Hopefully by now the cooler weather has started to come in and there is plenty of rain around to start filling the region’s empty waterways.
With cooler weather around, local anglers generally start to change the species they target.
As the weather cools this month the good population of brown trout in Lake Hume should start to become active and plenty of anglers will be chasing them. The most popular method is to troll winged lures such as Tassie Devils or Sting lures between Kookaburra Point and Bethanga Bridge.
With the water so low, be careful launching boats because the banks are still very soft and muddy. I would not recommend attempting to launch a boat without a 4WD. Even with a 4WD I would be checking the ground for a firm spot before launching and ensuring that there is a tree or log that can be used as a winch point if you come across any trouble.
Remember that a 4-knot speed restriction still applies for all water craft south of Bethanga Bridge until Lake Hume reaches 10% capacity.
With Lake Hume so low the recent water clarity has been poor but with the demand of water from downstream irrigators decreasing this month, the lake should settle and the clarity improve.
There haven’t been heaps of reports coming in because a lot of anglers have chosen to stay away from the lake while it is so low and dirty. For those who have persisted there have been many good catches of redfin and a few good brown trout. The most popular technique has been fishing with worms from the bank.
With Lake Hume so low and the trout becoming more active, casting lures or soft plastics while walking the bank may be a serious and viable option this year. Best times for would be around dawn and dusk when the trout are more active. I have never used this method of fishing for trout on Hume before but because the water is so low I will give it a serious crack over the cooler months.
The Murray below Lake Hume continues to fish well with good numbers of Murray cod and golden perch. Bait is still the preferred method for most but April is generally the most successful month for those casting spinnerbaits or lures.
My favourite technique is to cast a 1/2oz Murray River Spinnerbait with a single willow blade or tandem configuration in red/black, purple/black or natural pumpkin colour. When retrieved slowly these configurations travel a lot deeper than the more popular double Colorado or quad spin. The large willow blades also offer more flash in the water than the Colorado.
In the past 12 months there has been a lot written about using lipless crankbaits on native fish. At first I was very hesitant about them, especially due to their high cost, but after using them extensively over the past two months I am a huge fan, particularly in the slower backwaters of the Murray.
I have found these lures great especially if the fish are a little less active than normal. Cod, golden perch, trout, redfin and carp will all have a crack at them. My favourite is the large gold Jackall Doozer but other favourites include the Jackall TN70 in gold, purple and pearl ayu.
Easter is generally a very busy time of the year on this stretch of the Murray, particularly around Howlong. With very little water at Lake Hume there are likely to be even more watercraft and people using this stretch of river. I stress to all anglers to be mindful of this and limit the fish they keep.
I also urge everyone to be on the look-out for people using illegal fishing methods, which are extremely common this time of year. If any one comes across such persons, please report them to DPI Fisheries.
The Murray above Lake Hume continues to be popular and will be extremely busy over Easter. This stretch has produced some great cod and golden perch, particularly on bardi grubs and large yabbies cast in deep holes.
Other popular methods include casting spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and hard-bodied lures.
Another great method that is often underused around here is the surface lure. Fish can be caught on surface lures at anytime of the day but most success is at first light or after sunset. My favourite surface lures are the Murray River Buzz Bait, Kingfisher Mantis, Taylor Made Surface Breaker and Halco Night Walker.
Using these lures in deep holes where there is plenty of structure can result in some great strikes and some of the most exciting freshwater fishing any angler can experience.
The upper Murray has experienced enormous fishing pressure already this season and unless anglers practise catch and release, the quality of fishing will not be sustained.
Over the past couple of months I have heard of several so-called anglers catching and keeping Murray cod of around 10kg to 15kg, which makes me, and a lot of anglers who fish the area regularly, sick in the stomach and very frustrated. These are great fish and are too good to be taken from the river.
As anglers we should not have the right to remove and kill these beautiful creatures. These fish are the river’s future as they are the breeders and if people keep removing and killing these fish to boost their egos, there will be no Murray cod to catch here in the future.
So if you are fishing this area, please practise catch and release with all native fish.
If you have any reports of fish being caught in the region or any photos, feel free to email them to me at: --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 2122