Prime time for quality natives
  |  First Published: May 2008

The productive time for anglers chasing native fish around Bendigo is running out fast. Water temperatures are starting to drop as the cool weather of autumn has arrived. This month we start to see a reduction in anglers catch rates, but the good news is that it is prime time to catch quality fish. May is the time to land that fish of a lifetime.


Lake Eppalock is still holding a good amount of water compared to recent seasons. The lake is currently holding around 6% of capacity. This is very good compared to last year when it was holding only 1%.

The numbers of anglers testing their skill at this destination has been low, and those that have have found the going tough. One good report that I received lately was from an angler managed to land 14 golden perch for the day. The fish were caught trolling a deep diving lure. They were schooled up and were only caught in the one area. The angler persisted in that area and managed to have a great day. This can be the secret to success in the lake at the moment – continue to hunt different areas in the lake until a good concentration of fish is located.


The fishing conditions in the Campaspe River have been average for lure fishers due to the poor water clarity, although conditions are improving. Phil Keetalaar has managed to land redfin and golden perch and the occasional Murray cod while walking the banks and fishing the holes along the river. At this stage, water clarity at Elmore is only average as the water still has a tannin look to it. There is a good flush going down the system that is helping to improve water clarity and should stir a few fish up.

Phil and a few friends fished the Campaspe at Rochester and managed to land three fish for the day. The best fish was a 63cm Murray cod. Water clarity was very good. Water temperatures will start to drop rapidly in the Campaspe River due to it being a small river system. The productive time is fast running out.


Water levels in Cairn Curran are currently holding at 5% of capacity. Fishing reports have been few and far between from this destination also. The native fishing has been very slow. The redfin fishing has been disappointing too, with only small numbers of redfin being caught. However, the next couple of months are usually a very good time of the year to target some quality redfin in the lake. In May the redfin will often school up and move into the deepest part of the lake. Trolling deep diving hard-bodied lures or using downriggers can be a great tactic when chasing some quality redfin.


The fishing in the Loddon River has started to slow down in recent weeks. Water clarity is currently good at Bridgewater, and excellent further downstream at Serpentine. At this location the fishing has been tough during the day. In the clear water, the most productive time is during low light conditions. Earlier in the morning or late in the afternoon are the times when anglers will experience the most action.

There are still small numbers of golden perch and Murray cod being caught. Those most skilful anglers are putting in a full day for a couple of fish. There have been reports of two large Murray cod that were caught in the ski zone in recent weeks. One fish measured 90cm and was caught by a lucky angler casting a spinnerbait from a jetty. The other fish weighed 23kg and was caught trolling in the ski zone. As the water temperatures start to drop the productivity of the shallow sections of the river will slow dramatically. The most productive areas will continue to be the deepest sections of the river.

Jason Austin from BWL Lures displays a quality golden perch that was landed on a 1/2oz BWL Dominator spinnerbait.

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