The Western Lakes near Camperdown have been a bit quieter of late but there have still been a few fish caught by persistent anglers. Lead-lining and downrigging seems to to be the most constant producing methods but there have been some nice fish caught from the shore by anglers casting hardbodied lures into the wind.

Customer Mick returned from Bullen Merri where he caught and released over nice school sized rainbow trout. Mick kept a handful for a feed and found that the best method for him was shallow downrigging at 4m with 13g tassie devils. A variety of colours worked with added UV orange standing out on any colour.

 

As we enter a more typical 'winter' stage of weather with rain and bitterly cold wind squalls the trout fishing really heats up. The cold conditions and increase in river flows push the fish to really ramp up and head upstream to spawn. In the smaller rivers the small fish seem to up their ante as they compete for food and territory against larger fish. Either way it's a good time to be trout fishing!


For us around Melbourne about the largest brown trout we'll see are usually from up in the Snowy Mountains of NSW's alpine high country. Rivers like the Eucumbene, Thredbo and snowy see large fish gather and run up in their annual spawning aggregations. While rainfall in this area has been very low late during autumn there still have been patches of fish moving up. Customers Daniel and Cam fished the region last week and while conditions were less than ideal they did manage to prick a couple of nice fish on fly. Fishing small nymphs and egg patterns is the go, but the ideal outfit and rig is quite technical and very specific if you're going to actually catch the fish you're hearing about. The boys in-store can fill you in on the specifics. Larger hardbodies have also been claiming a few fish as well, with low light conditions and certain 'staging' areas to key points to focus on. 


A bit closer to home, the Goulburn and tributaries have been fishing very well over the past week or so. The low river level of the Goulburn has made accessibility much easier for anglers, and much safer than trying to wade around the edges of a torrential flow. Customer Pat flyfished the river last week and found a bunch of fish willy to eat small weighted nymphs and also dry flies. For the lure angler, now is an ideal time to fish small 'bug' soft plastics or your favourite mid-running hardbodies.


Customer Sam fished the region recently to nail a few brook trout from the Rubi. Sam walked the mid section of the river and found that while there were quite a few fish seen, they had slowed down and were reasonably hard to tempt compared to around a month ago. The fish that did lash out found aggressive trout patterned and bright UV colours the hardest to leave alone. Lures that combine some bright flaired colour with an 'eat me' baitfish pattern will rarely get refused. Sam managed to land a good number of fish and more than the other anglers he spoke to. 


Staff members Don and Dylan flyfished some of the smaller streams around the EIldon region for a few hours last week, with a more 'on water' prac session rather than a hardcore fish. Greeted with high flows and more discolouration than normal in a few rivers the fishing was tough, but small rainbows around 100g were happy to eat small flashy nymphs fished on the edge of the main flow. At the present river height and water colour, hardbodied lures are a sure thing when fished along the same areas.


Across the ditch there have been some MEGA trout caught. Viva Fishing Australia representative and Megabass Australia agent Nick fished the hydro canals around Twizel on the South Island. Nick found some chunky rainbow trout and chinook salmon fishing the canal systems, and also found that they loved soft plastics. Megabass 'Hazedong' plastics were the most effective, with an ultra realistic minnow profile and tail beat in the water luring the fish in.


Customers Goran and John have also just returned from a New Zealand trip, and they also caught some stonker trout. When rainbows over 15lb aren't the 'big' fish, you have to wonder how big the trout here get!

 

The western crater lakes and surrounding waterways have been fishing well of late with a good number of people interested in Bullen Merri in particular, which has been fishing well for the chinook salmon and trout. Many anglers catch both fish on various trolling methods, generally with the use of a downrigger as the lake is very deep. Fishing around the thermocline can produce good results along with actively searching for bait schools.


Friend of the shop John 'Mr Jinkai' has been out in the crater lakes recently where trout and salmon have been caught. John's most recent trip was last week where some big salmon were caught deep bait fishing. The bait of choice were pilchard strips, fished on a simple running sinker rig around the bait schools. Cubing with pilchards also helps tremendously to keep the schools of salmon around. Small metal 'flutter' jigs fished around the schools have been working well also.


Customer Ryan and mate Nick have been fishing some of the western lakes in search of some bigger redfin. The larger redfin seem to proliferate the western lakes, so if big redfin are your target - west is best! The guys have been fishing slightly bigger lures to weed out the smaller fish, with 4'' plastics and also yellowbelly sized vibes getting the interest of the larger fish. Some of the larger fish have been belting the lures as they are burnt back through the water as fast as possible, so it always pays to mix up your lure style and retrieve speed also.

