Glenelg closes…then opens
  |  First Published: August 2008

Hello and greetings from Nelson on the mighty Glenelg River. At the end of June the mouth of the river closed over and turned the river into a mighty long lake.

Usually it takes some time for the mouth to open again, either manually or naturally. This time though the mouth opened up itself in just four days! This is quite unusual and I wouldn’t be surprised if it blocked again fairly soon.

It always an unknown when it will close over, but it does block for a reason – usually because there’s not enough environmental flow from the river’s source. Traditionally the mouth has closed over in the drier months and stays that way for quite a few years.

There is a level marked near the public landing, which when reached by the water is a signal for the authorities to release the river either by mechanical means such as a backhoe and shovel or, as on one occasion, using gelignite. That release was spectacular and particularly exciting for one seagull that took to the air without a second to spare.

Bream fishing has continued very well. Late in July, schools of better-sized fish slowly moved from up around Sapling Creek down towards Donovans Landing. Masses of whitebait that were up around Princess Margaret Rose Caves and Sandy Waterhole have slowly moved downstream towards Donovans, and the bream have simply followed the food chain.

The estuary has again fished exceptionally well down on the sand. With more rain coming the river will colour up quite a lot, and as this happens a freshwater top will be created, pushing the fish down into the saltier water. You will need to fish away from the banks and try and target the second drop-offs along the stone cliffs.

Bait fishers, get your spade out and dig some scrubworms. As the water gets dirtier and the bream move around, scrubbies really rock in the dirty water. For the lure flickers, camo worms and blades should kick into gear as you target the deeper waters where the bream are hanging. Late in August and continuing into September, the bream should slowly migrate back upstream.

Perch have been caught between Donovans and Sandy Waterholes. Most have been released, but the ones that have made the plate were full of shrimp and a few whitebait. Shrimp cast into snags unweighted or with minimal weight are like lollies to perch. Have your drag set fairly tight, as you need to get them out of their comfortable snag lounge.

The advent of lures like SX-40s, Strike Pro and Attacks has modernised perch fishing, and are all well worth a flick. These tough fighters win quite a few battles so be prepared to lose some gear. Any slack line will soon be cut off or wrapped around a snag.

Reports of mulloway, while dwindling in numbers, have still been filtering in. There are no real hot spots, but again the Caves area and several kilometres either side has been the most consistent area. No method is standing out either, with soft plastics, lures and baits such as pilchard, spew worm, rabbit and hare all working. Up in these waters your fish finder is a great tool, so turn down the frequency, target only better-sized fish and hit them with all you’ve got.

In the winter months we also get huge schools of massive mullet entering the system. They are great fun to catch and great tucker when fresh. Chris Carson weighed one ripper that went 6kg (yes kg not pounds).

Along the coast salmon are firing up, especially at Cape Banks and Red Rock Bay. School sharks are still worth the effort along the coast from the Glenelg mouth to Browns Bay. Again I suggest being careful on the beaches as big winter seas can stir up the sands and create soft going, more so on the tight bends in smaller bays. Be vigilant as a 4WD bobbing in the surf can be very upsetting to view.

We have a good supply of red gum firewood at present so come on down and have a beer and a feed in the warmth of our hotel. For the latest fish reports call us on 08 8738 4011 or contact us on --e-mail address hidden-- .


Phil Knight with a mulloway caught in Taylors Strait. There are still a few reports of jewies filtering through.

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