Yellowbelly kind of spring
  |  First Published: November 2011

Fishing has been reasonably good around Mildura the past month, as it should be at this time of year.

Anglers have been using baits and lightly-weighted gear to cast and troll small lures around weirs and other structures.

Catches of yellowbelly on lures at springtime are quite typical but the best is still yet to come as water temperatures rise and fish will be at the peak of their spawning activity.

The plethora of small carp in the system has been keeping bait anglers occupied with a ratio of about 50:1 when it comes to catching natives. Most of these carp have enjoyed worms in the shallows. Catfish have also been partial to a worm or two in the shallows around tree lines and shrubs recently below Mildura.

Yellowbelly have been on the chew below Mildura and Wentworth weirs on shrimp and it is nothing to catch your bag within the hour. Lures, particularly on lipless crankbaits cast into the structure have started to come into their own with some nice yellas caught recently.

When the water clears up even more, spinner baits will work a treat, particularly those with a combination of gold and nickel blades.

A few good-sized redfin have also been caught recently using soft plastics and the ever popular blades.

Yabbies have started to come back on the bite in the main river with the upper reaches of the Darling River around Pooncarie the best of the spots at the moment.

With the weather warming up we should see yellowbelly become more aggressive and run riot through the system taking a liking to lures in particular. This should see a few nice-sized yellas being caught, not only at weirs and locks, but snags up and down stream as well.

This warmer weather should also bring out the yabbies and redfin in thousands. As mentioned before they are already making a comeback in the river but will gain ascendency as the summer months set in. There is nothing better than Christmas with a bowl of yabbies on the table.

If you would like a catch of yellowbelly I would be fishing below Mildura and Wentworth weirs with baits or lures at the moment. Merbein is also worth a try using bait or lures. As is customary, fish in the morning and late afternoon but don’t be afraid to fish in the middle of the day. This is when most of the activity has been happening lately.

If fishing with bait, use a cocktail of shrimp and worm right along the banks just off the bottom.

If lure casting, I would use lipless crankbaits or vibration lures cast into the weir or lock structure allowing the lure to sink into the strike zone and simply retrieve. A pause and a flick between retrieves sometimes turn the fish on. But when they are going like that all you need to do is keep it simple.

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