Waters Clear fro Spring Bonanza
  |  First Published: November 2011

Wonderful clean water is clearing up the Gippsland Lakes perfectly in time for the busy summer ahead.

The dirty floods have now flushed through most of the rivers except for the LaTrobe and we are going to have some top sport as we head towards the Christmas holidays. Already some flathead reports are trickling through and whiting captures wont be far behind. I wonder if the snapper will turn up inside the Gippy Lakes again this season because a few bigger ones were caught up near Metung this time last year, along with hoards of 20cm pinkies.

Healthy rivers

What an amazing turn around our mighty rivers have all made. The August floods certainly made their mark but by early September their flows had all cleaned up with a strong flush of clear water. It goes to show that a good twelve months of rainfall has provided a constant drip feed of beautiful life giving water and the streams look healthy and vibrant.

The only down side to all the beautiful fresh water is that the carp are also loving the conditions. The feral fish have pushed right down to the mouth of our rivers with the lack of salt water around. I fished the Nicholson and Tambo rivers recently for the first time since the big rains and I was shocked at how the water was so clean and you could see the bottom in about a metre of water. There were some huge carp cruising around as well.

Unfortunately the fishing was super tough and in six hours I managed to score the grand total of a single 34cm bream. I didn’t even manage another bump or a missed hook up on my lures and the only saving grace was that other bait anglers were also doing it hard. By no means take my efforts as any guide and you can be assured there is plenty of good fishing ahead and I predict a five star rating for the health of the Gippsland Lakes at lest in the near future anyway.

Tambo shines again

Frozen prawn is the go to bait at the moment and live shrimp is also on the menu when it comes to big bream. The first port of call for any bream fishing at the moment is in the upper reaches of the Tambo and start up as high as you can go and work your back downstream.

Warren Bertrum used large live shrimp around the Blue Hole and stacked up a big heap of bream and kept only three of them all around 42cm. Robert Harvey is a local with many hours of experience in this river and took his brother out recently for a luring lesson to get him hooked up to a bream up for the first time. Robert released about 20 bream to 34cm in a short two-hour session while his brother looked on and went fishless!

The key to his success is that he spray paints all of his lures a flat black, hooks, eyes and all. Sorry mate your secret is out but I don’t think you have much to worry about though because it takes a brave angler to turn a perfectly good-looking lure completely black.

As I’ve already mentioned you will be excited at how pristine the Tambo water is looking at the moment and I expect it to fish extremely well for the next few months at least.

Mitchell River

Also looking a picture is the Mitchell River and the Backwater is the place to search for some little estuary perch. Using live shrimp under a float will be the best bait method and slowly sinking soft lures or hardbodies will tend to catch a lot more of these scrappy little fighters.

Keep in mind these EP are heavily targeted and you will probably find them with lockjaw now and then, especially on the weekends. If you want to increase your catch, try and find the perch on new snags way up the Mitchell towards the barrier. Early morning and late afternoon will be the prime times to chase bream in the same areas but you will need to fish a lot deeper and even try the middle sections of the river to find schooling bream.


Now is the time to gear up for monster duskies. You will need to be on the water at first light, as it seems the really big girls bite the best before the sun gets too high. Yeah sure you can catch flatties all day long but most of them wont go over 50-60cm. And if you reckon flatties are a dumb fish you can think again because I see them shut down to constant fishing pressure all the time.

They see so many soft plastic lures these days and will ignore them eventually. You can trick a heap of duskies at times and even get a hook-up with nearly every cast but even hungry flathead will go off the chew over time.

The trick is to find a school of them but only pull out a few fish and move onto fresh ground. You can always return later in the day and get a few more but if you keep flogging certain hotspots, you will eventually shut those flatties down for days on end. As for the big girls, well to land mega duskies of 80-90cms, 10kg leaders are required as an absolute minimum and use the biggest lures in your box. Those who are prepared to use large live baits like poddy mullet will probably get the biggest duskies and a metre flathead will no doubt turn up again this year.

The best place to target summer duskies runs from Metung all the way down to the Lakes Entrance township and right up into the Cunninghame arm opposite The Esplanade shops.

It should go without saying that nobody kills big flatties these days.

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