October in the southwest is usually associated with the arrival of warm weather species like snapper, mulloway and whiting. At the moment, those options seem a lifetime away as we finally shiver through a decent spell of wet, windy, winter weather.
Over the last month, offshore and inshore saltwater options have been a write-off. There have been few recent reports of good salmon in the surf, which are usually a winter staple.
Most local rivers have been running high and dirty during. Fortunately, they still produce some good angling under these conditions.
The lower Merri River has produced some good trout for those experienced in the methods required for fishing the fast flowing dirty water. Fishing the edges and backwaters just out of the main flow with suitable artificials, such as dark wet flies and paddle-tail plastics, can produce some heart stopping hits. A large trout can appear out of nowhere, often hitting the lure directly at your feet.
Bream and estuary perch continue to be caught in the Hopkins River despite the dirty water. Schooled up fish in the centre of the river can be easily located on the sounder – enticing them into action is the tricky part. Some fish are also being taken near the mouth on days when a good tidal push of saltwater comes in.
The fishing in our local waters usually takes a little longer to warm up after a wet winter, compared to Port Phillip and Western Port. However, towards the end of October, local boat anglers should be beginning to catch snapper.
October is also often a good month to do some surf fishing. There is still the chance of some good salmon, while the summer species such as pinky snapper and sharks should also be an option
The inshore reefs should see a few squid around, so anglers can stock up on for bait for the summer ahead (if you can resist the temptation of eating them). Shallow reefs around Port Fairy and Lady Bay, as well as the Warrnambool Breakwater and Port Campbell Jetty, are good areas to try.
Bream and estuary perch should also start to move back into the shallower margins.
There should still be good trout fishing available in October and, after the wet winter we’ve had, anglers are a chance of bumping into a true sea run trout.
Shaun Kelly with a typical winter brown.Reads: 1039