The Hopkins River at Warrnambool has been steady for bream in the 32-35cm bracket with most falling to bait rather than lure due to the constant fresh pushing downstream and tackling the incoming tide.
Presently most fish are captured using bait rather than hardbodied lures or plastics due to the murky but not muddied waters.
Local pod worm and brown shell pumped at low tide down at the mouth are the gun baits to use. However packet prawn and pipi are also catching their fair share as I recently found out.
After flogging the water with lures for over two hours, I switched to frozen bait so I could enjoy a late lunch on the water as well as rest my casting arm. I quickly picked up two reasonable bream as well as dropping a further two (one boat side as I tried to pole the fish and the other cut me off on the rocks).
Fishing in less than 2m has seen the most captures. Either side of the pumping station (not far from the mouth) on the edge of the channel there has been a hot spot. Further upstream near Rowans Flats has seen local anglers in the know wading the shallows and using locally gathered worm and shell pulling in bream one after the other.
Even though a constant murky fresh is pushing down the Curdies River, anglers are picking up fish to 38cm from around the river mouth back upstream to the island. Presently bait is out fishing lures with scrub worm and local shrimp being favoured. In saying that, frozen baits such as prawn and river whitebait are snaring a few fish.
Seawater continues to pour into the lake where it is often halted by the fresh. Bank anglers fishing from the road bridge down past the boat ramp are picking up sea mullet and juvenile salmon to 30cm on a wide variety of shop-bought bait. However the bream have, by and large left the lake and entered the river in preparation for the annual spawning run.
The Gellibrand River has been quiet for bream and perch due to the massive amount of water travelling downstream from the Otway Ranges.
The water is basically mud, and bait fishing down near the mouth where salt meets fresh has been the only way to successfully fish. Estuary perch, however, are falling to surface poppers quickly stripped along the bank side reed beds. Many of these fish are undersize so expect to release most fish.
Bigger perch can be found sheltering from the current in nearby Latrobe Creek that enters the Gellibrand near the campground bridge.
Presenting live bait such as shrimp under a float or casting shallow diving hardbodied lures in and around the creek mouth can see some serious EP action on a given day or night.
Surf beaches from Peterborough through to Princetown have been good for large Australian salmon.
Although many landed fish are averaging 6-800g, some thumpers to 2.8kg have been thrown into the mix. Bait cocktails fished on a double paternoster rig have been successful of late. Both hooks are baited with strips of squid and then topped off with a chunk of pilchard. The pilchard chunk doesn’t last long in the water being soft bait. Sea lice soon make sure of that but it most likely acts as berley leaving the more durable squid for any salmon enticed into the strike zone.
Once the rains subside and the warmer weather is here to stay I can see a bumper season taking place in our ocean and estuaries. Bring it on!Reads: 982