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Crays get in on the act
  |  First Published: July 2014



Facts

Winter is now well upon us and this makes fishing very tough around our local area.

Over the past month there have been few reports of fish being caught in our rivers. There have been plenty of anglers fishing but they have been frustrated by bait-taking crays, but to some anglers’ surprise, they are actually landing crays from the bank on a rod.

The new trend in bait fishing has seen dozens of crays being caught from the bank. There are a lot more people using alternative baits, such as chicken breast, sausages or chicken chippies from the supermarket. I don’t use these baits but it seems to be very popular and hopefully not detrimental to the fish’s health.

Crays have also been landed from the bank on bardi grubs and worms, but if you are trying to catch crays while angling, it’s very frustrating as 9 out of 10 times they let go of the bait just metres from the bank.

But if you’re looking for a good feed of crays, or just a night on the river, go buy a few cray pots, fill them with bait and have a crack. So many readers I bump into at Trelly’s stocking up for a cray trip leave our area to look elsewhere, but there are so many great locations on our back door.

I had a report of a group of lads landing 60-70 crays; majority females but still a dozen size males amongst them. I can’t disclose the location but all I can say is you don’t have to travel outside of Shepparton and the group targeted 2 deep bends that had 20-25ft of water.

If you don’t have a boat you can still fish for crays. It’s not as easy but I have had success in the past throwing nets off the bank in the Broken River. Make sure you find a spot where you have limited snags in your pull zone as once your net catches a snag on the way up it normally flips the nets and releases all your catch.

As I said earlier in the article, fishing in the rivers has been poor, which is not strange for this time of the year. I have only heard of a couple of fish being caught, I had a report of a 65cm cod being trolled on a Pirate Spinnerbait Crossbones lure. These lures troll extremely well and are very hard to snag up, which is a huge advantage when trolling the Goulburn as you all know how frustrating it can be constantly turning the boat around to de-snag a lure. The two hook design normally turns a strike into a solid hook up.

Over the next month I would be trolling these lures, or any type of spinnerbait, and just work over an area you feel confident in.

Channels

The channels are now one of two local hot spots. I recently went out for a fish and managed to land 12 redfin in a little over an hour of fishing. I was casting small hardbodies about 4-5’ from the bank using a slow rolling retrieve. You find your lure crashing around the rocky edges a lot when casting in tight to the bank but I found this was what the fish loved.

Sometimes targeting different areas of the channels can be the difference I started targeting the concrete walls and drop bars but after plenty of time fishing these areas I had the switch to the edges.

If you find the edges are producing fish try and throw a small popper just on dark the redfin go nuts and sometimes get airborne. This is a great thrill and gets the heart pumping.

Kialla Lakes

I have no reports for the lakes in the past month I thought there maybe the odd redfin getting caught but that has not been the case. I would bypass the Lakes until September as I can’t see to many fish being caught over the colder months.

Shepparton Lake

The lake is still producing fish consistently for those who put the time and effort in. When using lures at the lake make sure you have a basic gold spinner in the tackle box. The $25 Jackals are my favourite but sometimes the $4 Gold Spinner does the damage on all species in the lake.

Redfin, trout and golden perch will all hit a spinner and using them when the sun is directly over the lake will be the best chance for you to maximise your chances of catching a fish.

For those who don’t know, you can put your boat on the lake as there is a great little ramp in the back corner. Just remember there is a 5 knot speed limit and there are plenty of other lake user with rowers, sail boats and canoeist.

Waranga Basin

In my mind the best time to fish the basin is in the winter. There is no speed boats or jet skis and normally minimal fishing boats to contest with.

Over the past month there has been reports of 100+ fish being caught in a day’s fishing at the basin. Both lure and bait has produced fish but lure fishing has been more successful lately.

Most fishos are either driving around to find the schools on their sounders or just trolling until you find them.

The fish seem to be holding in 10-15ft for an hour or two then they move out to 20-25ft. This has been the same pattern for the past few years. So if you find yourself catching fish then all of a sudden they go off the bite move out a bit deeper or shallower to find the moving school.

The Squidgy Wriggler in 70-100mm size are the best lure when casting. The drop bear or silver fox are the best colours.

If bait fishing for redfin, I go to the local Spotlight and buy a few bags of coloured beads. Silver, gold and red are the colours I use. Place a few of these beads above your hook and a big bunch of worms.

Freshwater crayfish regulations in Victoria

Common names:Spiny freshwater crayfish
Minimum legal size:10cm carapace length
Maximum legal size:12cm carapace length
Bag limit:2
State-wide possession limit:4 Murray spiny freshwater crayfish anywhere in Vic
Closed season:1 Sep to 31 May for waters north of the Great Dividing Range

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