(A) little luck on the Lake Wendouree

image (3)I awoke to the sound of my alarm and rain hammering on the roof. “What am I doing?” I thought to myself as I dragged myself out of bed and stumbled to the shower. Downstairs I made coffee and checked the radar map. “Good”, the rain was only heavy around Melbourne, in Ballarat there was barely a dot. It was going to be a good day, overcast and with only a little drizzle. Just the sort of day I like to fish Lake Wendouree. Over the next ten minutes I tried to get my fishing gear together. I was planning on doing it the night before, but a friends birthday drinks and what ended up being a late night meant those plans had been put on the back-burner and I was busy playing catch up now. I finished packing the car, went up to give the sleeping girlfriend a kiss goodbye and pat the groggy dog on the head before I started the two hour drive out to the lake. Nothing cures sleep deprivation and tiredness than the anticipation of going fishing.

Brett doing his thing
Brett doing his thing

image

When I arrived Brett was setting up the canoe. I got my gear out of the car “Why didn’t you bring a longer rod?”. Yeah that sleep deprivation packing in a hurry thing. “Couldn’t find it”. It was going to be a day of fishing loch style from a canoe with a 7ft rod, not ideal but manageable. We set up the canoe and started paddling out to one of our favourite areas. We set the drogue up and started fishing loch style. Last season, loch style produced some truly memorable sessions on Wendouree. The essence of loch style is covering a lot of water, while also covering the water column. You fish with two or three flies, each roughly 3-5ft apart. A heavy fly on the point, an attractor in the middle and a hackle-y thing on top. Apart from fishing a few flies and the potential for epic tangles, its pretty simple fishing. Cast out in front of the drift, let the flies sink to the bottom and then retrieve them, covering a lot of water and the water column simultaneously. Vary up the retrieves and the flies until you find something that works, slow hand twist, short slow strips, short fast strips, long slow strip. Over the next few hours we changed flies multiple times, we changed retrieves, we moved around. For our efforts we were rewarded with a couple of bumps but we never quite converted them. At one point Brett exclaimed “Did you see that?”, I hadn’t. His fly line had been picked up and moved a couple of meters to the right, he was a little slow noticing and had struck a little late and missed the fish. Midday there was a good midge hatch and we saw a few fish feeding on them just below the surface for ten minutes or so before they disappeared, despite both moving to fishing strings of midge flies we didn’t get a hit.

Eventually, the sun poked its way through the clouds and we decided to see if we could find some smelters. The week before, Brett’s mate had got onto a few smelters so we headed over to where he had been fishing. As soon as we arrived, there it was, a trout smashing up a school of little smelt. I tried to cast at it, but the combination of adrenaline and excitement meant I absolutely shanked the cast, ending up tangled around the canoe itself. I took a few deep breathes, untangled, got myself organised and ready again. We waited for the fish to show itself again. Thankfully it did. This time I managed to make the cast, I started a rolly-polly retrieve and BANG! I was on. It wasn’t a good fish but it was a fish, a lovely fat little 2lb brown. I had been somewhat lucky, at some point during our loch style escapades I had tied on a shrimp/baitfish fly on my top dropper. Why I have no idea. Sometimes you get lucky.

The fly
The fly
And the fish
And the fish

We fished for a little longer, but soon after called it a day. It had been a really fun little session, we’d fished from 10am till 2pm, not an epic session but long enough. We both felt, given the perfect conditions that the lake should have fished a little better, that we should of got onto a few more fish. Sometimes thats just fishing. It had been nice just to get out for a paddle, to cast a few flies and see a few fish. The little guy at the end was the icing on the cake.

Till next time, good luck on the water

Hamish

 

flickandflyjournal.com

Hamish Webb, Dan Firth, Graham Fifield and Lee Georgeson have been fishing the south-east Australian region since 1987. Since then they’ve become avid sportfishermen who are constantly looking for new ways to challenge themselves. They are all scientists and conservationists who are passionate about the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem in which they live. They promote understanding and appreciation of the complex socio-political, economic and environmental issues surrounding fish, fishing and fisheries, while never losing sight of the various motivations that keep them coming back. In English, that means they love all things fishing and have a damn good time on the water, and that’s all that really counts in the end!

