Cod opening weekend smash
  |  First Published: December 2014

Yet another year has passed and 2014 was a very hit and miss year. The trend of locals using bigger profiled lures saw plenty of above average fish caught in our rivers. There was plenty of smaller fish caught as well during 2014, which is a sign the river systems are strong in our region.

For me, 2014 was a very busy year, the birth of my son came 11 weeks early which kept me off the water a lot during the year. To all those who chipped in sending emails and photos regarding to how the area was fishing was much appreciated.

Looking into the future I expect to get plenty more hours on the water in 2015, a new coaching role in Benalla will see me explore some new waterways towards Benalla. The broken river has some great access points out that way and I look forward to seeing some new water.

Now back to 2014 where we had some bumper weather over the cod opening period, a few storm fronts came and went and the temp ranged from 25-35 for weeks prior and during cod opening.

This year there was plenty of super keen anglers on the water right on the stroke of midnight to try and get bragging rights over their mates to see who would land the first cod.

The trend in casting lures from the bank in narrow waterways was very productive locally with the Broken River fishing excellently. Casting larger profiled hardbodies with a shallow bib from all reports worked best. In the Broken you can keep your lures in the strike zone very well with these types of lures.

Bait fishers did not come home disappointed over the cod opening period with fresh bardi grubs being the most successful bait. Finding a nice shady tree and placing your grubs deep into the structure worked best.

Stock up early on your live bait, come late January it gets a lot harder to dig grubs or buy them, all local tackle stores have very good bait set ups with most supplying almost everything you need for a day’s fishing.

As I write this article the Goulburn River has never looked this good over December, hopefully the environmental flows in November gave the river a heathly flush and if the water clarity stays the same January will see plenty of reports flowing in from the river.

Over cod opening weekend Toolamba was the most prominent area with reports flooding in of dozens of legal sized cod caught and released. Unlike the Broken the Goulburn fished better with spinnerbaits, red and black or purple and black was the best colours and almost all brands of spinnerbaits were represented in reports.

With the clear water conditions and a bit of flow, casting to the upstream side of snags worked well for those using bait. Similar spots worked just as well, just remember to cast in front of the structure as it will end up settling in the strike zone.

The water temp will continue to rise in January and I think the river will continue to fish best out towards Toolamba and Murchison. If we get a spike in river height target the waters towards Moira Park or around the Shepparton cemetery rock wall the flowing water should really fire up the fish in these areas.

Kialla Lakes

The lakes are still producing large amounts of carp and redfin, most fishing the lakes are now shifting from targeting yellowbelly to now targeting the introduced fish. The lakes are a nice safe and clean place to fish and with the park and shops right there it’s a great spot to take the family for a couple of hours.

Floating a bunch of worms around the willows has been the best method for redfin and corn kernels fished on the bottom for carp.

There is still a chance to catch a good sized yellowbelly in the lakes so don’t count out landing a good native fish.

Shepparton Lake

With the warmer weather and a shallow water system the fish have been holding right on the bottom or deep into the weed beds. This has made it a bit difficult for us as trolling deeper lures seems hard as they get caught up in a lot of the weed. If you can find a lure that will sit just above the weed beds you should have some luck.

Floating worms or power baits still produces trout but they seem to be struggling to survive being caught, which is a shame. It maybe best to target the natives with bigger lures unless you’re looking to keep a trout.

Craigmuir Lake

There has not been a heap of reports from Craigmuir of late I think a lot more of the Mooroopna fishing community have targeted cod in the rivers, which means the redfin and yellowbelly have had some time off from being targeted.

If you head to the lakes, casting lipless crankbaits or trolling them will work a treat.

Waranga Basin

Get in early before the speed boats is my hot tip for this time of the year. If you get on the water at day break and fish until about 9 or 10am you will beat the rush of speed boats that seem to enjoy chopping up the water when you’re on a hot bite.

Locating the schools early is a huge advantage and the birds are still working the schools over out there, which makes life easier. The fish in past months have been holding in deeper waters around to 20-25m mark, which makes it a touch harder to fish but just be more patient and let your bait or lure sink a bit longer.

River Rats Family Fishing Classic & Outdoor Expo

There is a buzz around the town as some of Australia’s leading fisho’s are coming. Both Rod Mackenzie and Glen Casey will be in attendance at the Outdoor & Fishing Expo Friday 30 January at the Shepparton Swans Club Rooms, Princess Park, Shepparton. They both will be holding fishing talks and mingling with the crowd.

As well as the fishing talks there will be plenty of displays and stalls selling some quality tackle. All who attend have a chance to win lucky door prizes and a major expo raffle prize – a fishing session with Rod Mackenzie.

The expo is the lead up to the Family Fishing Classic and this year EVERYONE wins a prize. There are hundreds of prizes to be given out over the weekend and with a massive 30 hours of permitted fishing everyone is catered for.

Entrants can fish from Nagambie to Undera and out to Benalla, which lets everyone fish their favourite spots.

Cost is $50 for adults and under 15s $20; it gets you 2 meals, expo entry, lucky door prize tickets and the chance to win cash prizes.

For more information contact me on 0429 000 653.

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