Entering the yellow zone
  |  First Published: September 2015

The winter rains hit just like previous years making the last weeks of cod season very difficult. The lovely water clarity and steady heights of both the Broken and Goulburn rivers was a thing of the past once the rains hit.

August always sees an influx of fishers chasing late season cod but all reports leading up to now were that it had been tough going. Only a hand full of locals managed to land fish leading into the closure.

The small amount of reports were more bait fishers camping out in the tough conditions and landing fish just on dark.

There were still numerous reports of crayfish being landed off the bank while anglers were bait fishing for cod.

With cod season behind us we shift our focus onto chasing yellowbelly and redfin in our local waterways. The rain was annoying in August but spring rain sometimes can be a blessing in coming months, especially in the Broken River.

Spring time river rises send the yellowbelly into bite frenzy mode, and anywhere along the Broken River normally can deliver a good number of catches.

Last year many people fished the waters around the standard main spots around the Caseys and Gowangardie weirs.

These main areas along the Broken have some man-made walking tracks and you can guarantee it’s not tracks from people walking their dog – it’s all fishing traffic, so you can bank on the fact that these areas are the ones that get over fished.

So this spring many have spoken about exploring further upstream around the Benalla area to find more unfished waters. Walking the banks may be a tad harder but the results should pay off.

When chasing spring yellowbelly in the Broken, smaller hardbodies such as the 10ft Codgers or the small to medium Viking Lures and any colour StumpJumer are go-to lures. There is a range of smaller spinnerbaits on the market now, which are more a bass type size but they are working well on yellowbelly.

If you’re fishing the Goulburn, head out to Raftery’s Road and fish either side of the sandbars. I have found this to work well and if you can get fresh yabbies or shrimp use them for sure. If you can’t get any live bait from the river, try big scrub worms, and don’t be scared to drop your hook size, just because you have a big bait doesn’t mean you need a monster hook.

Waranga Basin

The Basin fishes well this time of year but don’t just target redfin over the winter months, historically there were more reports of yellowbelly being caught at this time than any other year. Hopefully there is a few sharp rises in the lake, as this may stir the fish right up.

In coming months the wind can play a massive part in a day’s fishing out there. It may look nice and calm at home but it could be choppy and dangerous out there. Make sure you are well prepared. I use WillyWeather on the Internet to see what the wind is doing, but it’s not 100% accurate but it just gives you a rough idea of what to expect.

Craigmuir Lake

There is some nice weed beds forming on the Mooroopna side of the lake, which is annoying for bank fishers but for those in kayaks or canoes, these weed bed edges are gold mines. There have been a few early reports of good-sized redfin and yellowbelly being caught on lipless crank baits and gold vibes. Casting along the edges has been the best method but you can also troll your lures around these weed beds.

Those looking to bait fish, floats are now an ‘in thing’ and work well in the Shepparton Lake so I would expect floating worms, shrimp or yabbies on the edge would also work well in Craigmuir.

The lake does not get regularly stocked so try to release as many fish as possible.

Shepparton Lake

Fishing in the lake has been very quiet recently, but I expected it to fish a lot better but hopefully some warmer weather and a fresh release of fish helps it pick up. The water clarity is very good and that’s great for the lure fishos using silvers and golds.

There is still a trout being caught on lure, fly and bait. These fish are not massive, but they’re great fun on light tackle. Early mornings or just on dark seem to be the best times for the trout in the lake.

Local Channels

Finally we can fish in the channels after the authorities spent the winter months poisoning weeds. Now the channels are full and we should see some good fishing in coming months. The drop bars along the Main Eastern channel produce good numbers of fish. Target any structure in coming months with bait or lures.

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