Welcome to the Lake Toolondo Fishing Guide. Lake Toolondo is located northeast of the Grampians between the townships of Hamilton and Horsham. The lake back in the 80s was recognised as a suitable place to build an amazing trout hatchery and for many years brown trout have been stocked and flourished. The lake, however, has been heavily featured in the press over the last couple of years due to drought. This has seen low water levels making the lake inaccessible and at times almost unfishable. The lake forms part of the Wimmera-Mallee Stock and Domestic water supply and is filled from Rocklands Reservoir currently sitting around 40% water capacity. However, a massive credit to local anglers for providing a voice has seen backing by the state government which started a campaign with much water pumped back into the system and hopefully in years to come the lake will once again flourish. In its prime, it offered great boating, skiing, kayaking and swimming.
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In January 2015, 5000-megalitres of water was transferred to Toolondo Reservoir. Attempting to bring this lake back to its former glory and thankfully we have seen some improvement. The true beauty about Lake Toloondo is that it has trophy-size brown trout there is also large redfin and a large volume of structure for fish to hide making it a great fishing location.
Things to do Lake Toolondo
You can stay for a weekend away at the Wash tomorrow Caravan Park which is located at Telangatuk East Road, Toolondo. This is located in a rural bush setting and provides basic amenities, BBQs and facilities for powered and unpowered sites. There are boat ramps at either side of the lake but have been unusable in recent years due to drought and poor water levels. The lake is a great area for swimming, water skiing and kayaking. There is no camping allowed near the lake but there are also close by caravan parks which make it a great destination for a weekend getaway.
Watch our detailed video guide on our top 10 redfin lures below
Fishing Lake Toolondo
At Lake Toolondo you can catch
- brown trout
- rainbow trout
Lake Toolondo has mud and sandy bottom and is a great fishing destination for trout, redfin and carp. In fact, there are some massive trout over 8 kilos in size that have been pulled from Toolondo and are widely considered an amazing trout fishery. It is however a tough fishing location due to the high volume of weed and timber stricture making certain fishing methods incredibly challenging.
Effective fishing techniques include trolling hard-bodied lures in the deeper channels and casting hard-bodied lures, soft plastics and surface lures along the shallows and banks. We would highly recommend when fishing here concentrate your time and effort casting lures towards and suspending baits hard up against the visible structure and depth changes. With many of the largest fish often caught amongst the timber. The trick here is to present a lure or bait and tempt the bigger ones out of the structure they are residing in for a reaction strike.
Fly fishing is a good option at Toolondo along the shallows and a great way to temp a big trout. If bait fishing Scrub worms, earthworms, Power bait, yabbies, mudeye and mayfly nymph are good options. This is a great spot for trolling tassie devils and shallow diving hard body lures. It’s also a great spot for and a wide range of soft plastics. Click here to see our best lures and plastics when targeting Redfin. Any time of day, though some fish will be more active at Dawn and Dusk.
In recent years carp numbers have increased in the lake and locals have gone to great efforts to rid the lake of as many carp as possible. In fact, thanks to electrofishing methods 6 tonnes of carp were removed.
Lake Toolondo Boat Ramp access
There are two boat ramps at the Nothern end of Hamilton Road. Including boat launching, toilets and nearby camping facilities and caravan parks. You can also fish the lake casting of the banks however the best access is via boat or kayak.
Lake Toolondo Gear selection
Good gear selection here would include a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 size reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. Do be mindful that some big trout and redfin can be caught here so you may choose to fish slightly heavier. Trolling Tassie Devils, stump jumpers and minnow imitations such as the Daiwa double clutch at different depths. We have also had great success fishing with a range of soft plastics & lures. Click here to see our best lures & plastics to catch redfin.
If bait fishing Mudeye, live minnow and powerbait on a float is a great choice when targeting trout. Other good options include scrub worms and yabbies. I would do so using a very simple running sinker rig with a small hook or treble, and a small pea size sinker. Berleying an isolated area and fishing that one spot is also a great idea when bait fishing.
