It is all about spotty fish – salmon and trout
  |  First Published: September 2012

Even though in September anglers begin dreaming of spring/summer species, winter’s grip still usually holds on for quite some time yet here in the South West.

It will still be some time before anglers can start getting excited about the new seasons fishing options. Winter/cold water methods and species are still in vogue throughout September.

After being restricted to the lower Merri over the past few months, trout anglers will have a great variety of streams to pursue their quarry once September comes and the season opens. There may often be considerable leg work involved, with many blind casts made into dirty water, but the quality of the trout make it a worthwhile experience.

Most fish usually range from 1-1.8kg with enough 2kg+ fish to make things interesting. The Hopkins, the Upper Merri and the Mt Emu Creek are the most well known, but there are also several smaller streams and creeks that all are capable of producing fish. Large wet flies, paddle tail soft plastics and shallow running hardbodied lures will all produce fish.

The Australian salmon that have been biting well over the winter should still be around come September. Killarney beach has been producing some good fish recently. It’s been great to see the schools of salmon back this season with a little more consistency at this location. The great benefit of the salmon fishing at Killarney is the ability to target the fish with much lighter gear than you would usually need on a surf beach.

Donning the waders and wetsuits and casting your lures into the schools of salmon with a bunch of mates is terrific fun. Most of the salmon have been in around 1.5kg but there have been plenty of 2kg plus fish mixed in as well. For the long rod surf brigade East beach at Port Fairy has been producing well over the winter as well.

At this time of year, land-based locations such as Port Campbell Pier, the Warrnambool breakwater and the Moyne River can produce good catches if conditions are too rough to launch a boat or surf fish. As well as salmon, silver trevally are a popular target at this time of year.

September is a good time to start preparing the deep freeze for the coming summer season. If you can stop yourself from eating them, squid and garfish are popular targets in the sheltered bays around Killarney and Port Fairy at this time of the year. The salmon you may have been catching over the winter make great cut baits and berley for snapper and shark. Fishing the estuaries will be highly dependent on the condition of the water.

Dirty water may see the fish towards the mouth of the estuary; clearer water may see them heading upstream in preparation for spawning. Adjust your techniques to suit the conditions you find.

On the estuary scene the Hopkins has remained very quiet over winter, hopefully spring will herald a new dawn on this fishery. Yambuk Lake has been the most productive estuary of late with some good bream to 43cm being taken in the lower reaches.

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