When Hepburn Lagoon is firing, it is a fantastic place to fish for good size rainbows and brown trout.
In this Hepburn Lagoon Fishing Guide we will cover what lure, bait and fly to use, as well as tips and information for fishing the lake. We also include how to access the lake and where to launch for kayak fishing.
Fishing Hepburn Lagoon
Before we get into the finer details, here is some information on the lake and the fishing.
Hepburn Lagoon is situated north around 8 km from the town of Newlyn in Victoria. Or about 5 km east from Kingstown.
Hepburn Lagoon also used to be called and known as Anderson’s Lagoon by anglers.
The weed at Hepburn Lagoon can be an issue, especially in the drier summer months, as water levels can change a lot.
The west side is hilly and the deeper side. On this side, you can even Polaroid a fish or two.
Even when wading, when the conditions are right you can sometimes sight fish cruising by in the clear water, which is exciting fishing.
When the days are overcast days with some ripples or light waves, Hepburn Lagoon is hard to go past for fishing around the Ballarat or Central Highlands area.
There is a rock wall on the south side, near the south east side entrance, which can be good fishing as well. (The farmer goes over this rock wall track with his tractor, so don’t leave any fishing gear sticking out on the track.)
The lake is very fertile with lots of food and weed for the trout to thrive and hide.
Langons Creek runs to the south side of the lake, near the rock wall and over the overspill.
The east side has a nice little weedy bay with a creek.
Currently there is a 3 trout bag limit at the lake. Rainbow or brown trout included and combined. On the signage on the fence at Hepburn, the trout have to be over 45 cm. (Do the right thing and abide by the rules.) Consider catch and release for all size fish.
Hepburn Lagoon in the last few years, has just recently been opened up to kayaks, canoes and small boats. (Electric motors only.) Thank you minister for boats and fishing, this opens up fishing options.
Part of the lake has sheep tracks around it; these tracks can get muddy and slippery, so watch your step on the hilly sides.
Hepburn Lagoon can get very windy and cold quickly because of the open size of the lake. So take a spare jacket and beanie just in case the weather changes.
The lake can occasionally get blue green algae.
What Fish Are In Hepburn Lagoon?
Rainbow trout and brown trout to big trophy sizes are in the lake.
There have been some big whoppers caught there over the years.
The VFA (Victorian Fisheries Authority) stock it with a mix of brown trout and rainbow generally yearly.
Redfin, carp and tench are also in the lake.
Above photo: Redfin (English Perch) on lure.
Because of the good condition of the fish, with plenty of feed available, the plump rainbows fight amazingly well. There were a few times I thought I had a monster fish on because of their great condition, but is was smaller size trout.
What Fishing Bait To Use At Hepburn Lagoon?
Here mudeyes drifted out under a float or quill can be effective. Worms, Powerbait and corn on a thin leader, under a float are worth trying.
A lot of sections of the lake have green slime weed on the bottom, which can cover your bait, so a running sinker rig may not be the best option. However there are some spots a light sinker will work or a paternoster rig. Or put a small float near the bait to keep the bait above the weed, with the sinker.
On warm nights, crickets, grasshoppers on lighter gear can be fun, but be prepared for a good fight.
Because of the numerous weed and potential for bigger fish, I would go with a minimum of a 6lb leader. I use 7 lb or 8 lb at night and prefer the heavier poundage line for most trips, especially if it is windy and rough.
If the fish are finicky or very calm flat clear conditions, go for a thinner fluorocarbon leader.
What Lures To Use?
Of an early morning or night time with windy conditions, it is hard to go past a bent minnow fished in the bays. When you cast it out, let if float for a few seconds to several seconds, then twitch the rod tip sideways for 3 pulls while winding in the slack line. Then let the lure sit for a few seconds, then repeat the sideways twitch, wind and pause. The bent minnow has great wounded baitfish action and keeps above the weed on the shallow sides of the lake.
Suspended minnows work well for the shallow weedy areas.
The Rapala floating, Rapala X-Rap suspending and Daiwa Double Clutch minnow in smaller sizes are also effective for the lure fisherman.
Soft plastics, in assorted weighted jig heads can work well. However there is a lot of slime on the bottom of the lake, so try and keep just above it and the weed tops.
Below image: Rainbow trout caught on a soft plastic 2 1/2 inch curly tail grub.
You can use the hop and retrieve method with soft plastics along the south wall for trout and redfin.
Small chatterbaits and small spinnerbaits can be effective along the wall for redfin and trout will attack them as well. If the water is a bit murkier, these are worth trying.
The old standard Wobbler lures and inline spinners like Jensen, Celta and Mepps work well. So you are not casting a big heavy lure, scaring the fish away in the clear water, have a few smaller sizes for use when the water is calmer.
