Mad not to go native
  |  First Published: March 2014

With the Yarra River at its lowest and warmest, you’d be mad not to try fishing for some of the great native sports fish that live there. Whether you’re a weekend bait angler or a hardened lure aficionado, this is the time to catch the best fish that the river has to offer.

For the bait fishers, it’s either early in the morning or late in the afternoon that you’ll have the best success. For the most part, fish like golden perch and Murray cod will be tight in their snags during the heat of the day and only venturing out when conditions tell them it’s morning or night. This is not a bad time to be on the river mind you – a nice cool breeze to cut through the day’s heat is always welcome.

Bait anglers will do well if they carry several types of bait with them, including scrub works, yabbies, bardy grubs and the good old Coon cheese. The last one might sound a little strange but cheese is one of the most affective baits for native fish. It works well for two reasons:

Firstly, it attracts a lot of shrimp and small yabbies to it. This creates a mass of feeding activity around the bait and, at times, all you can see is a ball of shrimp. This is the dinner bell ringing for Mr Native!

Secondly, cheese is also quite smelly (as far as food source in a river is concerned) and will leave quite a large berley trail behind itself as the water runs past.

Lastly, its colour is fairly bright compared to the rest of the surrounds it will be lowered into. A small block of 4cm x 2cm x 1cm deep should do the trick. Get a small stick to drill yourself a pilot hole to help put the hook through.

Lure anglers can bust out the entire arsenal and really let them have it at this time of the year – spinnerbaits, hardbodies, surface lures, soft baits, should all get a run! From sun up until sun down is a good time with the peaks being 7am until 11am and 4pm until 9pm. These times of day coincide with the movement of the fish from feeding grounds to cover and back again.

With more light in the sky, you’ll need to fish harder and tighter to the snag structure. Really put the spinnerbait deep into the snags. Another good option for this type of combat fishing is to fish a weedless soft plastic. A weedless worm hook is what you’ll need here and you can more than likely fish it unweighted.

Please be mindful of close seasons, bag limits, protected fish species and the fact that this fishery is a very delicate one. Fisheries are on patrol at this time of the year, as are very protective anglers. So do the right thing!

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