Come on Spring!
  |  First Published: September 2011

The cold windy weather has certainly dampened enthusiasm for the majority of anglers around Lakes Entrance as boat ramps look more like empty car parks.

But for those braving the cold the rewards can be well worth it.

I recently fished with local lure fisher Lucas Smith flicking soft plastics all around the rock groynes of Rigby Island with Lucas landing a massive yellowfin bream and together collecting a mixed bag of big trevally and wrasse which was great fun in this fast moving tidal water.

There’s a lot of snags involved in this style of fishing as you are having to present the lure really close to the rocks and structure to get a result and then it’s a real lottery as to whether or not you will actually be able to move the fish from its rocky home, but it’s certainly an enjoyable challenge and very rewarding when you manage to get one to the boat.

The front street jetties at Lakes Entrance are producing good size trevally on a regular basis with lots of lakes locals sneaking out for a session, using soft plastics like DOA 2” shrimp in colour 312 on a size 4-1/32 oz. jig head or peeled prawn using a slack line around the pylons.

Early morning starts seem to be the go as the waters clear and the fish can be a bit spooky and usually during the middle of the day go of the chew and move back in right underneath the jetties and hide.

The salmon are still biting on the local beaches, which is prolonging an amazing season that just won’t seem to end. The weather has certainly decreased the frequency of reports but it looks as if they will continue right through the winter.

The rivers

With cold temps and fresh water flows the three rivers are at their peak for black bream fishing at this time of year with all anglers from all over the state reporting good catches using bait or lures.

Certainly the standout bait for this in the turbid fresh water time of year is traditionally spider crab. With the recent regrowth of seagrass in the lakes, we are seeing harvest of spider crabs by the bait anglers for sale to east Gippslanders start again.

One bait that is not spoken of that much at this time of year is dam yabbies, as they are excellent bait in the colder month and great fun to catch.

The smaller yabbies around 3-5cm are the preferred size as a whole live bait but bigger yabbies can be cut into chunks and are also very effective for big bream and estuary perch.

Great bait when the water is really fresh in the rivers is scrub worm. I was talking to a couple of bait fishers last week along the banks of the Tambo that have been bagging out using scrubbies.

Scrubbies can be a mystery to find but lucky for these two locals they have vegie garden that are full of scrub worm and they are easily obtained for a day’s fishing.

Lake Tyers

The lake has finally had a big inflow of badly needed fresh water and its level has risen to within inches of breaking open to the ocean and expectant locals predicting the opening should take place any time soon, if it hasn’t already.

The lake has struggled to produce consistent good fishing through the drought but has fished OK for species like flathead, luderick, tailor and trevally, which are species that are more adapted to heavy saline conditions.

The bream have certainly done it hard through the drought with disease and higher that average salinity really slowing recruitment of this iconic specie.

But for now things are certainly looking good for the future, with the return of seagrass populations in certain areas of the lake and noticeably larger numbers of juvenile bream.

This summer should be excellent fishing in Tyers especially once the lake opens and has a chance to become tidal again, allowing huge numbers of baitfish and prawns to fill the estuary.

Over the years I worked with my father Pat, catching prawns commercially for bait out of Lake Tyres and it’s absolutely astounding the natural concentration of prawns that can exist in Tyers.

I found it really strange that fisheries are considering stocking Lake Tyers with king prawn, spending large volumes of recreational licence monies to achieve it when mother nature can simply do it for free far better that we can.
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