Winter Lake Fishing Tips for Victoria

You will find a wealth of winter fishing information on the Manic Blog, because we have such a wickedly good bunch of Manic Mates from all over Australia and New Zealand to tap into. One such legend is Chris Schrueder from Wilderness Fly Fishing and Millbrook Lakes.



Winter is a great time to hit the lakes. The cooler temps and lower light conditions can bring the trout from deep into the shallows and can sometimes concentrate them into certain areas that I have outlined below.

During winter in lakes that don’t have spawning streams available, you sometimes see trout jumping high into the air. More often than not, this is because they are trying to release eggs to avoid becoming egg bound. As fly anglers we can fish egg patterns such as the orange Manic Glo Bug under an indicator as the released eggs are a great food source during winter for opportunistic feeders.

Manic Glo Bug Fishing Fly

 Glo Bug Orange/Brite Red | Manic Fly Collection

Rocky banks and bays near rocky or gravel lined shores can often see trout who are looking for spawning areas congregate if no suitable spawning streams exist. They can also shore or false spawn in these areas, meaning they rub themselves on the gravel to release eggs therefore become a food source. Bays where there is an inflow coming in are also excellent areas of the lake to target as they can attract numbers of fish.

 Winter Fly Fishing Victoira

Trout become keyed into bright UV reflective colours such as pink, orange and chartreuse during winter. Blobs can be extremely effective at this time of year, as can bright beaded streamers such as the WFF Dime Bag. If you’re comfortable casting two streamers, then putting a brightly coloured fly (pink, gold or red body & tail) on the top dropper and a more natural streamer (olive, black etc) on the point can be a good strategy. Sometimes trout are attracted by the gaudy fly but take the more subtle one. However, if they are in the right mood they will smash the bright fly. 

WFF's Dimebag natural fishing fly

WFF's Dimebag - Black | Manic Fly Collection

Water temps in winter can get very low and affect feeding habits, so trying different retrieve speeds is very important as sometimes they won't want to chase a fly that's moving too fast. However, if they start chasing baitfish in the shallows (smelting) – particularly at first light, then a fast retrieve can also be effective. If in doubt, mix it up.

 Winter Fly Fishing Victoria

Trout, especially browns, can become very aggressive during winter. Whilst guiding I have seen large brown trout attack smaller rainbows that the client has hooked and is trying to land. Fishing a large articulated streamer such as a Snake or a Sex Dungeon can trigger a reaction bite from a monster when they are behaving like this.

 Sex Dungeon Natural Manic Fly Collection

Galloup's Sex Dungeon Natural | Manic Fly Collection

 Snake Olive Fishing Fly

Snake Olive | Manic Fly Collection

Insect activity slows down in winter but midge are a great year round food source. Blood worm flies and midge buzzers fished either with a very slow figure 8 retrieve or under an indicator on a floating fly line can prove deadly. I often fish a buzzer on the point and a glo bug or small blob on the dropper which can be an attractor or taken as an egg. 

 Robs Red Head Midge Fishing Fly

Rob's Redhead Midge | Manic Fly Collection

 Tiger Trout Victoria Winter Fly Fishing

The numbers of fish to the net in winter can be lower but the opportunity of nailing a larger fish keeps me going back for more.

Rug up and get out there!

Winter Fly Fishing Victoria



About the Author:  Chris Schrueder is a full time guide for Millbrook Lakes and Wilderness Fly Fishing. 

Millbrook Lakes is a guided year round private fishery with 27 lakes containing brown, rainbow and tiger trout, situated an hour from Melbourne.

We offer single day and multi-day packages for individuals, clubs, corporate groups and social groups including guiding, fly fishing gear, catering and accommodation if required.

Instagram: @tubbsflyfish

All images: Chris Schrueder