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Bream steady, flathead run begins
  |  First Published: May 2008



A diverse range of fish is turning up at the moment, with the jetties around Lakes Entrance and Kalimna producing the goods. There are tailor and salmon taking lures, bait is accounting for plenty of garfish and luderick, while flathead, trevally and the odd bream are also being captured.

It’s a great time to take the kids out and spend a few hours on a jetty as fishing doesn’t get any easier than this. However, the main focus for anglers this month will still be on the great run of bream and the migration of dusky flathead moving into the rivers right now.

Bream

What a joy to still see a lot of bream turning up just about everywhere across the Gippy Lakes. A lot of anglers have enjoyed the terrific weather lately and have been rewarded with plenty of bream, mainly in the Tambo and Nicholson rivers. As the upper reaches of the Mitchell River now clear, it will also come on tap.

I’m getting reports and e-mails from anglers wrestling in big bream up to 48cm. As usual most of these bigger fish are being returned. I’ve also been enjoying some great lure fishing myself, using hard-bodied lures. I’m mainly getting bream from 35-40cm, and early morning until lunchtime has definitely seen the fish most active. Interestingly I’ve also caught some nice luderick to 30cm on small hard-bodieds as a welcome by-catch. For bait anglers, don’t be put off by the lack of sandworm in the area, as live shrimp and frozen prawn usually catch bigger bream than worm anyway.

DuskY flathead

A lot of flathead are now well and truly settled into the rivers after moving up from their usual summer haunts out in the lakes. They are probably not as thick as years gone by, but keep searching and they will turn up. Try using prawn for bait and keep it moving by slowly winding it in. This way you are also a chance of a big bream and even luderick. With the popularity of lure fishing, the art of live baiting has been left behind so don’t forget live mullet will catch you plenty of flatties

algae and LAKE health

Commercial fisher Rob Morecroft has been working in the Gippsland Lakes for many years and was kind enough to write to me about his views on the health of the lakes these days. His observations should be well respected as he knows the area better than most and appreciates that the well being of the whole system is crucial to his livelihood. Rob is a keen photographer, and also likes to catch fish with rod and reel for sport too. It’s fair to say the Gippy Lakes is in his blood. Here in part, is his e-mail to me. It makes extremely interesting reading;

“Hi Brett, I have just read your piece in the March VFM regarding the algae situation and I thought you might like a different point of view. In short, the two floods in 2007 and the resulting algae bloom has been brilliant for bream spawning success. Algae are believed to be the basic building block of all marine life and bream are part of that food chain. You would be aware that bream reproduce every year and occasionally conditions are perfect across a large area of the lakes, and the hatching eggs have a greater chance of survival. This produces spikes in the numbers of some year classes and it appears this is one of those years where major recruitment has taken place. So I was not completely surprised when two flathead caught near Paynesville yielded 15 small bream from their stomach contents. The flathead were caught in the shallows where visibility could not have been more than 40cm due to the algae. I have also had reports from other commercial fishers that suggest huge numbers of small bream in two sizes of 3cm and 1.5cm, both representing October and December spawning events. I am of the view the longer this algae remains, the better for the bream fishery. I am predicting a spike in bream numbers comparable to the late seventies.”

If Rob’s right, we really have some great fishing to look forward to in the years ahead.

Bream are really starting to respond to lure fishing now and the action should get even hotter in May.

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