Tough fishing for tough customers
  |  First Published: April 2015

What a disappointing summer it’s been at Eildon with the fishing the toughest it been in at least a dozen years and the usual reliable redfin virtually disappearing and taking our favourite table fish off the menu.

The disappearing acted was an all redfin affair with yellowbelly performing a similar trick around Christmas, and hopes are high that they’ll start to make a reappearance in April. The saving grace is that there have been reasonable numbers of Murray cod getting caught, and I’ve heard of five fish over a metre being caught this year. Plenty of smaller cod are also being caught, with a lot of 40-50cm fish being reported.

My theory is that two things have contributed to the poor fishing of late. Firstly the increase in the amount of water being released into the Goulburn River has resulted in falling water levels on the lake. This constant decline has seen the water drop 5-8cm every day since they started releasing water into the river, and it’s a change that the fish don’t seem to like.

The second contributory factor is the amount of boat traffic on the lake, with this year one of the busiest ever. An increase in boats, PWCs and other waterway craft and users is making Eildon busier than it’s ever been. Finding a quiet weekend is proving very difficult these days, and I’m sure the increase in traffic is having an effect on the fishing.

One thing that has improved of late is the number of larger brown trout lurking near the surface early in the morning sipping little moths and flies off the surface. If you’re heading to Eildon make sure you pack a fly rod because they seem to only have eyes for flies when hunting on the surface. I really expect the fishing to get better into April and May as the water maintains a decent level and the water starts to cool. Let’s hope it does anyway.

The Goulburn River is at its best thanks to all the water that’s been released into it, and it’s currently in pristine condition with clear water, healthy weed beds, and plenty of quality browns and rainbows eager to eat soft plastics and hard bodies. Gold coloured lures are the go at the moment, with the Gale brothers catching at least ten fish per session on their last few trips, with the fish ranging in weight from 800gm to 4lb. The fish are in pristine condition with their beautiful orange flesh making for excellence smoking and even better eating.

The Pond has been fishing exceptionally well of late, with a recent release of fingerlings expected to grow fast and big over the next few years. These juvenile trout are primed to grown into 8-10lb mega trout, and will eagerly eat gold wobblers, pink Tassie Devils, and mudeyes fished underneath a bubble float.

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