Fishing Moorabool Reservoir

  • Author: Ted Jones
  • Date: October 21, 2023

Fishing Moorabool Reservoir

Welcome to the Moorabool Reservoir Fishing Guide. In this article we will cover what lure, bait and fly to use, as well as fishing tips, map and information about the lake.

The Moorabool Reservoir is a great place for fishing and popular with fly fisherman and has some amazing mayfly hatches. It would have to be one of my favourite places to fish with the fly.

Some anglers have stated, it can be one of the best fishing spot for trout at times for central Victorian waters.

Moorabool Reservoir Fishing

Moorabool Reservoir Fishing for redfin on fly

The Moorabool Reservoir, is located on Spargo Creek Road at Bolwarrah in Victoria.

It has some nice bays and dog legs for fishing with several creeks coming off the lake.

Good size brown trout and rainbow trout are available, as well as some nice redfin fishing.

The water is generally clear, but the water levels can fluctuate in summer and the weed can be annoying.

Weed beds are abundant in some sections, which is great for food and cover for the fish.

Brown trout caught on inline spinner


Fishing access is through the front main entrance and also several pedestrian access points around the lake. There is a long walk through the plantation of pine trees for most entry points.

You can Polaroid the fish cruising by occasionally when conditions are right. So make sure you wear some Polaroid sunglasses and a wide brim hat to help reduce the glare.

The dam wall is closed off to fishing.

The Moorabool Reservoir is looked after by the Central Highlands Water.


What Fish Are In The Moorabool Reservoir?

brown trout caught at Moorabool Reservoir

Brown trout and rainbow trout are stocked regularly by the VFA (Victorian Fishing Authority – Thank you.)

Redfin (English Perch) can be at times, good fishing.


Fly Fishing At The Moorabool Reservoir

Depending on the water levels, wind direction and access points, it can be a long walk to find some good bays. But worth it, if you find fish actively feeding.

Keep an eye out for swallows and seagulls feeding on insects in the calm bays, which may also be a good indicator of trout feeding as well.

As the water is normally clear, a longer leader and long tippet might be worth trying.

The black or brown nymph is a proven fly for many waters and is no exception at the Moorabool.

If no fish are rising, a search pattern like a woolly bugger, fur fly, fuzzy wuzzy, or Mrs Simpson might be worth a cast.

Nymph damselfly patterns are also worth changing too.

Mayfly "dun" just hatching

For dry fly patterns, it is hard to go past the March Brown patterns or similar when the duns are hatching (as above photo) and the trout are actively taking them on top. Emerger fly patterns like the possum emerger, parachute duns and the shaving brush are worth tying on.

Beetle patterns for the warm evening are worth casting when there is some fish activity on the surface.

Check the water, water’s edge, weeds and grass to see what the fish might be taking.

Muddler minnows, Alexandra, fur fly, mudeye patterns and Craig’s Night Time can be fished at dusk, night time or even as a search pattern during the day.


Bait Fishing

A 2-4 kg light rod with around a 6 pound monofilament line would be adequate. Or braid with a leader.  A 2000 or 2500 reel would also match the set up.

A mudeye under a float can be very good and perhaps the most effective bait to use on trout.

It is also hard to go past the good old fashion bunch of worms on a bubble float or sinker.

Corn, Powerbait, yabbies, maggots are all bait to try.

For warm nights, grasshoppers and crickets, on or a float or light unweighted gear are worth throwing out on a greased line.


What Lure To Use At The Moorabool Reservoir

Lure fishing at the Mororabool Reservoir

Suspended minnows can keep you above the weed beds and avoid the snags and weed. I like the Berkley Pro-Tech Jerk 60mm suspended minnow, or the Hawk Sniper 60mm suspended minnow.

My son likes the Black Magic BMax 50mm slow sinking / suspended minnow.

The bent minnow for early morning, night and evening when the ripples and wave action are a bit rougher is worth casting. For alternative bent minnow lure options, click on – OSP Bent Minnow Lure Alternatives

Sections of weed can be annoying at the Moorabool, but are good areas to fish. With a bit of moving up and down the lake edge, you can locate some structure and features to fish around. Soft plastics are worth a flick around these areas.

Spinner baits and chatterbaits for redfin are effective in the warmer months. And they can catch trout as well.

A monofilament line around 6 lb or heavier 8lb braid combined with a long fluorocarbon leader can work on a 2 – 4 kg spinning rod.

Here are some lures / soft plastics to consider using:

  • OPS bent minnow 76mm
  • Hawk Sniper 60mm suspended minnow
  • Tassie Devil in both large and small sizes
  • Tasmanian Devil spoons
  • Bullet Lure 5cm Five-0 Minnow slow sinking / suspended rattle
  • Daiwa Double Clutch 48mm
  • Pegron Minnow 65MM Spoon
  • Hurricane Lure Switch 66 Bent minnow
  • Berkley Pro-Tech Bender 76mm
  • Berkley Pro-Tech Jerk 60mm suspended minnow
  • Black Magic BMax 50mm slow sinking / suspended minnow
  • Z-Man soft plastic 2.5 inch curly tail grub
  • Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch minnow
  • Rapala Original floating
  • Strike Pro Bob N Spoon
  • Mepps Aglia Inline Spinner
  • Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner Lure
  • Atomic Hardz Jerk Minnow 65 Suspend
  • Gillies Wobbler

A lot of these hard body lures, spoons, inline spinners and soft plastics are available from your local fishing tackle stores, BCF and Anaconda.