The Tassie Devil inline spinner in the pink panther colour is one of my favourites. You can buy it in the 13.5 gram size or the lighter and smaller 7 gram size. Which the lighter one is ideal for calmer conditions and shallower spots.
Long fluorocarbon leaders are worth using, as the water can be crystal clear at times.
Fly Fishing At Hepburn Lagoon
Because of the good size fish, sections of shallow water and plenty of insects and aquatic food, Hepburn Lagoon is a popular fly fishing spot.
Use the normal flies that you have confidence in. Popular assorted search flies, wet, dry fly and nymph patterns work well, like:
- Woolly Bugger
- Craig’s Night Time
- The Magoo Fly
- Brown nymph
- Black nymph
- Mrs Simpson
- Damselfly nymph imitations
- Mudeye patterns like the fur fly
- Muddler minnow
- Emerger patterns
- Mayfly patterns
- Red Tag
- Midge patterns and midge balls
- Stick caddis imitations
For fishing the west side, watch your back cast, as the slope of hills and can be annoying.
Have a few weighted flies for the deeper side, to get you down deeper, if no surface activity is about.
Be prepared to walk a fair section of the lake, looking for feeding fish. Don’t just stick to the one area, fish, search and move on. Hepburn Lagoon has some nice mayfly hatches.
It can be hard to spot fish feeding in rough conditions, but keep your eyes open. While it can be annoying to fish against the wind, sometimes the fish will feed on the insects being blown onto shore. If the wind is too bad, find a bay, or wade and angle the cast parallel or towards the bank.
For Polaroiding, use a wide brimmed hat and have the sun ideally at your back.
Check the froth / foam lines washed up onto the bank to see what insects, aquatic food is around.
For night time fly fishing don’t be afraid to fish some bigger patterns, you never know what you will catch. Upsize your leader poundage at night as well.
Fly fishing Hepburn Lagoon can be a very exciting to fish when they are smelting. (Trout chasing small baitfish.) The fishing can go from exhilarating to infuriating in one short session. For anglers who nearly pull their hair out when trout are smelting, it can be frustrating fishing.
Hepburn Lagoon Kayak Fishing Tips
Above photo: South side has a long walk to access the lake.
If the weather is good, fishing from kayaks and canoes at Hepburn is a great way to wet a line there.
But don’t just hop into the boat and head straight out in the middle of the lake. Fish into the small bays and towards the bank areas first, especially morning and evening when the trout might be in closer feeding.
It can get very windy quickly at the lake, so wear your life jacket! If you have trouble with the wind, hug along the shoreline to work your way back to the launch spot.
As the water is pretty clear, use stealthier paddling techniques. Don’t hit the paddle on the hull, or splash about when paddling fast. Slow, silent and steady would be better. Moving slower in the kayak or canoe also helps you spot more fish, or structures to fish around.
Take a hat and Polaroid sunglasses to help you spot the fish, structure or features easier.
Fish close around the visible weed beads and structure.
If you are fly fishing from the kayak, take some weighted nymphs and wet flies so you can get down deeper quicker. (You might consider an intermediate fly line for the deeper lake sections, depending on what area you fly fish.) Or you can put some split shot or bead heads in front of the fly.
An anchor trolley helps you angle the kayak so you can cast easier in a direction with the wind.
This north side has the closer access spot where you can launch your kayak from.
The other south end, you have a fair way to walk to the lakes edge from the personal access gate, so use a kayak trolley for the longer walk.
How To Get To Hepburn Lagoon?
You can access the lake a few different ways.
From the south, south east side of the lake, you can travel along the Midland Highway, not far from the town Newlyn’s, you turn onto Puntys Road. This will take you down along a dirt road, near the farmer’s place, to a personal access gate that has a small Fishing Hepburn Lagoon sign on it. From this gate it is a bit of a walk to the south side of the lake, near the rock wall.
On the north side you can access via the Daylesford – Clunes Road.
If you travel the Werona- Kingston Road, turn onto Daylesford – Clunes Road. About 1 km down the Daylesford – Clunes Road on the right hand side you come across a farmers double gate, which has a small fishing Hepburn Lagoon sign on it. (Make sure you shut the gate as you found it. As sheep are in the paddock.) You then trave a few hundred metres on a dirt road in the farmers paddock to the water.
Be careful if you are walking from the north side access point, to more the east side towards the trees. If it is swampy in the grass area close to the lake and you walk up higher near the farmer’s fence, there are some big rabbit holes that are covered by long grass. You can easily put a foot in one of these holes and twist an ankle.
Hepburn Lagoon is around 30 minutes’ drive from Ballarat.
From Melbourne, depending on traffic and exact location, Hepburn Lagoon is about 1 hour, 30 minutes’ drive away.
