty of fish have been landed and many released over the holidays with resurgence in redfin populations in Lake Fyans – a thrill for many. Other lakes have continued to suffer a decline in water level, but a bit of much needed rain has seen a couple that looked doomed hanging on by a thread.
Water is the main point of discussion throughout the Wimmera once again, as the dry season continues to take a toll on many lakes. Levels are falling to a critical stage, and given we are having an above average summer already some real carnage may develop over the coming months.
With water levels currently lower than average for this time last year and no rain in sight, some waterways are really struggling and we may see some major losses of stocked and naturally bred fish this summer.
After being away for a couple of weeks to get married and experience some magnificent Fiji weather I was looking forward to getting back on the lakes and chasing some redfin. Not to be let down, the fish has risen to the challenge and are starting to play nicely.
Through years of dwindling waterways and tough drought conditions, the toughest of all freshwater fish – the redfin perch, scientifically known as Perca fluviatilis – has proven time and again to be a survivor. Known to frequent channels, lakes, swamps, rivers, and streams this tough little fighter is extremely resilient.
With many anglers coming out of the winter hibernation, now is the time to do the maintenance or upgrade of all rods, reels and lines.
With the onset of winter now is the time for the serious trout anglers to capitalise on the great angling that’s on offer in the Wimmera area.
Although it remains dry throughout the region and the much-anticipated early autumn rains haven't arrived as yet, some great catches have been recorded locally, mainly in the deeper lakes and the rivers and streams. As the water temperatures in the shallower lakes drops, we can soon expect to see good numbers of trout come on the chew and the redfin school up just prior to their winter retreat.
Rocklands Reservoir, under the then State Rivers and Water Supply Commission, commenced construction in March 1941. Originally, it was constructed by damming off the Glenelg River to serve an area of almost 25,000km2 for domestic, stock and irrigation water.
Waiting is a game of patience and at present Wimmera anglers are playing that game and waiting for the cold days to arrive and the big trout to come out to play.
Autumn is now well upon us, and it's at this point that the serious trout hunters start to get excited at the prospect of the bigger trout feeding, and feeding for longer periods of time.
As previously reported the iconic Lake Toolondo was on the ropes and staring down the barrel of disaster with receding water levels set to threaten a potentially world class trout fishery.
Throughout the Wimmera we are bracing ourselves for what potentially could spell the demise of some of the premier lakes in the area. Toolondo for instance currently sits at around 19% and is dropping fast as the onset of summer hits. My fears of looming fish kills may be just around the corner and the iconic lake could turn belly up in no time if the algal blooms of last year return.
Summer is here and this has spurred the native fish into life at some of the region’s lakes. Redfin make a welcome return to the table and the trout have become a little harder to tempt in some lakes that are shallower but the deeper lakes have started to fire nicely.
Spring is upon us in the Wimmera and the fish know it too with many reporting seeing trout putting on aerobatic displays while others are content to cruise around sipping bugs off the top.
After a rather short winter with very little rainfall but some extremely cold mornings we are now on the brink of getting some magnificent spring weather.
While we experienced some good rains to freshen the lakes and streams up this month, the fish have been patchy; jumping all over offerings one day, turning their nose up at them the next. Frustrating but not unusual for this time of year with fish in spawning mode and some already completed the chore!
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