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More rain needed to fire the yellas
  |  First Published: October 2015



We have had one month without chasing cod and some of us are already counting down the days until 1 December.

But in the meantime we are blessed with good yellowbelly conditions and the early spring rain was gold. The rain saw the Broken have a rise and when the Broken is on the rise the yellowbelly are on the bite.

Temperatures in early September were not as high as normal but with the flow of water the fish came on the bite.

Hopefully by now the water and outside temperatures are rising and we get a few more river rises because it could be a bumper season if that’s the case. Finding flowing water is the key so any shallows or narrows with faster than normal flow is the areas to target. Fishing around any of the weirs will also work well in spring.

If you’re not fishing the Broken, the Goulburn fishes very well this time of year. The Goulburn is probably more consistent and the river rises don’t accelerate the fish catch rate as well as in the Broken but a rise always helps.

Toolamba has been fishing well of late with good-sized yellowbelly are being caught in around the 2m mark trolling Codgers or StumpJumpers. If you’re more into bait fishing, scrub worms and shrimp around reedy banks or either ends of sand bars work well.

There has always been plenty of fish caught behind the lake in Shepparton, so don’t count fishing there when targeting yellowbelly. If you’re bank fishing you can fish 3 different systems within about a 1km of each other. There are sealed walking tracks that link up the Goulburn, Broken and Shepp Lake systems so fishing in that area can work well.

Shrimp are easier to catch in the Goulburn and Broken Rivers so if fishing with bait in the Shepp Lake catching a few shrimp prior is a good idea.

One little gem for yellowbelly is Greens Lake, and if you can be there when the irrigation pump is on you will find it hard not to catch fish. If you are there when there is no water flow, it can be a tad harder but the fish are still there. In late August there were a few reports of Tatura Locals catching some 40-45cm yellowbelly on bait just on dark. There is also cod in the lake so make sure you release them as quickly as possibly during closed season..

Greens Lake can be a great spot to take the family and has some nice flat areas where the kids can play if the fishing’s quiet. Bait fishing at Greens will see you land plenty of carp while chasing yellowbelly, so expect to go through plenty of worms.

Kialla Lakes

There have been no reports of fish being caught out of Kialla Lakes, but I hopefully will have more reports in coming months and maybe some future stocking news.

Local Channels

The channel system is now nice a clean with all the early flows settling down. In the week leading into cod closure Andrew Gelsi got a nice surprise when he landed an 80cm Murray cod in a local channel. It would have been a huge surprise to land such a good sized fish right before the end of cod season.

There seems to be more and more cod, yellowbelly and even trout being caught in the channel system, which can make a day’s fishing very exciting.

The channels leading into the Waranga Basin and the Main Eastern near Pine Lodge have fished well since the water levels have come up.

Shepparton Lake

The lake has been fishing very well with good spring conditions and the odd flush of fresh water both contributing to a steady yellowbelly bite. In September there were a number of fishing events held at the lake with the Victorian Teachers Games and the local Family Fishing in the park. Both events were catch and release so I can’t see them having a huge impact on the fish in the long term.

Just like this time last year using orange Power Bait Salmon Eggs for the trout in lake is working a treat. There is now a range of trout sizes in the lake after numerous re stockings over the past years since its redevelopment.

There is also a good number of yellowbelly around the 30-40cm mark, with the odd fish measuring in over 45cm. Power Bait Salmon Eggs are still proving to be a hit in the Shepp Lake with multiple reports of bag limits being collected quite easily.

For those targeting reddies, casting a Squidgy Jelly Prawn Bug or Green Grunter Fish is working well.

The choice to bait fish with worms is there but they seem to be hitting lures at the moment.

Craigmuir Lake

The lake is now in its bite time and over the coming months you can expect to see catch rates increase. There has been steady reports coming in relating to gold and silver spinners and blades being a successful method. I would use these shinny lures during the middle of the day when the sun’s up, it will give your lures the chance to reflect the sun and send out a nice flicker in the water. Casting small spinnerbaits or a soft plastic rigged with a Bassman beetle spin is also a great option.

If bait fishing, try and get your hands on some small yabbies and live shrimp, as both are dynamite on the fish population in Craigmuir. You may find it hard to catch shrimp in the lake, so I suggest heading down to the Goulburn or the Broken prior to fishing Craigmuir

Waranga Basin

This time last year the Basin was at 89%, but as I write this report its sitting down at 43%. This has made it hard for some of us, as our favourite fishing spots can sometimes be 10-20ft up the bank, so finding new ones can be tricky.

With spring rain predicted, this should see the water levels rise again and if that’s the case, get out there after a rise.

Just like most impoundments, when the water rises up over the existing grass banks the fish move in for a feed. Fishing in these areas can be a tad tough as it’s normally only 3-5ft deep and you can quickly run aground.

I would lean towards slow rolling soft plastics in these shallow areas and if you’re a bit deeper, shift to lipless crankbaits or small hardbodies.

In recent times the number of yellowbelly catch rates has been up, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you land some good sized yellowbelly in the flats.

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