The Central Highlands are home to a great range of fishing options for fishers intent on targeting native and introduced freshwater species. From large lakes and lowland rivers to trophy trout waters, this region has wide appeal for fishers of all abilities and access initiatives have provided extensive opportunities for kayak-based fishers especially.
Golden perch, or ‘yellas’, thrive in a variety of locations but especially in shallower warmer waters where they provide good fishing for more months in the year - a prime example of this being Lake Eppalock. The region's blend of stocking and natural recruitment of golden perch means significant variance in size classes. For the more determined, 'old stock' yellas provide some true trophy sized catches. More consistent catches of fish around 1.5 kilograms are available, and make for great eating.
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The impression that Murray cod only inhabit deep, slow flowing rivers is incorrect! Cod thrive in a variety of situations and can be found in the very same water as trout. The Central Highlands has a range of options to target cod from rivers in their natural range, in addition to newer impoundment fisheries that rely completely on stocking. The emerging fisheries and increased access for kayaks and boats will provide great opportunities for fishers no longer needing to travel as far to tangle with cod. Fish in the legal slot limit are fast becoming a regular catch and anticipation of regular meteries is making fishers salivate with anticipation, knowing they won’t need to cross the state to get a great cod-fix.
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Brown and rainbow trout
Trout often evoke strong passionate responses from fishers. They are regarded as smart, exotic, and sometimes aristocratic fish. The Central Highlands has good populations of mostly brown trout, predominantly through lake stockings by the VFA, as well as smaller, self-sustaining populations considered wild in the headwaters of some rivers and creeks. Tullaroop Reservoir provides another great location with trophy sized brown trout, which are a fantastic target for the dedicated fisher, and lakes like Wendouree in Ballarat provide unique metro opportunities and great fishing.
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Redfin, fondly known as ‘reddies’, are prolific in southern Australia and have been a prime species in the Central Highlands, particularly when fishing for other species has been tough due to drought. They can be caught year-round, with warmer weather seeing big ravenous schools on the move - often around submerged trees or out from rocky points in lakes. Delicious to eat, relatively easy to catch on basic gear, taking lures and bait, and with no bag limit, it's no surprise reddies are a popular fish to catch.
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