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A quick guide to Cairn Curran
  |  First Published: July 2014



Cairn Curran Reservoir is approximately 2 hours North West of Melbourne near the historic gold mining townships of Maldon and Newstead. A popular spot for fishing and boating, home to Murray cod, golden perch, trout and redfin.

Facilities along the foreshore include picnic areas with electric BBQ’s, toilets and two caravan parks. One near the dam wall at Baringhup and one on the eastern side at Welshmans Reef.

Completed in 1956, the Reservoir supplies water for irrigation along the Loddon River. A hydro electric power station generates electricity when irrigation and flood releases are being made.

For me, a long weekend in Victoria means the chance to go camping and fishing with the family. I think it is a great idea to introduce your kids to sleeping in a tent or swag and enjoy nature and our Australian way of life. There is something about getting away from our busy lifestyles with modern technology and waking up to the screeches of a pack of overzealous cockatoos as the sun is rising.

Normally I would head somewhere along the Murray River to chase cod and goldens, however, Cairn Curran provides a great location close to home with a reputation for great fish captures and all the facilities such as toilets, hot showers and boat ramps to make camping with the family simple.

On a large waterway such as Cairn Curran Reservoir it is important to target potential fish holding areas with various techniques. With large bays likely to have water skiers present, look to the timber and rocky points as your initial targets.

I recommend to have a variety of rods and rigs with baitcasters and spin gear in my arsenal. I love to throw lures and actively target snags and use a baitcaster outfit with spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits or metal blades. On my spin gear I rig a variety of bibbed lures for differing depths and sizes. You never know when those large cod will take a liking to your lure and it is best to have a decent sized cod lure rigged and ready for action. I know our editor Steve Booth has a fetish for red and black cod lures.

For bait fishing use an outfit rigged with a running sinker that you can bob and jig next to the trees. Scrubworms are a favourite in these parts and often you will find them in the moist gullies under some old rotting timber. This is another great pastime that the kids will enjoy, just watch out for the snakes during the summer months.

When looking at jigging the timber remember the old faithful lures like Baltic Bobbers and ice jigs. Redfin and golden perch won’t be able to resist a well presented lolly dancing in front of them.

During the warmer months, the large golden perch and cod move to the deeper and more comfortable water, temperature wise. The steep rocky banks that slope down into the vertical timber can be the perfect areas to target, particularly for the early morning or late afternoon bite periods.

Using technology such as a Minn Kota electric motor to stealthily move between the trees and pitch casts to all options, including the rocky banks and standing timber, increases your chances of hooking up. Make sure you work over any horizontal timber and laydowns. Many of these can also be found using your sounder and side imaging technology. Goldens love to make timber their home and can’t resist a well presented spinnerbait. I found purple to be one of their favourites.

Targeting redfin can be a rewarding exercise to partake in with the kids. These feisty fish will aggressively hit a lure and at certain times of the year can be in large numbers in the Reservoir. They vary in size and are a great eating fish. There is no legal minimum size or bag limit.

Trolling the large bays and weed edges can be one of the simplest ways to get a bent rod and pass it to the kids to wind in and watch the excitement on their faces when a fish is kicking around in the boat. Just remember redfin are from the perch family and have a sharp gill rakers and large spikes. The easiest way to hold them is with a thumb grip in their large mouths.

I stayed at the caravan park at Welshmans Reef and the ability to have a hot shower before a camp cook up is a Godsend. They kids loved playing on the foreshore and going to the kiosk for a bag of lollies. There is something relaxing about kicking back in a chair around a camp fire.

Cairn Curran Reservoir is a great close to home option to catch a fish and have a great weekend with the family. A short drive home means you can get home early and still get a few chores done around the house before hitting the grind at work the next day.

Casting lures to the rocky banks is a great option when fishing Cairn Curran Reservoir. Make sure you keep an eye on the sounder and have a lure on that dives close to the bottom.

A good size Yellowbelly is always a welcome treat in the boat and brings a smile to your face.

The Yellowbelly in Lake Cairn Curran are renown for being of football size and have some pull.

The sun setting on Lake Cairn Curran means the day is nearly over and time to head back to your chair around the camp fire.

Using a Minn Kota electric motor around the timber is a great way to be stealthy and pin point your targets with lures. Note the laydown timber on the rocky bank where we pulled a Yellowbelly on a spinnerbait.

Using both baitcaster and spin gear with a variety of lures including spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and varying deep diving lures maximises your chances of hooking up and having the correct outfit for the location.

Trolling up redfin is a great option with the kids. Using the Minn Kota to troll is an easy way to hook up and then hit the Spot Lock function while the kids reel them in.

Trolling with both large cod lures and deep diving lures means you are always a chance to hook up to a cod.

Playing on the foreshore can be great fun. Make sure you your fit your kids with a child’s PFD and wear a hat and sunscreen.

Camping with the family on a beautiful long weekend close to home has got to be good.

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