Spring is a time of change. The birds are singing and the Murray cod will be doing their best to breed and spawn for future seasons. Murray cod season ends on September 1 so if you do catch one by accident please return it to the water immediately, as stressed fish will often lose their eggs during this delicate time.
To limit your captures of cod during the closed season stick to lures more suited to the golden perch, which will be flourishing and feeding well after their winter hibernation! Lures in the 45-65mm range will be the go, with lipless crankbaits and vibes a proven winner on the perch.
Split Rock Dam out past Manilla has been starting to show good signs of fish in recent weeks after what seemed to be an eternity of inactivity. A few reports of golden perch and eel-tailed catfish have kept anglers happy.
Lake Keepit should be heating up, and fishing the shallow banks around the lake will see the golden perch foraging for the first of the emerging shrimps and yabbies. As the water temps start to rise so will the numbers of these tasty crustaceans, so look for weeded banks and areas where shallow rocky bottom meets the clay and you should come up trumps. Suspending lures are great for this sort of work, as are small blades and soft plastics.
Those fishing with bait around the dam should still do well providing you have the right bait. Some anglers who breed their own yabbies will do extremely well, and bobbing raw prawns slowly up the trees will also bring some success.
And all of you flyfishers out there will be jumping for joy as the spring run of large carp in the shallows will be in full swing as they breed and school up around the edge of the dam. Sight casting Woolly Buggers or worm imitations will take the majority of fish.
After last month’s rain a good flow has come back to the river and hopefully a good breeding season lies ahead for our beloved cod.
The recent rain has stirred the yellowbelly for the bait fishers, with good reports of 35-40cm fish falling for worms in all the favourite spots. For those chasing the yellowbelly on lures they would be coming on the bite by the time you read this.
As the water warms and abundant food sources become more readily available, the resurgence of catfish in the Peel and Cockburn is amazing. Even though it is illegal to keep them from our river systems, being able to see their nests along the river edges is a great sign that they are breeding and doing well.
Just like in the dams, the carp will be menacing the edges in search of love and food. Target them with bread, corn, worms or (my secret bait) hot chips with chicken salt! This will see you having a blast on these hard fighting pests. Just remember not to return them to the water as they devastate our native stocks and damage our fragile ecosystems.
Another great activity as the weather warms is yabbying. Taking the kids down to the river or pond for bait collection can be hours of fun as for them and teaches them a great lesson, and they’ll have dozens of chances to catch clawed crusaders. A length of 1-1.5m of light monofilament line with a piece of meat like liver or steak tied to the end is normally best. As the line pulls tight you slowly and smoothly bring the yabby close enough to the surface to put a small scoop net behind it before it shoots off back to its hidey hole.
Scotts Road Creek, the river behind Peel High and Tangaratta Creek are great locations and have a nice little area to set up a picnic lunch if you’re making a day of it. If adventure is your thing and you don’t mind the extra travel, Sheba Dam is stunning and also holds good populations of yabbies, not to mention the chance of catching a rainbow trout or two.Reads: 463