Crazy on the cray
  |  First Published: September 2014

Spring is finally here and I am very happy to see the back end of winter. It’s been a disappointing winter on the fishing side of things but it was the best cray season I have ever seen in our region.

Reports just kept flooding in over the past month with many people catching their bag limits on most trips. For years I have been talking about the potential of the Goulburn River and it has well and truly delivered this season.

Now with the crays and cod out of our target list, we shift our attention to spring yellowbelly and redfin. Over the past couple of months, the rivers have been higher than usually and if we get the same rise and falls in spring, it will see the yellowbelly go on the bite.

Other than cod opening the start of spring for me is the most exciting time of the year, there always is such an anticipation of what the season will bring.

If we get some good spring rain you can almost guarantee yourself a fish on the rise in the Broken River in September and October. If you’re bait fishing on the rise, try and find any pool/back water and make sure you are using fresh bait. If you’re more a lure fisho you will have a ball in the spring chasing yellowbelly as they normally take to lures more aggressively than bait.

When fishing the Broken I would suggest targeting the waters either along Broken River Drive or get in the car and head to Benalla and fish just downstream of the town. The best spots used to be out Pine Lodge way but years of over fishing and over taking of fish by some have just stuffed those areas.

Fingers-crossed in a few years’ time they fire up again out that way but between now and then there is still plenty of good spots closer to town.

If heading out the Goulburn I would target Rafterys Road area. This spot seems to fish best in the spring, there is plenty of good bank or boating spots out there. If launching a boat there is a good little ramp as you enter the bush or some of the sandbars can make handy launching spots.

If you’re looking for a redfin fix then now is the time to target them in the channels, there is plenty of water in them and the fish are responding well to both lures and bait. As I always say, target structure and the channels have limited structure so if you can find rock walls, bridges and drop bars I would suggest fishing there.

There has also been trout and yellowbelly caught in the main eastern channel lately so it’s starting to become one of our best fisheries in the area so if the rivers are not your style get out to the channels.

Kialla Lakes

Spring is normally a fun time at the lakes, if you can get hold of a kayak or canoe I would make your way out to the island and just cast your arm off, as that’s where the big fish will be holding. The water clarity is the best I have seen it in a year it’s still not like it used to be but its improving as each month goes on.

Remember if there are storms, around the lakes fish extremely well. I don’t suggest fish during the storms but before or after is dynamite and the yellas really go nuts.

Slow rolling any type of lure would be the best method for spring. However, don’t stick with just one type of lure, constantly change your lures until you crack the code.

Shepparton Lake

The trout have been on fire lately in the Shepparton Lake; they may be small but still great fun on light gear. You can target the trout either from the fishing platforms or from a boat, which makes fishing for them very accessible for everyone.

As well as targeting trout, there are plenty of yellowbelly between the 35-45cm mark in the lake, so if using light gear expect to have some good fights with a yella or two while chasing the trout.

Best lures lately have been small lipless crankbaits, and for the bait fishos a big heap of worms suspended below a float.

Waranga Basin

There have not been too many reports from the basin lately. This could be a result of the recent windy conditions. The bad news is that over the next few months the wind is most likely going to stay with us.

For those who got out for a fish at the basin, they found the bigger fish were holding in 10-15ft of water, and trolling small Codgers was the most successful technique. Any bright colour hardbodies will work, but I feel the Codgers work best in these water depths.

Craigmuir Lakes

A Craigmuir Lake is one of Mooroopna’s best kept fishing secrets and I can’t hold onto it anymore. The lakes are similar to Kialla Lakes, as it’s a residential area, but does not have the same amount of bank access. So if fishing the lake do so out of a kayak or canoe, but remember just like Kialla be respectful of the home owners on the water’s edge as we are pretty much fishing from their backyards.

There are plenty of redfin and yellowbelly in the lake but I can’t stress enough catch and release is suggested as it’s not a stocked lake, so every fish you take is one less for next time.

Over the spring and summer months I hope to have more reports from the lake.

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