The town at the end of the road, Mallacoota, has again returned to its quiet self as the tourists exit and we head into winter.
The lake has started to clear up, with the bottom now visible in a couple of feet of water. The coming months should provide some great fishing as the lake and rivers clear further.
The beaches have started to improve with good numbers of salmon from Big Beach down to Quarry Beach. Fish around 1.5kg have been taking pilchards, although metal lures are also catching plenty of fish.
Good-sized tailor are also being caught from local beaches with some quality fish around the lake entrance.
Offshore has been fishing well with good catches of sand flathead, gummy and school sharks and the odd kingfish. With the water cooling offshore, things will quieten right down until next season.
In the lake the fishing has been up and down. Prior to the big full moon at Easter there were good catches of nearly all species. Easter was a testing time with the majority of anglers struggling to get a feed, but luckily things are starting to pick up.
Silver trevally, tailor and yellowfin bream have been on the bite with the entrance are fishing well especially on the run-in tide.
The same area has also produced sand whiting, with nippers the prime bait for some thumpers over 40cm long.
Out in the lake, black bream have been caught around the edges with bait fishers using fresh prawns and lure fishers having success on a variety of soft plastics and hardbodies. In the deep water fish are also being caught on vibes and blades.
As for the flathead, I think there are some alarm bells ringing there.
In the past month me and other anglers have noticed a large number of small flathead, around 22cm, being caught. Some anglers would say that’s a good sign for the future, but in 25 years of fishing Mallacoota, I have never seen this.
I would say the opposite: When the average size starts dropping it’s first sign of a fishery under pressure.
Two things are obvious here: It is becoming increasingly difficult to catch a feed of flathead and these 22cm flatties are only 3cm shy of the legal limit.
Anglers generally have their own self-imposed size limit when keeping a feed of flatties and tend to take only fish over 33cm or so.
But in the future we could see people fishing to the Fisheries size limit of just 25cm, and then the flathead will be in trouble. Let’s hope that commonsense prevails and the size limit is increased.Reads: 904