Recommended fishing lures Lake Toolondo
- Tasmanian Devil Blade
- Daiwa Double Clutch
- Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch grub
- Tasmanian Devil lure
- Gulp 3 inch minnow
- Zman 2.5 inch grub
- Dawia Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
- Zerek fish trap
- eco gear ZX40
- Savage Gear Fathead crank shallow diving
- stump jumpers
Recommended baits Lake Toolondo
- Scrub worms
- live minnow
Targeting Redfin at Lake Toolondo
We recommend targeting redfin with a light spin outfit. This will make the experience more enjoyable and improve your catch rates. A 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 2000, 2500 or 3000 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader should be perfect.
Redfin respond really well to lures and soft plastics so do check our guide on the best lures for catching Redfin When using soft plastics, we highly recommend curl tails, minnow imitations, and paddle tails in both natural and bright colours. Rigged with a jig head that’s 1/8 through to 1/20 in weight. The most effective way to use these is to cast towards visible structure and slow roll the soft plastic with lifts and pauses for the retrieve.
Shallow diving hard body lures, blades and vibes are also very effective in this system. So are traditional spinners and Tassie devils in bright colours. Metal spoons also play a role allowing you to cast great distances and targeting the bigger size reddies. Just remember they are quite heavy and very prone to snags in small inland systems like this one.
Targeting Trout at Lake Toolondo
We would highly recommend that you read our detailed guide on how to catch trout which details our favourite lures, baits and techniques. You can follow trout stocking timelines by reading the Victorian trout stocking guide as part of the target 1 million by 2020 and 10 million by 2022 initiatives.
When targeting trout with lures we recommend using shallow diving hard body minnows, metal spoons, spinners, Tassie devils and soft plastics which are also very effective on trout. If your bait fishing, then Mudeye, scrub worms, power bait, yabbies and minnows suspended from a float or a running sinker rig are great options when targeting trout at this location. Trout are more active in cold conditions with most catches on the first and last light of the day.
We recommend targeting trout with a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 1000, 2000, or 2500 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. If there are larger trophy size trout around than you can go heavier moving up the scale to a 3-5 kilo class spin rod spooled with fine 8-12-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader.
We conducted a test to see which would perform better for stocked trout powerbait or lures. Watch the video below to find out the results which were interesting.
Targeting Carp at Lake Toolondo
There is a large volume of carp in local lakes however they are fun to catch and you can learn more about catching carp have a read of our detailed guide to carp fishing around Victoria. When targeting carp standard baits such as corn, bread, maggots work great for carp here. Using a simple running sinker rig with a pea-size sinker works great in this area. So, does suspending baits using a float. We have also fished well using unweighted baits. You can also target carp with hard body lures and soft plastics. This is a difficult technique that generally requires sight casting. Which means spotting a nearby carp and casting right in there are and working the lure of plastic slowly hoping they will strike. Its tough but very rewarding when you catch a carp using this method. Most however will stick to targeting them with bait.
For rod selection, a 3-5 kilo rod coupled with a 4000 size reel is very suitable. You could even fish a little heavier with rods designed for snapper that are generally 4-7 kilo 7 foot in length. For fun I have caught some monster size carp using 2-4 kilo rod and 6-pound braid. But I am prepared to lose some good fish in the process. We like to target carp on sundown particularity in the warmer months. This is often when you see carp swimming along the edges or jumping out of the water around September-November which is their spawning season. European carp must not be returned to the water. Always carry your Victorian fishing license.
A simple yet effective fishing rig here is to thread a small running sinker through the mainline shown in blue, which is usually around 8 pounds. Then tie a medium swivel to the end allowing the sinker to run up the mainline freely. Then tie on the other end of the swivel 50cm of 8-pound fluorocarbon leader (the leader is shown in grey ). Finished with a hook. I generally use a size 6 bait keeper hook or size 10 long shank which is perfect for corn kernels or scrub worms, however, you can also use small treble style hooks which is a better setup if you using bread.
If your getting snagged up than you can also use a flot rig. Attach a quill or bubble float to your mainline. Thread the line through and adjust the length using a size 6 bait keeper hook or size 10 long shank keep your bait suspended at a good depth. Ideally cast down breeze which will stop the float from coming back to you. If you’re not getting bites then adjust the line depth and If necessary add a splint shot to add weight.
All rural areas are inhabited by wildlife such as Snakes and Lizards, so be wary of venomous snakes such as Brown, Tiger and Red-bellied Black.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. the header from visitgrampians.com.au All other images and videos shown on the Lake Toolondo Fishing Guide page are Fishing Mad originals.
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