It has already been a long, hot and dry Summer and it looks set to continue this month. The lakes, rivers and streams are at the lowest levels they have been for many years if not decades but fishing is still worth the effort.
February is usually my favourite month to target redfin on Lake Hume. The water is generally at is warmest and the redfin are normally very active.
Generally they can be caught by most methods including bait, casting soft and hard lures, trolling, and jigging. Baits of small yabbies and worms comprise the most popular method at this time of year.
Lake Hume is predicted to fall to 1% of capacity by the end of the month. It is unknown what effect this will have on fishing because it’s been some time since the lake has been seen at that level.
It seems the 4-knot speed restriction for all watercraft on Hume has deterred many anglers with very few boats seen on the lake each day. But those few anglers have reported some very good catches of redfin with the odd yellowbelly or small cod caught as welcome by-catch.
Since the opening of the cod season the Murray River below Lake Hume has been fishing very well, even though it has been running very high and fast. Most anglers have been getting a cod or two each outing, mostly by fishing with bardi grubs, yabbies or cheese.
There have been several reports of good numbers of cod around 50cm caught around the Howlong area, which is a good sign that the fish are growing. This is a credit to the fishing clubs in the area which have released thousands of cod fingerlings over the past few years.
Even though 50cm fish legal, I must stress the importance of returning the majority of cod of this size unharmed to the water because fish of this size have not reached maturity and haven’t started to breeding. Doing this will ensure the cod will have a long-term future in the river.
With less water being released from Lake Hume, the river has started to fall and the current has slowed, making it much easier for anglers trolling or casting lures. As the water falls, more snags will become exposed.
Anglers who spend time casting spinnerbaits or large lures such as Custom Crafted Hammerheads, Oar-Gee Plows, StumpJumpers and Predatek Boomerangs at these snags are sure to come across some good fish.
Since the river has started to fall I have been regularly fishing between Lake Hume and Mungabareena Reserve with good friend Brett Castles of Bluey’s Bait and Tackle in Wodonga. We have caught nice Murray Cod up to 75cm casting various Murray River Spinnerbaits at large underwater snags.
The Murray above Lake Hume offers something for all anglers at this time of year. Trout anglers and those chasing natives can find good fishing and there is good access through numerous public reserves along the river, some of which allow camping.
Anglers chasing Murray cod and golden perch generally walk the banks and cast crankbaits or spinnerbaits around fallen red gum trees and other snags. Baitfishing is also a popular technique with the preferred bardi grubs or large yabbies.
Trout anglers mostly cast minnow-type lures such as Rapalas in brown or rainbow trout pattern or spinners such as Celtas. In deeper pools I like casting winged lures such as Tassie Devils or Lofty’s Cobras.
For bait anglers I recommend drifting unweighted worms, grasshoppers and crickets in shallow, fast pools over gravel beds. If you have trouble casting unweighted baits, try adding a small slit shot about 45cm above the bait.
This area is great for flyfishing. There are many grasshoppers around, offering plenty of food for the good population of brown trout. I suggest any hopper pattern in sizes 12 to14 and I often run a small brown nymph on a dropper attached to the main fly. Other flies, such as a Royal Wulff, Red Tag, Elk Hair Caddis and red or yellow Humpy, are also worth a go.
If you have any reports of fish caught in the Albury-Wodonga region or any photos, feel free to email them to me at --e-mail address hidden--
Brett Castles with a beautiful 75cm Murray cod caught in the Murray near Albury casting a double Colorado Murray River Spinnerbait.Reads: 561