5 thoughts on “(A) little luck on the Lake Wendouree

  • June 2, 2015 at 3:17 pm
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    I’ve thought of giving Lake Wendouree a try but have been told that it is difficult to fish from the shore due to heavy weed. Is this the case? During the closed stream period I’d like to try a few other stillwater venues, other than the Pondage and Marysville Lake. I do need to get over my ” Dont like to travel more than an hour to go fishing” Syndrome!
    Nice report, Hamish. Looks a tad cold and moistish. Lovely colour on that brown trout.
    I’m hoping to get out on one of my local streams before the season closes on Monday.
    Are you still interested in a “Cane and Tweed Day”? I’ve often thought Marysville Lake would be a decent venue as it’s fairly close to Melbourne, the lake is stocked regularly and there’s a few places where you can get coffee and a bite to eat.
    Cheers,
    Steve.

    • June 3, 2015 at 9:57 am
      Permalink

      Definitely interested in cane and tweed day. I handed in the PhD last Friday, so I am freer than I have been in years! Marysville lake is fun, I’ve taken newbies there a few times and its usually possible to get them a few stockers 🙂 Good fun! Maybe we could tee it up for the season opener in a few months 🙂

      Will be at the Rubicon over the weekend for the GFs 30th, so if you head up that way, drop by and say hi. I’ll hopefully be able to get a fair bit of fishing done.

      Wendy isn’t too bad from the shore… There is a lot of weed, but thats not necessarily a bad thing… Its all about fishing stick caddis and the like either static under and indicator, or with a slow figure 8 retrieve along the margins at low light when landbased. We’ve caught some great fish doing that. You’ll also get smelters to cast at at times.

      Newlynns is another good lake in that area. Hepburn another, although its difficult and I’ve never had much luck there, a lot of the fish are BIG!

      Cheers
      Hamish

  • June 5, 2015 at 8:23 am
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    Hello Hamish,
    I’m encouraged by what you wrote and will make the effort this winter to try some of the goldfields region lakes.

    Enjoy your time at the Rubicon and please pass on my birthday wishes to your good lady. It would be nice to catch up with you there but this weekend is booked up for me. Visit parents in law today, weekly shopping tomorrow and work Sunday/Monday. Work–the curse of the keen fisherman! If I’m not too buggered after work on Monday I’ll try to wet a line in one of my local Healesville creeks.

    Glad to hear that you are still interested in a cane and tweed day. Marysville probably would be a good place to have it. Marysville is a favourite destination for me. I’ll often fish either the Acheron or the Stevenson, then end up fishing the lake. The lake can be a real hoot at times. I once caught and released 42 stocked rainbows in the space of about two hours using a mudeye pattern fly that a friend in the US had created for me. It’s a fun spot. I think the next stocking is at the end of June for the school holidays. We’ll have to work out a date for the tweed and cane day.

    I’ll finish up. Have a good weekend and I hope we can get together in the not too distant future.

    Cheers,

    Steve.

  • June 5, 2015 at 2:13 pm
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    You’ve encouraged me to give the goldfields regions a go during the winter.

    Enjoy your time at the Rubicon and please pass on my birthday wishes to your good lady. My weekend is booked up so I cant make it up to say hello–visiting my inlaws today, weekly shopping tomorrow and I work on Sunday/Monday. Work–the curse of the keen fisherman.

    Glad to hear you are still keen on a tweed and cane day. I think Marysville would be a good venue. It’s a favourite destination of mine. I often fish the Acheron and the Stevenson then end up fishing in the lake. The little lake can be a hoot. I once caught and released 42 stocker rainbows in about 2 hours on a mudeye fly that a good friend in the US created for me. First cast it got inhaled. A great fly.

    Must finish. We’ll have to work out a date for the tweed and cane day.

    Cheers,

    Steve.

  • June 8, 2015 at 2:41 pm
    Permalink

    Hello Hamish,

    Sorry for the almost duplication of the above comment. The first one seemed to disappear, so I typed out another as I thought I’d buggered something up.

    How did you go up at the Rubicon?

    Cheers,

    Steve.

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