Starting the spring perch search
  |  First Published: October 2015

With wintery conditions restricting offshore options many of the local rivers have been fishing well during the past few weeks.

The Moyne River at Port Fairy, usually viewed by serious anglers as more of a passageway to the areas offshore fishing, has been producing some good fishing over the cooler months. Good numbers of silver trevally, yellow eye mullet and small salmon have been active in the lower regions particularly on the high change of tide.

Further upstream, bream and the odd mulloway have been the target as far up as the highway bridge at Rosebrook.

The Fitzroy River has also been providing some good mixed bags of fish of late with the odd mulloway and decent sized EP mixed up with the plentiful bream.

Yambuk Lake also produces well at this time of year on the bream front and might be well worth a look.

The Hopkins has been producing good numbers of estuary perch that have moved into the lower reaches as they do during the cooler months as part of their spawning regimen. The Dawia TD vibe has been a good producer on the perch for me recently with metal blades and heavily weighted soft plastics also producing the goods. Trolling deep diving lures is another technique that works well at this time of year and can also produce the odd mulloway too.

Most of the perch have been in the 30-36cm range but there are always a few big girls around like the 53cm beast Mick White caught recently. Remember these bigger fish are the females and important to the continuation of recruitment of the fishery and should be carefully released.

Trout season still hasn’t reached any great heights in the local rivers as I write this. It only takes a significant dump of rain to fire things up and that can still happen right into October.

Tuna were still being encountered off Port Fairy in early August, although the numbers of fish finally seemed to drop away from the previous months. Then, just when it looked like time to pack the tuna gear away for another year, a big run of barrels turned up off Portland, with one also taken at Apollo bay and plenty of school fish again turning up the length of the South West coast the 2015 tuna season continues to amaze.

Good numbers of salmon have been taken off some of the local beaches but they seem to be good one day, gone the next.

October often does throw up some warm flat days, which are ideal for getting out and targeting various shark species off the local beaches. Gummies and schoolies are the main target with plenty of seven-gillers, Port Jacksons, skates and more providing the somewhat annoying by-catch.

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