I haven’t tried it yet, but I would love to use a Z-Man finesse 2.75 inch frog at night, fished over the weed beds when the wind is rough.

When the trout are feeding on insects like mayflies, it can be frustrating experience for the lure fisherman, as sometimes the fish lock on one food source.

Just recently there were several fish feeding close by and despite tying to temp them with a juicy suspended jerk bait, they wouldn’t look at it. (I switched to the fly rod and landed a nice brown trout within five minutes. Caught on a dry fly March Brown imitation pattern.) But if you keep persisting the trout can be fooled eventually…sometimes. Experiment with a smaller lure, retrieved faster, or slower and mix things up. Try a small soft plastic like the Trout Magnet or Strike Tiger 1” nymph.


Moorabool Reservoir Fishing Tips

Redfin on lure

Be prepared to do some walking around the bays to find some fish activity.

Small bays, points, weed beds, rock beds, submerged timber and drop offs are worth fishing around or in.

Even when the trout are rising and feeding frequently, it can be frustrating fishing here. Persistence and hours put on the water will help turn the tables in your favour. (Sorry there is no free lunch.)

Polaroid sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat help cut the glare and spot subtle fish rising in the ripples.

Have some spare lighter leader material like 4 lb, 5 lb fluorocarbon as the water can be crystal clear and the fish can be fussy.

Double check the wind direction and strength, as some bays can be unfishable in windy weather. Which is annoying if you have to walk back a fair way to the car.

Make sure to bring a headlamp or torch when fishing in the evening as the tall pine trees can disorient you walking back to the car and make the track very dark.

It can get very cold if the wind changes and late afternoon, so bring a warm jacket and beanie.

It is advisable not to wear shorts during summer, as the blackberry bushes, poison hemlock, mosquitos and potential snakes are around.

Please do the right thing and take your rubbish home.


How Do You Get To The Moorabool Reservoir?

Moorabool Reservoir map

Situated at Bolwarrah, the main entrance and picnic grounds at the lake is located on the south side, via Spargo Creek Road. Turn off the Western Freeway, at Ormond Road at Wallace.

The Moorabool is around 25 minutes’ drive from Ballarat.

From Melbourne central, the Moorabool Reservoir is around a 1 hour and 20 minutes’ drive, depending on where you live and traffic.

For Geelong anglers, it is around 90 km drive.

Daylesford is a short 25 minutes trip to the lake.

From Bendigo it is about 100 km away.


What Other Fishing Spots Are Close By?

If the conditions at the Moorabool are no good, here are some other trout fishing options, which are reasonably close by:

Lake Wendouree is around 25 minutes’ drive from the Moorabool Reservoir. Visit – Lake Wendouree Fishing At Ballarat | Beginners Guide

Hepburn Lagoon is located about 26 km away. For more information on what tackle to use, click on – Hepburn Lagoon Fishing Guide

Newlyn’s Reservoir is also only a short 21km drive.

For a family fishing lake, you have Lake Esmond located in Ballarat.  Visit – Fishing Lake Esmond at Ballarat

Also Victoria Park Lakes is another family fishing lake at Ballarat, and is 28 km away. For what tackle to use, click on – Fishing Vic Park

Pyke’s Creek Reservoir at Myrniong on the Western Highway is a short 32 km away. Which also has yellowbelly (golden perch) and Murray cod stocked in it

Daylesford Lake and Jubilee Lake is around 25 minutes’ drive.

The Bostock reservoir near Ballan, is about 25 km away. For fishing info on the lake, visit – Fishing Bostock Reservoir


Fishing Moorabool Reservoir YouTube Videos


Can You Put A Boat On The Moorabool Reservoir?

Boating is not allowed, as it is a reservoir supply. You can’t put an unpowered boat or kayak on it either.


BBQ area at Moorabool Reservoir

There is a nice picnic area with a couple of rotundas and BBQ area.

The toilet block is well maintained and normally clean.

There are no dogs allowed in the park.

You have a lovely cottage that is available for hire for functions that is on the lake.

Cottage at Moorabool Reservoir for function hire


Bolwarrah town


Lodge and gardens at Moorabool Reservoir


Can You Swim At The Lake?

There is no swimming allowed at the lake.


What Wildlife Is There?

Abundant water birds and birds are around the lake.

Beware that in spring and summer there can be snakes around the lake, so be mindful were you step.

snake at Moorabool Reservoir while fishing


Rabbits, the odd wallaby and kangaroo also get around the lake.

Sections of poison hemlock (it looks like fine shiny green bracken fern) are located around the lake, so try not to touch it. Otherwise you can get a rash from it.



Moorabool reservoir park
Trout fishing at the Moorabool Reservoir

Fishing at Moorabool Reservoir is a great place for the fly fisherman, lure and bait angler. But be prepared to walk and search for the fish.

Some of the best freshwater fishing in Victoria at times, the Moorabool has some great insect hatches and healthy big brown trout chasing them.

Nice brown trout


Author Craig “Howie”