Pre Easter in the Vic Central Highlands

Was it the last of the warm weather? Possibly not, but the last few days certainly had a calm-before-the-storm feel.

Early in the week, I enjoyed a few hours on Lake Wendouree with Craig. It was shirtsleeves weather, with patchy cloud providing insufficient cover to avoid a smother of sunscreen. A bit more cloud would have been welcome for the duns too, although there were enough in the early afternoon to bring at least some rises from the trout. By about 3pm, it was the spinner feeders that really got going though… just as Craig had to head off to an unavoidable commitment. I managed to hook one fish on a long cast from the shore after he left, and then I too had to leave.

A chunky Wendouree rainbow from earlier in the week.

As many others have reported, Wendouree is in top shape. Down a little, but nice and clear, and with a deeper weed cut possibly helping the action? (And certainly the lake’s fishability.)

Not such a rosy report from Tullaroop, where I headed with Peter midweek. Early to mid April often sees my first Tullaroop visit, planned to coincide with cooler water temperatures. The lake still has an impressive volume of water, but it’s disappointingly dirty. Visibility is a foot at best. Over a couple hours, we saw about half a dozen good trout smelting. (Not to be confused with a troubling number of carp around the edges.) Only one smelter was in casting range, and numerous casts to the area failed to produce a response. Eventually, we moved on, but not before chatting to a boat angler who advised that the lake’s turbidity had worsened in the last couple of weeks. With little inflow, there must be some other factor at play (and it didn’t look like algae to us). We can only hope that whatever is going on, Tullaroop clears up soon.

Although Tullaroop is holding an amazing amount of water for mid autumn, it’s badly discoloured.

Next stop was a cast at Nunya Creek, where we saw several tiny trout and caught a ten inch brown. Fishing aside, it’s always reassuring to see some trout survive the dry heat of summer in these marginal streams.

Nice to see that at least some local streams (and their trout) have survived summer.

We finished off at Cosgrave, where despite the warmth, there were fewer terrestrials on the water than I hoped for, and so the risers were mostly ‘oncers’ and hard to track. Then, on evening, things finally improved – sort of! We found a number of rising trout, but at best they were at the very edge of our back-cast limited range. It was a mixture of fun and frustration for about an hour, with some good-natured sledging every time one of us put their fly up a tree at precisely the worst moment!

As I write, the midweek warmth has been replaced by steady rain, and the temperature is only 13C – and forecast to get colder still over the next couple of days. If that sounds uninviting, it should at least be good weather for dun hatches, and I expect the smelters will turn up from time to time as well.