Lake Fyans : Grampians Trout and Redfin Mecca!

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Local guide Trevor Holmes gives you the lowdown on a little gem of a system called Lake Fyans.

One of the best kept secrets of the Wimmera and Grampians regions is the inland oasis of Lake Fyans. Located just a 10 minute drive from the hub of the Grampians, Halls Gap, Fyans holds good numbers of both Brown and Rainbow trout as well as some of the best Redfin in Victoria. Known for its consistency as a fishery and breathtaking beauty it’s shadowed by the Grampians Ranges that provide a sensational backdrop. Sandy edges littered with assorted timber both standing and submerged provides ideal habitat for all species. Weed beds sub surface as well as standing reed clusters also hide many schools of smelt, gudgeon, minnows, mudeyes and all forms of aquatic life that make up the ecosystem. Clear areas adjacent to the weed and trees are ideal starting points for most anglers as these are where you will find fish cruising for a cheap feed.

LOCATION :

From Melbourne a 2.5hr drive up the Western Highway bypassing all towns before Ararat where you can either continue through the township out to Moyston and Pomonal or to Stawell and turn left with well signposted directions.

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WHERE TO STAY :

With many accommodation options available locally in Halls Gap, Stawell and surrounds the only public caravan park/campground at the lake itself is the beautiful Lake Fyans Holiday Park which hosts vans, campers and also has luxurious cabins and houses available for rent. Easter time is the busiest times of the year here and most accommodation is pre booked due to Australia’s richest foot race the Stawell Gift held nearby. Xmas and long weekends can also be hectic so book in advance.

TROLLING :

Like most trout lakes it’s the early risers that have the best success here and ideally a pre-dawn start should produce some great fish trolling, casting or bait fishing. I personally like to flat line troll the emerging light conditions and then change up to deeper divers as the light grows. Mixing up the lures I normally run a couple of Tassie Devils and Stumpjumpers  at the same time to hedge the bets for a trout off the surface and a Redfin down deeper. As the water brightens I will always continue to run a tassie, usually gold or silver coloration but change the other to a Daiwa Doubleclutch, Presso minnow or other deeper running lure. Mixing up swimming depths is paramount here as these fish can be unpredictable. Late in the day and into the dark can also be very rewarding trolling using the same methods. Overcast conditions during the cooler months will produce fish most of the day trolling but I find the warmer times of year there’s a distinct “dead” patch that sends the fish deep and inactive.

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BAIT FISHING :

Mudeyes are the premium fare here and the trout find them very hard to resist. Fished under a bubble float edging onto the weed beds and trees is ideal. Other good options are live minnow and gudgeon as well as scrub worms and the favourite of the rainbow trout, power bait. For the Redfin it’s hard to go past the naturally occurring gudgeon rigged on a paternoster type rig and fished on or just above the bottom. This can either be done on a very slow drift to cover more areas or anchored up near structure.

CASTING:

Whilst this method can be a great way to cover ground and scan habitat, it can also be time-consuming negotiating your way to good areas. With probably 80% of the surface area here being open water, the shallow areas that show rushes and trees above the water line are the prime spots to flick lures and plastics. Usually if you work well away from the structure there is less chance of spooking the bigger, more cunning fish that make these places home. Sitting in ambush mode waiting for an opportune feed I prefer to lob the plastic or lure well past the fish/structure and retrieve back towards the boat. Rainbows especially can be very sensitive to any splash or intrusion in their zone and dart off to safety or shut down until they feel secure. The majority of times the take or strike will happen at distance where the fish has no idea of you or the boat being present. Tassie Devils, shallow running bibbed lures and plastics being amongst my favourites here. Colour wise I try to match what’s neutral or natural in the waterway.

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VIBES AND LIPLESS :

If targeting Redfin the method most used here apart from trolling and gudgeon fishing the bottom, some great results have gone to the hard workers who persist with blades and cranks over the weed beds. I personally rig with singles for this purpose as trebles will most times result in weed fouling which ruins lure actions and reduces your chances of a hook up. Sounding these fish up prior will also be an advantage, sitting off them and working to the marks. The colder months are the best time to run this method as the bigger girls will respond aggressively if they feel threatened or intimidated by the noisy intruder ! May to August are the best months to target the big fish and working deeper water and weed beds should see you connect to some of the 3kg monsters Fyans is known for.

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BANK OPTIONS:

Many great fish are landed from the banks of Fyans but conditions have to be favourable, with winds anywhere from north east to north west providing tail winds that make the wall area a more than viable option. Access is via a made dirt road named Kelleys Beach road and stairways at intervals lead to the best spots. Late afternoon the bigger trout cruise the wall herding baitfish for an easy feed. Mudeyes, plastics, tassie Devils and celtas would be my choice here for best returns. Worms and power bait have also been successful at times on the rainbows but the bigger Browns can’t resist a well presented mudeye!

REGION:

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Lake Bellfield:  Within a short 5 minute drive, south of Halls Gap there is also the well known Lake Bellfield that holds some lovely big Browns and rainbows as well as blackfish and Redfin but the surprise packet here down the track will be the emergence of Chinook salmon stocked over the last few years.

Lake Wartook: From Halls Gap a 20 minute drive up through the winding and steep terrain Wartook emerges on your right nestled into a steep valley. Browns and rainbow trout dominate the catches here but it also holds a large population of Redfin with some around the 2 kg mark being taken of late.

Methods for these two lakes are as per the Lake Fyans details above with Bellfield being an electric motor only prospect for all boating. With most of the Wimmera being in a semi drought scenario and lakes being low and dropping extreme caution should be used due to stumps and submerged trees whilst motoring. Anyone visiting the region feel free to contact me for up to date reports on these lakes at:

Facebook: Victorian Inland Charters or give me a call on 0438132130.

Facebook: Victorian Inland Charters or give me a call on 0438132130.

Trevor Holmes

About Trevor Holmes

Trevor has a lifetime of experience with both freshwater and saltwater fishing. He offers you a relaxed attitude, great humour and willingness to pass on tips and techniques. Trevor is a fully accredited Coxwain and operates a fully compliant and insured craft. http://www.victorianinlandcharters.com.au/

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