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Time for big fish
  |  First Published: May 2015



The cooling water temperature during May delivers good and bad for anglers in the Bendigo region. While the drop in temperature reduces catch rates it does bring the big fish out play.

The cooling temperatures are often accompanied by a reduction in current flow in the rivers and improved water clarity. As the water temperature cools the fish realize it is their last opportunity to put on condition before the winter chill sets in. This means boom times for anglers as we head into winter.

LAKE EPPALOCK

The fishing in Lake Eppalock continues to be good, but I’m not expecting it to last long, and by the end of May things should have slowed down considerably. The redfin fishing has been okay over recent weeks and should continue to be good over the next few weeks. Locating a good concentration of redfin can be difficult. At the present time the best concentrations of quality redfin are being located in depths around ten metres. Trolling deep diving hard body lures has been working well. The most productive method however has been casting soft plastics. Slow rolling and vertical jigging have been the two standout techniques when fishing plastics.

The golden perch fishing in Lake Eppalock continues to be good, with trolling around the shoreline in 4-8m of water the most productive approach. Casting and retrieving with both hard body lures and lipless crank baits has been producing plenty of fish. The average size of the golden perch being caught has been between 42-44cm.

There continues to be small numbers of Murray cod being caught. The majority of these however aren’t being caught by anglers targeting cod, but are a by-catch when targeting golden perch. Hopefully with some increased Murray cod stocking in the future, more anglers will fish this lake to specifically targeting Murray cod.

CAMPASPE RIVER

The fishing in the Campaspe River has been very good in recent weeks, and should remain this way in the short term. The productivity will start to decline towards the end of the month as the water begins to cool. Anglers should make the most of the good conditions while they last. At this time of the year there is a good chance of increased rainfall, which can have a negative effect on water clarity, and of course the fishing .

Good numbers of golden perch are being caught at present, with spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits the most productive lures. The most productive spinnerbaits have been dark coloured skirts with black blades. While dark coloured lipless crank baits have also been working well.

Small numbers of Murray cod are being caught, with the majority being caught in the shallow sections of the river. Walking the banks fishing or fishing these shallow sections with kayaks can be a good option.

CAIRN CURRAN

The productivity in both the redfin and golden perch fishing has slowed at this destination over recent weeks. The majority of the redfin have been caught by anglers bait fishing around the standing timber with worms and small yabbies. Jigging ice jigs and soft plastics has also been producing a few redfin.

Casting around the standing timber and rocky shorelines has been a good technique for the golden perch. The numbers of golden perch being caught will continue to be low, but this is a great time of the year to land some quality fish if you put in the time and effort. By the end of the month of May we will see concentrations of fish move into deeper water.

I am predicting that we should see an improvement in the down rigging at this location during the cooler months. I landed some quality redfin doing exactly that last year, and expect its productivity to improve during the year.

At this stage I have not received any reports of trout being caught. The trout fishing has been disappointing in recent seasons at this location, but hopefully it will improve this season. Once we receive some rain and we finally get some inflows into the Cairn Curran we should trout become more active as they forage their way through the freshly flooded ground.

LODDON RIVER

Unfortunately this river system is feeling the effects of a large amount of fishing pressure, with a small number of golden perch being caught in the deep sections of the river above Bridgewater and Serpentine weirs. Regretfully the numbers of Murray cod being caught in these sections has been low. This should improve over the next month or so as we typically see small numbers of large Murray cod being caught in the deep water during that time of year.

As the water temperature cools we will see the bait move from the shallows into the deeper sections, and it’s here that you’ll also find golden perch and Murray cod in greater concentrations. The most productive area to fish for Murray cod has been in the shallow sections of the river, with the Newbridge area one of the more popular. There are well-worn tracks along the river’s edge, a tell-tale sign of the amount of foot traffic and angling pressure. The fishing will slow significantly in the shallow sections as the water temperature drop very quickly in these areas.
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