The Hopkins River is located in south west Victoria and is ever so popular to local anglers and tourists.
The two main drawcard species that bring anglers here are the bream and estuary perch, along with a few others, one including the ever elusive mulloway. The fishing can be hot and cold, but with good boat and launching facilities and plenty of bank side access, it is the perfect river to fish for all levels of expertise.
It is an all year round fishery, this is what makes the Hopkins a popular location for all to fish. In times of drought, or flood, an angler can always hit the water, put a plan together and ruffle up a few fish to the surface.
Like most estuary fishing a light graphite spin rod with a 2000 size reel is best when chasing bream and perch. This type of outfit spooled with light braid will be more than enough for pretty much any species in the system, including mulloway.
Light leaders for spooky fish is the key when lure fishing for bream and perch. There are plenty of salmon (generally small) but trolling hard bodies is a good way to catch them as well as most other species in the system. Bait fishers do really well with a light running sinker rig. As there is little tidal flow, the lighter the sinker you can get away with, the better and more successful you will be.
The key to a successful session in the river is fresh bait. Podworm, crabs, shrimp, or live freshwater yabbies are abundant in the river itself and are the go-to baits. If lure fishing a variety of small soft plastics, deep and shallow diving hardbodies and of course in the colder months, vibes and blades will all catch their fair share of big bream and perch.
When targeting bream and perch in the winter months a quality sounder is essential. Locating schooled up fish in open water and casting small blades to the fish is the best methods and most enjoyable way to spend time on the water.
There are a lot of fish in the ‘Hoppies’, big and small. But there is an abundance of small, undersized bream, perch and salmon. So remember to keep up to date with the latest rules and regulations. Not only can this prevent a fine but it also keeps the stock levels of fish good for years to come.
Keep an eye on your sounder especially around the Bay of Biscay and a little bit further up as there are underwater reefs full of coral, which make excellent fish holding structure, but can also be the difference between landing fish and loosing fish, let alone doing damage to your boat. On calm still mornings if the fish are on the go and feeding, you can actually hear them chewing on the coral under the water through the hull of the boat.
Gerard Hawthorne with a quality bream for which the Hopkins River is known.
An average sized estuary perch caught on a surface plastic on dusk.Reads: 1250