Persistence pays off for dedicated anglers
  |  First Published: October 2014

Yeah I know, I say it every year but get ready for middle and late spring because it's notorious for cranky bream, dirty water and windy days.

It's also right in the middle of the bream spawning season, but the good news is that catch rates will slowly but surely improve during the next few weeks and months. At the moment fish tallies have been okay and probably better than other years at this time, so after a quick overview of recent reports, I’ll concentrate on what lies ahead.

Tambo River

Where would we be without the ever reliable Tambo? Bait anglers are persisting with sandworm and are getting a fair return for their efforts.

A real mixed bag of sizes with a few nice bream around 40cm thrown in with the main catch of fish that seem to be around 22-26cm.

Prawn and shrimp baits are still not working anywhere as good as sandworm, so go to the effort and source a good supply of quality worm if you can.

I've heard of very few anglers that are having much success at all with lures in this river except for a few bream caught on blades below the boat ramp.

Sadly, big schools of bream are showing up on the sounder in this area but are refusing to open their mouth! However, be prepared to keep your ear to the ground and make sure you are there when the switch gets turned on and these huge schools of bream start feeding.

Hollands Landing

Other reports from bait anglers have expressed the shock of fishless days, including the area around Hollands Landing. I talked to a few of the guys from the local Stratford Angling Club using mainly bait in the Straits and Toms Creek a couple of weeks ago. Nearly all of the guys came home fishless after spending two days trying to track the buggers down. Ouch! But I'm not at all surprised because as I keep saying, it's quite normal for this time of the season.

The main culprits for the lack of action here is the flooded Latrobe, Thomson and Avon rivers. They have all pushed some brown fresh water right across Lake Wellington and down into the Straits. Toms Creek has remained clean for much longer but still yields a very poor return for effort. Hard to believe really, because with such good quality salty water, I expected this area to really fire.

Nicholson River

The news is a little better from the Nicho and the lower sections are probably the best areas to target.

Even a few lure anglers have landed bream to 37cm along the rock walls and deeper drop offs from the boat ramp down to the river entrance.

I also talked to bait anglers who anchored their boats up just above the railway bridge and caught a nice score of bream on sandworm and frozen prawn, but they said the action was fairly slow until about mid morning. The bream came onto the chew for an hour or two and then decided to do what these pesky fish do better than anything else...shut down again!

Mitchell River

Surprisingly the one thing you can almost guarantee each year around September and October is the fact that estuary perch seem to love cold and even fairly dirty water.

The upper Mitchell always seems to hold a good number of small to medium-sized perch in it and if you want to find them over the next month or so, try up at the highway bridge.

A few EP have also returned to the Backwater and have surprised a few anglers by even taking surface lures. They are heavily targeted in this area and will often only take lures right on dusk or the first light of morning. Sometimes these fish will school up deep and will gladly take small soft plastics or blades.

Looking ahead

Well, the good news is that as the water temperatures rise it will rouse the bream and flathead out of the doldrums to provide the renowned excellent fishing the Gippy Lakes can provide.

I’m sure that bait anglers will continue to get the best bream bags and lure anglers will start to catch up as those same bream return to the lakes after the river spawning run.

Historically some of the best fishing seems to always start in the shallows of the lakes around Metung, the Mitchell flats and Duck Arm during late October and huge flathead and big bream will start feeding in the shallows. I'm sure we will see this happen again and I can't wait to be there and catch them!

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