 

 

The Western district lakes have been producing fish lately for freshwater anglers chasing trout and salmon. Customer Mick has been finding some quality chinook salmon in Lake Bullen Merri over the past week or so, with most fish averaging around 1 - 2kg. The salmon have been found in schools and have responded best to bluebait and glassies fished on lightly weighted rigs. A few have also been taking lures worked around the school.

Around Ballarat, keen angler Tyler has been catching some nice trout on lures in the nearby lakes. Some of the better sized fish have been in the 50cm size range like this brown, with bullet lures working the best. The redfin colour has been the most effective on the larger trout as well.

 

While the trout streams around the state have only just recently opened up, the lakes and rivers in the states' West have been fishing very well. Many of the sea run streams are running full and discoloured, which are actually the best conditions for chasing some trophy trout in them. The Hopkins and Merri Rivers towards Warnambool are just two which fish well at this time of year. 

For the lake fisherman, both Purrumbete and Bullen Merri have been performing very well for both trout and salmon. Customer Mick has been fishing the lakes recently, and over the weekend he went down with a couple of mates. Mick fished Bullen Merri with two mates in search of a few chinook salmon. The best method to catch these salmon was to sound around and try to mark the fish up, and once a decent school was found it is a matter of presenting baits to them. Bluebait and whitebait has been the most effective on the salmon when fished on light line and with very small sinkers. Some of the salmon Mick caught over the weekend were up to 2.2kg in weight.  

 

The crate lakes out towards Camperdown are still fishing well for trout and salmon at present. Although we have had some seriously rough conditions, the resident trout push right in close to the shore where they can find food stirred up in the cloudy water. For these conditions land based fishing can be excellent, with many trout taking both baits and lures fish from the shore. For shore based anglers, mudeyes and minnows fished under a float are a very good option. Walking the lake edges with a lure casting outfit can also produce results in rough conditions.

Customer Mick fished the crater lakes twice last week after some good results a fortnight back. Mick has done well using pilchards and glassies suspended off the bottom, after locating the schools of fish on the sounder. The Chinook salmon have been more prolific, with the odd rainbow trout taking the baits as well. Mick has found the fish in around 10-15m of water on most occasions. 

 

The crater lakes around Camperdown in the state's West have been producing some good trout, redfin and chinook salmon for anglers recently. Both Bullen Merri and Purrumbete have been fishing well and should continue to do so through most of winter. Most of the action at the moment seems to be on the chinook salmon in the lakes, with plenty of fish in the 1kg mark. 

Diego from Black Magic Tackle has been fishing the crater lakes using a few different methods recently, including down rigging and flatline trolling. He has had success with most methods, mainly on chinook salmon. Most of the fish have been taking tassie devils trolled both ways. Diego has also been trialling a new prototype lure from Black Magic with great success, which will available shortly.

Customer Eddie fished Bullen Merri last week to land a few nice salmon to around 1.1kg, along with 2 redfin between 37 - 41cm. Eddie caught his fish while drifting along the edges of the lake, with scrubworms and salted whitebait hanging from a paternoster rig.

 

Most people know that the Western district is the place to go if you're chasing SBT, but it is also the place to go if you're a freshwater fisherman. The district is fishing well at the moment if you enjoy your trout fishing, in both rivers and lakes. The crater lakes around Camperdown are producing some lovely fish at the minute, along with most of the rivers nearby.

Customer Mick went across to Bullen Merri after some advice from the guys in the store, where he had a good day on the salmon. Mick hadn't fished here before targeting the salmon so he was steered in the right direction with baits and rigs and also how to find these fish. Mick ended up catching his bag of chinook salmon, keeping a couple and releasing the rest. The standout rig was a small running sinker with size 4 octopus hook, and salted whitebait was the best bait. Mick fished in around 15 - 20m of water and used his sounder to find the schools of fish.

Customer Eddy also fished the lake recently, where he took some of his younger family out for some fishing. Eddy and his family caught salmon around the 1.5kg mark, by fishing near the bottom in 20m of water. Best bait was pilchard fillet, along with small cubes of pilchard to get the fish going.

Customer Samy went across to the Western lakes last weekend where he and a few mates went out to target some trout. They went and hit Lake Toolondo after hearing a few ok reports in search of some quality trout. The guys used mudeye as bait, and had them suspended about 60cm under a small stick float. Most of the fish came from around 1.5m of water, and averaged at around 50cm each with the largest fish measuring 65cm.