There has been a good amount of pre and post spawn sea run brown trout about the Derwent estuary.
The calm evenings have been one of the best times to locate these fish as they pick off bait in the shallows. Enough of these sea runners should be dotted about the river to keep the keener trout anglers busy during June. A baitfish-like soft plastic is probably the best choice for an all-round sea trout lure. You can fish all depths and the trout find a slow lift and drop retrieve very hard to resist.
Minnow style hardbodied lures are also very good when fished to active trout, particularly in the very shallow edges. Ecogear MW62f , Lucky Craft Flash Minnow 65 and Rapala 6cm X-Raps are all good bait fish imitations for fishing in the 0-1.5m zone. A traditional slow fished prettyfish or pulsing 13.5g Tassie Devil in baitfish colours will both fool many well conditioned sea trout over the colder months.
Colder June weather may slow up the anglers chasing southern bluefin tuna but the fish should still be about over the next month or so. This season has been another great year for the blue water brigade with regular reports of tuna in the 70-110kg bracket. There have also been excellent numbers of school bluefin about this season. The majority of these fish are 15-20kg.
Anglers using 50-80lb braid rigs on graphite jig style sticks have made the most of these smaller tuna. The finer diameters of braided lines and its inherent softness assist the action of trolled lures, particularly when running deep divers.
Trolled diving minnows have continued to be a hit this season with Rapala X-Rap Mag 30’s, Halco Crazy Deep 190’s and Yo-Zuri Hydro Mag 190 all being very popular diving lures about the South East. Their lipless vibration bait counterparts like the Lively Lures Mack Baits, Killer Vibes and Halco Tremblers have also been very successful lures, mainly due to their great trolling characteristics in a rough sea.
June and July are excellent months for some winter salmon action. The strong baitfish numbers that fatten so well in the mid to lower estuaries of the area are now relocated to the shallow bays outside the Derwent. Big schools of Australian salmon will never be far away from the baitfish. Norfolk Bay has been holding massive schools of kilo plus blackbacks over the last few weeks and this would be a good a spot as any to start looking for some sizzling salmon sessions.
Standard metal slice lures will do but keep in mind that salmon are great candidates for the fly and mid-sized poppers. Surface poppers cast down wind on light gear are a top way to prospect for salmon. A fast cranking start to the retrieve can get the fish interested and then you can settle into a steady bubbling retrieve to give the salmon a good opportunity to strike.
Mid-sized stick bait style plastics like the D.O.A 4” Jerks and Berkley 5” Gulp Jerkshads are also first-rate saltwater lures that are great for salmon and also appeal to just about everything else you might come across.
With the calamari scene slowing over the winter, another fine table fish like the garfish becomes a more popular target. Garfish are a fine eating fish and are quite easy to lure into your fishing area with a little berley around the high tide. Weed bed areas in any large tidal bay should hold schools of gars at this time of year. Apply a little tuna oil to some bread scraps and get a trail happening just before high water.
Once the fish are about, cast a light float rigged with a fine wire hook about a foot or so below. Light 6lb line will make all the difference when chasing these sometimes-flighty fish. Dough, peeled prawn or even fine strips of calamari will do for baits.
Inland fisheries have topped up Craigbourne Dam with another 500 wild browns in late march and these as well as other deposits of Atlantic salmon and brown trout throughout the season should provide enough options for local winter trout fishers.
Early and late in the day are good times to look for a patrolling Atlantic around the dam margins. A streamer style wet fly or a diving minnow should draw a strike when fished parallel to the banks. The bays around the creeks should also be attracting the browns right now and these areas should be worth a visit. Spoon style lures are always good for covering the bays as are lipless crankbaits of around 60mm.
The amenities block at Craigbourne has been all but destroyed by idiots with little regard for this important local fishing resource. We may not be far away from restricted access to this water if this sort of behaviour continues.
Meadowbank Lake is back to normal levels after a drawdown in mid May for maintenance. Some of the 410 Atlantics that were liberated during late March should still be about. The lake’s brown trout are also quite active in June and July as they move to and from their spawning sites.
The Derwent bream have slowly moved towards more winter like feeding habits over the last month. Once again we’ve had a good autumn with plenty of vigorous feeding about the rocky shallows in the mid reaches. May has been a superb month this year with some memorable bags of bream coming to net for those that have caught bream on the bite.
That first part of the run out tide has been a real winner of late. Working lures in the shallow water eddies next to some current has been the key to recent success on the river. Bream are now dropping back a little deeper and are a more inclined to take slowly fished soft plastic presentations.
Hardbodied lures will still take bream but action is slowing as the water temperatures fall throughout June. The warmest part of the river is the lower section around high water and many sizeable bream have been holding on the rocky banks near the Domain and Rosny Point.
Bream do tend to school during winter and can be found about the moorings in places like Prince of Wales Bay and Newtown Bay. Slow hopping retrieves with worm style soft baits is often the best way to entice bites from these bream.Reads: 2243