Rivers turn it on
  |  First Published: December 2008

Over the last month the fishing has been sensational. I don’t have space to tell you everything but things have certainly turned around since the doldrums of a few months back. I think we are in for a terrific holiday season of fishing this summer.

Bream have been dominating reports and quite a few dusky flathead are now turning up as well. Mullet and luderick are also on the chew, so look forward to a mixed bag if you are wetting a line over the next few weeks.

Bountiful bream

What a joy to see catches of bream going through the roof at the moment, with both bait and lure anglers sharing the success. The Mitchell River is probably the star producer right now, but I’m hearing that the Nicholson is firing just as well.

A couple of visiting anglers from western Victoria dropped into the Nicho and released 93 bream in a super hot luring session. The word I got was that all those fish were big.

Things are even better in the Mitchell presently and a lot of bait anglers are drifting unweighted frozen prawns along the edges of the river and pulling quite a few stud fish well over 40cm. A number of these large bream have been located well above the township of Bairnsdale and, as a guide, you should try fishing around the highway bridge and work your way upstream.

Two gun bait anglers told me they were walking long sections of the river, dropping frozen prawns close to the edge. If they got no bites within a few minutes, they moved on. Eventually they were finding patches of very solid bream of 35-42cm. This again proves that active and searching anglers usually get the best results.


It only took a little rise in water temperatures to get the duskies on the chew and although no big fish have shown up yet, flathead of around 40cm are taking blades and soft plastics in the lower Tambo.

Flatties are also around in good numbers at Paynesville and Metung. The big girls should show up soon for the spawning run around Lakes Entrance at the end of this month. This is when a 6” soft plastic can result in an 8-10lb dusky. Big lures should always be tried if you want to get the biggest flatties.

Estuary perch

The last 18 months have seen perch numbers in the Gippy Lakes well down on previous years, and I might just have a reason why. I recently had one of my tagged perch recaptured that had made a big swim out of the lakes and through the ocean. The 40cm perch swam about 210km all the way down to Port Albert, where it was caught by David Johnson of Stratford.

This is the sixth recaptured perch of mine that has moved from the Gippy Lakes and out to sea after the big floods. I’m sure a lot have, or will, make the return trip, but at the moment they sure are elusive. Incidentally, it was four years between tagging and recapture for that perch, and it had barely grown 1cm.


A huge run of mullet has been in the Tambo for weeks now, and they were right up in the fresh water amongst the carp. Any of the platforms lining the upper river should have you hooking a few tasty yellow-eyes, but you’ll need sandworm to get the best results.

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