With all the rivers and streams across Australia closed to trout fishing at this time of year, the only way to get your trout fishing fix will be to visit one of the many freshwater lakes throughout VIC, NSW and Tassie.
There are quite a few techniques to try when fishing for lake trout, so to keep this article short I will only run through some of the basic ones. It is important to try and work out what technique the fish may be interested in on any given day, so varying what you do until you work this out will generally be the key.
Casting edges is one of my favourite ways to target lake trout, it can be a exciting way to fish especially if you can sight cast fish in the shallows, sipping duns off the surface or see them busting up bait hard against the bank.
Trout are generally mooching around the edges for one thing and one thing only, searching for food. If you can get your lure in close enough proximity to a cruising trout you have the best chance of actually catching it.
Edges also hold a lot of structure and places for bait to hold, which in turn brings in the predators.
Edges as a general rule are best targeted in low light conditions, early and late, or potentially all day if there is some ripple on the water and its overcast.
A whole book could be written just on the art of trolling, so I will try and just cover a few basics to get you started. Trolling is one of my least favourite ways to chase any fish, as I am more of an active angler and trolling for trout can be a bit more of a relaxed way to fish.
Trolling is a good way to cover ground to find fish, and also to put a good spread of lures out to see what the fish might want on a particular day, or at what depth they may be holding.
A good basic starting point would be to put out 3 lures, all running slightly different depths. For lake trout I personally like to run long minnow style hardbody lures ranging from 50mm through to 110mm, but plenty of other styles will work too.
Start with the shallowest lures running the furthest from the boat, so something like a tassie devil, Daiwa presso minnow 6F, or one of the Daiwa TD minnows. These can be anywhere from 20 – 40m behind the boat.
Then your deeper running lures like you Daiwa Double clutches 60 and Tournament Spikes 53SP a bit closer to the boat. This will help stop tangles when the boat turns.
Keep an eye on the sounder as sometimes trout like to hang deeper in and around a thermocline, or at a specific depth, this is where you may need a downrigger to target these fish.
Vary your trolling speed also, as sometimes fish love a really fast (5-6km/h) troll, but this may not be suitable for some of your deeper diving lures. Yet other days a slower (3-4km/h) is what will do the trick, again variation is the key.
Targeting Shallow Bays/Weed beds
Another great area to target for active fish is shallow bays and weed beds, and these do not always correspond with lake edges so keep that in mind. Again trout love these areas as they hold all the little critters trout love to eat, baitfish, yabbies, mudeyes etc. So if the trout are in these areas they are looking for a feed and will happily smash a lure if it resembles one of these food items.
For lake trout I always tend to use longer minnow style hardbody lures and soft plastics. They tend to match the size and shape of the bait found in the lakes down here in the Vic. Daiwa’s Presso Minnow 6F, 60 and 75mm Double clutches and TD silent minnows are all great representations of these baitfish and with a good range of sizes and colours available you are able to always match the bait as best as possible.
Trout generally prefer a constant retrieve with no pauses, and a straight wind will work fine most of the time. Personally I like to impart a bit of action to my retrieve with a jerky retrieve, as the extra movement can sometime trigger a bite and not just a follow. We always mix it up though until we start catching fish.
There is a huge number of Lakes in Southern Australia to be able to target trout in, so put your winter warmers on and get out there!