The 2017 Lake Wendouree Two Fly, hosted by the Ballarat Fly Fishers Club and exclusively sponsored by Hurley’s Fly Fishing, was held on 25-26 March. With lake and weather conditions looking the best since the competition was established in 2015, 34 flyfishers from Ballarat, Bendigo and Melbourne gathered with the expectation of some great fishing on the iconic Lake Wendouree.
The Lake Wendouree Two Fly is a unique competition where flyfishers can only use two flies for the weekend. The twist is they are randomly allocated their two flies to use from those submitted by each flyfisher! While the flies are vetted prior to being submitted, there’s always plenty of anticipation to see what flies you’ll be allocated. Will it be a combination of a Magoo, Woolly Bugger, Coral pattern, Tom Jones or a Lake Wendouree specialist fly from one of the locals?
Recently, there had been plenty of fish moving around, either taking duns or smelt. When the gun went off, flyfishers moved off to various areas of the lake to try out their allocated flies. Early results were encouraging with good numbers of both rainbows and browns recorded. Allan Townsend was out of the blocks early with a lovely 41cm rainbow.
Royce Baxter then landed and recorded a 48cm brown. As with previous events, there were some hard luck stories of lost flies and lost big fish. Doug Kimberley is making it an annual tradition to drop a fantastic brown at the side of the boat!
While the fish were being registered right across the lake, a band of Ballarat members led by Andrew Borg were making sure that the BBQ lunch was ready for the hungry anglers. In fact, Andrew and his team did a fantastic job over both days delivering a BBQ lunch as well as bacon and eggs on Sunday morning. When you combine the brekky, lunches and a catered sit down dinner on Saturday night (which are all included in the entry fee) there certainly weren’t any flyfishers going hungry over the weekend!
At the end of day one, there were around 20 fish registered on the scoreboard. Gordon Whatley lead with a lovely 53cm brown. Vern Barby had a great afternoon, registering six fish, the biggest being a 41cm rainbow.
The gala dinner on Saturday night was a great opportunity for everyone to relax with a great meal and a couple of drinks, reminiscing over flies used and fish lost! The evening ended with the chance to grab a fantastic prize from the raffle. Thanks again to our exclusive sponsor, Gavin Hurley from Hurleys Fly Fishing, for supporting our event and providing some great raffle prizes. The proceeds from the raffle go towards supporting those club members who represent our club in national flyfishing teams.
Sunday morning arrived with great promise, with a ripple on the water and good cloud cover – perfect conditions for Lake Wendouree. Again, the fish were on the move early, with more excellent trout registered on the scorecards. However, as the morning wore on, the cloud lifted and the wind dropped to make conditions difficult.
As the finish time approached and the flyfishers returned to the club house to report their catches, anticipation was high, particularly from Gordon Whatley who had caught the 53cm brown on Saturday! When all the fish were recorded, Gordon was crowned the winner and duly presented with the Jim Thomas memorial trophy by Greg Armstrong, BFFC President, and the fantastic Stalker Glide fly rod by Trevor Martin from Hurley’s Fly Fishing. Gordon caught the winning fish on a fly entered by Gary McKay – a black nymph variant. By providing the winning fly, Gary received the handmade bull-oak pen, once again provided and crafted by Jeff Willey.
Overall 33 trout were recorded, 16 rainbow trout (lengths from 34-45cm) and 17 brown trout (31-53cm) with 22 of the 34 flyfishers registering fish for the weekend.
A special thanks to all the BFFC members who helped over the weekend to make the 2017 Lake Wendouree Two Fly a great success, from both a fishing and social perspective.
As one of the visiting flyfishers from Melbourne said, “Where else would you get two days of great flyfishing on one of the state’s iconic flyfishing waters, with all meals catered for and based at one of the best flyfishing clubrooms in Australia? When you throw in the raffle and the great format, all for $50, it’s a wonder that you don’t have to turn away flyfishers from entering the competition!” – Lake Wendouree Two FlyReads: 737