Salmon season!
  |  First Published: June 2008

As predicted last month the salmon run has continued to keep anglers happy from both the shore and boats. Large schools of fish are holding up from Wild Dog Beach right through to the waterfall and even further out to sea.

Marengo Beach has been producing a few fish as well, with the majority of anglers having best success around dusk when the sea is flat. Wild Dog and Marengo beaches have been the best places close to Apollo Bay, although Glen Aire and Johanna beaches, further down the coast, are well worth the trip if you can spare the time. Remember to fish in the deep gutters that run parallel to the beach, and use a paternoster rig with a plastic squid on the top hook and bluebait on the bottom. This method gives you peace of mind that you still have some bait on your hook, and saves time baiting up in between fish.

If you prefer to keep active, then casting lures from the beach will also catch fish. Use heavy metal lures for extra casting distance and let them sink before starting your retrieve. Be careful when wading out to cast as waves can appear out of nowhere. A lot of local anglers prefer to wear wetsuits instead of waders when casting lures, as many more casts are required, which means more time spent in the water and a greater chance of getting swamped. Boat anglers have been getting into the action off Wild Dog Beach with both trolling and casting lures working a treat. I like to troll until I locate a school of decent fish and then cast once the boat is positioned close enough to toss a lure into the school. Again, metal lures and soft plastics are popular but I like to spice things up a bit and use surface poppers. It gets very exciting when five or six fish are fighting to eat your lure off the surface and the visual experience is one you won’t soon forget.

If salmon aren’t your style then give the Aire River a try for bream down around the campgrounds. Prawns fished on the bottom are accounting for good numbers of fish, as are small hard-bodied lures fished from a boat. The key to success with the hard-bodied lures is a start-stop retrieve. Small pauses get the bream excited and they will often eat a stationary lure whether it is on the surface or down deep.

The June long weekend marks the start of the trout closed season, so now is your last chance to fish the mountain rivers. The Ford and Aire rivers below the Great Ocean Road are open all year around, as is the West Barwon Dam.

Australian salmon love lures, no matter whether they are trolled or cast from a boat or the shore.

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