No winter worries in the west
  |  First Published: June 2008

During May we have had enough rain to put some colour into the Glenelg River. Prior to this the water was very clear and the fishing was at times tricky because the fish were very spooky.

On quite a few occasions you could see silver flashes as bream rolled over and darted off on your approach. In June the estuary will continue to fish well with big tides pushing in, helped by bigger winter seas and wind. The locals will target these tides and on sunnier afternoons you will find quite a few in their favourite spots, anchored up and using crab for bait.

Apart from the very patient anglers who are more than happy to wait for a fish to grab their bait, the best way is to move around and target as many areas as you can. A couple of good anchors will make life a lot easier. The rains dictate the way you fish the river and if it gets really wet (as some of the experts predict) you must change your technique to suit the conditions.

Lots of rain puts a fresh top to the mighty Glenelg, and as it’s also Victoria’s longest estuarine system the saltier water will push up underneath the fresh. So what does all that mean? If your fishing higher than, say, Pritchards Landing, which is 45km upstream, you will need to fish away from the banks as the fish will mainly be in the deeper saltier water on the bottom. Down further at Sapling Creek, 26km from the mouth, you probably need to fish a little closer to the banks. A good fish finder and lots of moving around and experimenting will take the boredom out of your day.

The entire river will fish well for bream, so if you’re fishing upstream and the waters are quite dirty, scrubworm is the number one bait, along with stronger scented baits like rabbit, hare and the good old chicken thigh. Pete Smith, a chef from Mt Gambier, swears by chicken thigh sprinkled with curry as the best bait. I’ve given it a go with success, and if things go bad you can have a little stir-fry with the left over bait.

On sunny afternoons a block of pilchard diced into 20 cent-sized bits and flicked unweighted not far off the banks will also see you with a feed. Target the outside of bends and along reed beds in deeper water. And again move, move and move some more.

Depending on the rains, the mulloway that have taken up residence in the river this autumn should stay. Like a scratched CD, I again suggest the Princess Margaret Rose Caves as the starting point for your search. What I’ve noticed over the years is the hotspots stand out more during the colder months. Some of these hotspots are: Dog and Cats just below the caves, Caves Landing, Currans Creek, The Gaol up near McLennans, both ends of Taylors Strait, Chapmans Landing and the bends leading into and out of Donovans Landing. Now that’s a fair bit of river to cover but they do stand out as hotspots. To the uninitiated these names will make no sense, so if you want to find out where they are call into the pub so we can point them out to you.

Over winter, estuary perch should still be found in the middle to top reaches. Good catches usually come from Sapling Creek through to Popeyes Landing. The thick reed beds and snags are the areas to bombard, while dusk and dawn are probably the best times to fish while they are schooled up. Small lures like Attacks and SX-40s are good. Best baits are shrimp, gents and crickets.

A good livebait tank is an essential piece of equipment for EP fishing. As a rule if you get onto a good snag and you catch one and release it straight away, it will most likely take a message back to his school mates about that p&^%$ in your boat. Release what you don’t need at the end of your outing.

Remember the razor sharp gill rakers on these little fighters. Perch are a fish you need to target as they are not often caught as by-catch. The introduction of better lures has seen a lot more caught in the Glenelg River and it’s fantastic to hear of so many being released back into the system.

Along the coast, the sheltered bays continue to fish well for salmon, mullet and whiting. Best baits are pipis and squid. Target the weed beds and surrounding sand.

Tuna should still be around but finding a day safe enough to venture out around 40km could be difficult. Last June there was also a good run of dolphinfish out around the 100m line. For the surf fishos, remember you can drive on the beaches in South Australia, so you can sit in the comfort of your 4WD and keep a warm eye on your rods. Of course being careful of big tides and the soft sands they can create.

We hope to see you at Nelson, and remember we have our fires going at the Hotel to keep you warm. Call us on 08 8738 4011 if you have any enquiries. For holiday house hire contact Lorraine and Tony Pevitt, 08 8738 4191. They manage several private houses for rental as well as their own holiday apartment; one of their list should meet your needs.

George Evang displays a beaut bream from the Glenelg. The entire river should fish well in June, but how you should fish for them will depend on the rain.

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