Harder work in winter but still the rewards come
  |  First Published: July 2013

Freshwater enthusiasts will need to work a little harder during the cold spell to tussle with sport fish in the freshwater section of the Barwon River.

Redfin are always there, just a little harder to catch. However, the good news is that there are two lakes in Geelong listed under the fisheries ‘Family Fishing Lakes’ trout stocking project. Both St Augustine’s Waterhole in Highton and Seagull Paddock Lake at North Geelong are stocked with ready to catch advanced rainbow trout that are around 200g.

These trout will be stocked in the beginning of the third term school holidays around June 28th. They are great fun to catch and the lakes provide good access. For bait, try earthworms, sweet corn kernels or artificial bait such as Powerbait. I’ve tried catching them on lures before without much success but have seen others do ok on brightly coloured, small revolving blade spinners.

Corio Bay

Australian salmon can visit the shelter of Corio Bay during winter. More often than not, you’ll need to prospect for them by trolling the surface using plastic skirted lures as they do not show themselves much. Once a school is located, you can cast lures at them until they move on.

Soft plastic enthusiasts should prowl the Geelong Waterfront by foot and boat as good numbers of bream and trevally can be lurking here over winter. Bait anglers should keep a few slices of bread in their kit as yellow eye mullet and garfish can congregate around the piers.

Ross Winstanley loves his King George whiting. Even though this year saw them low in numbers and size, he kept at it and managed to land on a school one morning fishing inside Stingaree Bay. Ross fished two days running and managed 12 whiting to 39cm, one pinkie snapper and four yank flathead to 48cm the first day and then followed it up with eight whiting from 34-37cm plus one good yank flattie.

The next week saw big winds and cold weather. I hit the water with Deano McDonald not long after and could only manage one toadie so crept home with our tails between our legs that trip.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

When the whiting aren’t really pumping, Ross fishes for calamari off Clifton Springs. Ross had a good day out there recently where he caught 15 medium to small calamari in 6-8m of water off The Dell around the morning high tide. Ross released the five smallest ones and noted that the conditions that day were dead calm.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says it has been a bit quieter lately with the cooler weather and the odd puff of wind.

There are still plenty of calamari from the shallow reef areas at St Leonards right around to Grassy Point near Portarlington. Rod notes that those fishing from piers have also done particularly well on the calamari of late. Rod recommends the change of tides plus morning and evening are the best times.

Rod was still getting some lovely catches of flathead at the time of writing by anglers drifting between the Prince George light and St Leonards in the deeper water.

The whiting have been slow and hard to get a consistent catch but there was a late run close to the end of May where anglers caught some classy fish up around 40cm off St Leonards.

The Queenscliff boat harbour has had a wide variety of fish on offer. The ever present silver trevally has provided great sport to those using small soft plastic lures or pilchard fillets for bait while there has been a few calamari, salmon, and leather jacket – the latter in the calmer water.

Barwon Heads and Surf Coast

The Barwon River estuary has good numbers of small Australian salmon in the lower reaches. Anglers of all ages have been entertained by these fish that are eagerly scoffing most baits, metal slice lures and the odd fly fisher has been doing well also.

Fisheries and VRFish are conducting 11 public forums around Victoria during June and July to share their improvement ideas and listen to those of recreational fishers.

Fisheries Victoria and VRFish invite recreational fishers to the Torquay Angling Club on The Esplanade, Fisherman’s Beach, Torquay on Wednesday July 3 from 7pm at to share your ideas about improving recreational fishing opportunities in Victoria.

If you cannot make it along on the night, email your ideas to --e-mail address hidden-- or post them on www.facebook.com/DPIVictoria More forum locations are listed on Fisheries Victoria website.

Australian salmon can invade the shallow gutters of Surf Coast beaches en-masse over winter. Try casting 30g metal slice lures using light 2.4m rods into the closer gutters. You’ll be surprised just how close the fish can be this time of year. After dark, lob a big fat pilchard into the same gutters and you may just lock horns with a gummy shark.

Catch a few around Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula or Surf Coast to Lorne recently? Send in a report to --e-mail address hidden-- with “VFM” in the subject field or give me a call on 0408 997348. Please include where (without giving away your secret spot!), when, what on and who caught the fish. Pictures are always great, but please make sure they are at least 1mb (file size).

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