Bag out at Bonnie Doon
  |  First Published: December 2013

The shear size of Lake Eildon means different areas of the lake have different attributes and they can all be fishing very differently. The Bonnie Doon end of the lake warms up first in spring bringing the goldens on the bite approximately two weeks before the top end. It is also the first end to cool down.

Now in the height of summer, the water temperatures are 20ºC+ and the fish have moved from the shallow grassy flats into the deeper water to reside in a more comfortable water temperature.

There are a multitude of options to catch fish, I find one of the best methods in summer is to focus on fishing upright timber in 20-30ft of water to target redfin and golden perch, and if you’re lucky the occasional Murray cod. Use your sounder around structure; half the battle is finding a school, so if you can do that chances are you’ll be into a few fish.

To catch these tree huggers drop down a bait, soft plastic or lipless crankbait and allow it to hit the bottom and work it a foot off the floor.

Worms and yabbies are hard to go past in the bait department, but on a hot summer’s day the toughest part about bait is keeping it alive. It is essential to make a conscious effort to keep the bait cool and fresh, 10 minutes in the sun and those worms are now a lovely worm casserole.

Small soft plastics with the fluttery tail are dynamite for catching numbers of fish. A simple jigging motion up and down is all that is required, redfin jump are all over this.

Lipless crankbaits in the 50-70mm range are ideal for targeting larger fish. Use a bit of weight to get down reasonably quickly, and again it is a simple method of ripping the lure up and down in the strike zone. There are plenty of lipless crankbaits to choose from; if you want a lure with plenty of noise you can’t go past a Jackall, if you want a lure with some flash then the Balista Juggernauts are a goer as well.

If you want to chase something a little larger, say in the cod department, there are plenty of trolling options. There are a couple of rock banks around Bonnie Doon and, while these are perfect places to troll, they do get a fair bit of traffic. The key to fishing Bonnie Doon is to think outside the square and look for areas that other people aren’t fishing, which can take time. Look for drop-offs, points, and any unique structure – you may inadvertently bump into a large snag while trolling, if so pull out your casting rod and throw in a couple of casts into that structure and you may be pleasantly surprised to find a good native. Early mornings/late evenings troll the 3-4m mark, during the day push out a little wider into the 5-8m mark.

The natives in Eildon are huge so don’t be shy to use decent sized lures. If you’re chasing cod the lure size should be starting at 70mm at an absolute minimum and can go well above 100mm to chase the big boys.

What an amazing fishery Lake Eildon is, whether you’re chasing Murray cod, goldens, redfin or trout, Bonnie Doon has all of it on offer, and it’s not out of the question to catch all in the one day!

If you have any photos or reports from Bonnie Doon I’d be delighted to hear from you: James Dainton --e-mail address hidden-- Our Balista range of lures feature LED technology and are designed specifically for natives. View the range at www.balista.com.au or join us at facebook.com/balistalures.

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