With the festive season over for another year and all the family commitments met, it is a great time of year to be fishing in the Albury-Wodonga area.
Normally this time of year Lake Hume is invaded and taken hostage by ski boats and PWCs but with lake less than 10% capacity at the moment, authorities have introduced a 4-knot speed restriction for all watercraft. This restriction will keep speed boats and jet skis away from the lake, which should make it far more peaceful while fishing. Just remember to keep to the limit.
With the lake so low and with no boat ramps in the water, most people are launching from the steep rocky banks at Ebden Reserve or from the steep banks at the Lake Hume Resort which, at the time of writing this report, could be still done with most conventional two-wheel-drive vehicles.
Redfin are the main target at Lake Hume this time of year and can be caught in large numbers once located. Best times are early morning and late afternoon/evening. The most popular and successful techniques is to fish among and around sunken trees using baits such as small yabbies, worms or shrimp.
With the speed restriction on Hume, I recommend launching and then trolling a minnow type of lure such as a McGrath or Merlin en route to where you intend baitfishing. More often than not the lures will cross a school of redfin. Others lures worth a try, on which I have had success on in the past, include Luhr Jensen Hot Lips, Tiny Boys or Custom Crafted Extractors.
When trolling for redfin at Lake Hume I usually run a soft plastic on a 40cm dropper about a metre above the lure. I have had most success using white Squidgy Wrigglers.
There have been mixed reports in the past month or so with many people catching large bags of good redfin one day and getting very few the next. This will continue while cold water is still being released from Dartmouth Dam but the fishing should improve and become more consistent as the warmer weather sets in.
Murray cod and golden perch are the prime targets this time of year in the Murray. The water between the wall at Lake Hume and Albury offers some fine native fishing. This stretch is best accessed with a boat but there is plenty of shore access to the river at Heywards Bridge, Bonegilla Island (known by locals as Waterworks) and Mungabareena Reserve.
This time of year the river is running high and fast, which makes fishing a little more challenging. For those who prefer to use bait, worms, yabbies, bardi grubs or shrimp will work well now. Worms are probably the best when fishing from one of the reserves because you are likely to also catch the odd brown trout.
My favourite technique in this area is to find quieter water and cast spinnerbaits or crankbaits such as 70mm Oar Gee Plows or Custom Crafted Extractors hard up against fallen redgums or under overhanging willows. With the river running so quickly, I generally use heavier spinnerbaits. My favourites for this type of fishing are the Murray River Spinnerbaits in 3/4oz single willow or double Colorado set-ups.
Speed restrictions on Lake Hume have meant increased boating activity, particularly ski boats, on the Murray around Albury, especially downstream of the Norial Park boat ramp. All users of this stretch of river should take extra care.
There have been reports of good numbers of golden perch and small Murray cod caught on bait and lures around the Mungabareena Reserve area.
Further downstream of Albury, there have been a lot of small Murray cod and golden perch caught on bait around Howlong. Most popular baits seem to be worms, yabbies and shrimp.
If you have any reports around the Albury-Wodonga region or any photos, feel free to email them to me at: --e-mail address hidden--
The author with a 53cm Murray cod caught down stream of Mungabareena Reserve. Fish caught on a ¾ oz Single Willow Murray River Spinnerbait.Reads: 1979