Geelong anglers have a 112 km stretch to the lake.
Daylesford folk have a short 12 minute drive or so.
From Bendigo, Hepburn Lagoon is around 1 hour 10 minute drive.
Accommodation Close By
The Creswick Holiday Park is only around 13 minutes away. The caravan parks address is: 12 Cushing Ave, Creswick, VIC, or phone (03) 4320 0711. The park backs on the Calembeen Lakes which has trout and golden perch (yellow belly) in it.
There is a wide selection of accommodation and caravan parks at Ballarat and Daylesford.
What Other Fishing Spots Are Close By?
Newlyn Reservoir is only a few kilometres away and worth looking at if Hepburn Lagoon is not fishing well.
Moorabool Reservoir is around 22 minutes’ drive away.
Lake Wendouree in the heart of Ballarat is about 30 minutes away. Lake Wendouree Fishing At Ballarat | Beginners Guide
Cosgrove Reservoir, St Georges Lake, Calembeen Lake, O’Keefe’s Dam (Midland Highway) are close by, just out of Creswick.
Victoria Park Lakes, (close to Lake Wendouree) is good for family fishing in the small lakes. For more information, click on Fishing Vic Park.
Lake Daylesford and Jubilee Lake at Daylesford are also reasonably close by to Heppie, around 16 minutes’ drive.
Talbot Reservoir at Evansford, is about 40 minutes away. Visit Fishing Talbot Reservoir of more details.
Tullaroop Reservoir is around 32 minutes from Hepburn Lagoon. Cairn Curran Reservoir is about 45 minutes away.
Who Else Uses The Lake?
It is mainly used by anglers.
Farmers operate around the lake. Do the right thing by the farmer and shut the proper access gates as you found them. Drive sensible through the farmers paddock on the dirt road, as there are sheep / livestock in the paddocks.
Don’t leave any rubbish around. If anglers don’t look after the area, then we won’t have a place to fish.
Courtesy To Other Anglers
For the beginner fisherman and fisher lady, don’t fish too close to other anglers if there is plenty of open space to fish from. Leave plenty of distance.
Walking right up to someone and fishing close to them is considered bad etiquette, especially if there is plenty of other bank areas to fish.
Just recently a beginner angler walked with ten metres of us fishing. While nobody owns the lake, if there is plenty of room, don’t fish so close. The angler was told politely that some people would consider it impolite to fish so close to other anglers, especially when they have the whole big lake to fish from. He nodded and then eventually moved even closer, eventually casting over my son’s line?
Fishing politeness just doesn’t apply to Hepburn Lagoon fishing, but all other lakes, rivers and waterways as well. Fishing at a popular busy place like the Sorrento pier in the Mornington Peninsula, you might not have a choice and be fishing elbow to elbow with other anglers. But if you have the whole wide lake to fish, don’t get too close to other anglers and respect their room.
There are no amenities at the lake.
There are no boat launching facilities available.
Can You Swim At Hepburn Lagoon?
There are signs saying, “No Bathing”, so you can’t swim there.
Not sure why you want to swim there as the weed would be annoying, although it is clear. But I have accidentally been for a swim, when I stepped into a hole wading, and it went over my waders crossing the creek.
What Wildlife Are At The Lake?
Rabbits, the odd fox and plenty of assorted birds and water birds get around the lagoon.
As it is very swampy, (especially around the east side and south east side) you can get the odd snake in warmer weather. We suggest waders or at least rubber boots and watch your step.
Black berry bushes and some odd patches of poison hemlock are around the lake. Don’t touch the poison hemlock as it can give a bad rash. (It looks like fine bracken fern and the stem can grow tall with purple blotches on the stem.)
Fishing Hepburn Lagoon can be a top premier water to wet a line when it is fishing well.
The lake caters for fly fisherman, lure and bait fisherman. Now the water is open to kayak fishing, canoes and boats with electric motors, more anglers can explore this great lake.
The lake is subject to low water levels in the summer and weed can be an issue.
Hepburn Lagoon would have to be in my top five places to fish for big trout when the conditions are good.
Above image: Wall at south side. Water level is very high.
Below photo: Hepburn Lagoon sunrise for the fly fisherman.
Resources And References
Fishing Around Ballarat. Including the Lakes and Reservoirs of the Central Highlands & Western District, by Wayne Tempest.
This is a great little book and not only covers tips and fishing techniques of Hepburn Lagoon, but also covers other popular fishing spots like: Lake Wendouree, Newlyn Reservoir, Lake Fyans, Burrumbeet, Moorabool Reservoir, Lake Purrumbete, Lake Bullen Merri, Cairn Curran Reservoir, Tullaroop Reservoir, Lake Colac and more… (I think the book might be out of print now, but see if you can get your hands on it as it has good fishing maps and information.)