The Gippy Lakes are alive and well after heavy snow dumps over winter. The runoff from the mountains will be widespread and will surely ignite the bream spawning run.
The clear cold water will also help to clean up the rivers that have been running fairly coloured after winter rains. It can be a difficult time to target fish because the flathead virtually shut down or refuse to bite and the bream have breeding on their brain. Mullet can save the day and it’s time to think about bass again. So let’s try to unpack a plan to swindle a bag of fish.
This almighty stream is the real powerhouse of all the Gippsland rivers and there will be plenty of snow melt coming down the Wonnangatta and Wongungarra streams that in their own right are impressive systems.
The estuarine waters of the Mitchell start below the rock barrier just upstream of Bairnsdale and it’s here that estuary perch can be found with the bridges in town an magnet for these fish. Don’t forget about all the bass that have been released over the last few years up stream of the barrier. Those bass will continue to thrive as we experience yet another fairly wet year. There are also huge bass between 45 and 50cm that have always been in the river so you need to gear up for them as well. Perch around 35cm have been caught as far down as The Cut recently and a few bream as well. The middle section of the Silt Jetties will get the most attention from anglers either from the bank or in boats.
Live shrimp baits are the go at the moment and a few bream 35cm are seemingly always there. For lure anglers, try the two and a half inch Z-man wrigglers or blades and hard plastic vibes worked slowly with extra long pauses.
For those who really enjoy the Nicho, there are some thumper bream to be found. They are wary and elusive, but I often score my biggest bream in this river and you only need a handful of trucks from 40-43cm to make it a day to remember.
Recently a good number of bream between 44-47cm have been landed with plenty of others shredding lines and finding freedom. This year a lot of us have been using hardbody lures weighted with a bit of lead and worked hard up on the snags and drifted down deep before retrieving.
I’ve just been sent email pictures of a 47cm bream caught by Tom McIntosh up past the railway bridge on a Hurricane Fatty Junior lure.
Dave Morris invited me out for a day in the kayaks using soft plastics and we fished the same area. We hauled out some very big bream. I hooked 19 bream and landed only 11 of them with the four best fish between 40 and 43cm. I was broken off a few times and dropped a couple of rippers at the net. Dave horsed in seven bream to 40cm and was towed into the snags by a huge bream he glimpsed at that was pushing the 47cm mark.
Peter Nord, Cam Cleal and Justin Dingwall are sending me reports and pictures of thumping bream all deceived on sinking hardbodies, crab or soft plastic lures.
The bream also seem happy to school up in depths of 4-5m and for now you will be better off dropping blades down on these bream out in the middle of the river in its lower reaches and try tea bagging them for a better hook up rate. Some of the biggest schools of bream have been moving into the Nicho for weeks now and most of the fish are a modest 28-32cm. Mid water blading has been yielding nice tallies but so often we sound up heaps of fish with lock jaw, but these bream have to bite at some time. Look for snag action and rock wall opportunities later in the month as a few early post spawners go feeding higher in the water column.
With so much land-based access to the Tambo River, the weekends have and will continue to be very busy with bait and lure anglers alike. Big schools of bream are still up around the Blue Hole well above the highway bridge and another hot spot is down below the boat ramp all the way to the river entrance.
Boat anglers should cruise the river with their sounder on and get a feel for where the bream are schooling up and then target them with blades or bait. Surprisingly, the area from Hollands Landing to Seacombe is still producing a few bream and as usual metal blades are accounting for most fish. Usually at this time of year the bream start to shut down in this area.
Mark Ramsay and Mick Gned from Traralgon know this place better than anyone and fish it almost weekly. I’m getting rather fed up with the barrage of pictures and reports they send me with talk of big bags and dozens of bream to 40cm. You blokes are now scrubbed off the Christmas card list forever and you can kindly lose my email address and phone numbers please.Reads: 679