Cod fishing looks hot for summer
  |  First Published: December 2015

The Shepparton region was absolutely smashed by some wild weather in early November when a huge storm cell created heavy rain and winds that caused a lot of damage to campsites and local houses. The rain came at a bad time for a lot of local farmers who were desperate to get their harvest done before the rain.

The only positive in this situation is that all rivers, dams and lakes got some fresh natural water flow which set the fish on fire. Days after the rain event, plenty of anglers headed out to the Broken River and had a field day targeting yellowbelly, who were extremely active.

This is a good sign for the upcoming cod season with plenty of big healthy cod caught as a by-catch in the Broken, it seems that no matter how hard you try to avoid them, cod inevitably strike as you target yellowbelly in the Broken and Goulburn Rivers.

Last year was not the best season for cod fishing in the Broken River but let’s hope we receive some regular natural flow that keeps the water condition top notch.

A lot of locals have targeted the weirs between Benalla and Shepparton, but the best reports are coming closer to both major towns with good fish caught mostly on spinnerbaits and worms within 10 minutes of both town centres.

The Goulburn River has been fishing steady for this time of year and hopefully it maintains its standard greatness after the weeks of flows made fishing almost impossible.

There have been some good signs of fish caught towards Toolamba and downstream of the Shepparton boat ramp. Just take care when crossing under the Bridge, as after the river rises there are plenty of banked up snags that can make it tricky to cross. Make sure you have a good look at the conditions under the bridge as the fast flowing water can get even the experienced boater in trouble. I tend to lift my motor up a tad and commit to a centre line but remember with the motor up you will have less steering control.

Once through fish the inlet to the back-waters which is about 500m from the bridge or continue downstream until you see the big sweeping bends. These bends hold a lot of good fish and there has been reports in late October and early November of yellowbelly up to 50cm caught and released in those exact locations.

In December we will see an influx of land based and boaters on our waterways chasing the first big cod of the season. If we get some rain just prior to cod opening it should make conditions almost perfect.

Raftery Road area is top notch come cod opening and there are so many areas to fish and camp with dozens of big sandbars and sweeping bends if you’re in the boat. Moira Park is also a very good area. The banks can be steeper out there but both areas will be enjoyable for all fishermen of all skills.

Trolling or casting the Old Mate and Codger lures have worked well in the Goulburn and that should not change. If you rather bait fish make sure it’s fresh!

Waranga Basin

I ran out of time to contact my usual Basin locals to get a good report so I spoke to the boys at Trelly’s Tackleworld and they passed on this report.

The Basin is still producing reddies up to 44cm and plenty around that 2-3lb mark have been caught. Both baits and lures working well, probably more reports coming from scrubworms and yabbies dangled around the boats while casting a couple of plastics around to stir them up a little. Trolling your RMG Poltergeists is effective once again, greens and trout patterns working well. Small blades are also working very well either casting or jigging.

Kialla Lakes

There were not too many reports this month from the Lakes but I snuck out there for a flick just after the storm on Melbourne Cup weekend. I managed 3 dropped fish but a young kid said he landed 2 yellowbelly casting Black and Purple Single Willow spinnerbaits around the willows.

When Kialla Lakes was our local hot spot fishing before or after a storm was always the best time to target yellowbelly. If you find yourself fishing the Lakes this summer and you have any reports please pass them on as I always like to hear how it is going out there.

Shepparton Lake

Not too many cod or yellowbelly caught recently in the lake, but on a positive note the council has removed some of the weed that has been making fishing near impossible.

There have been reports of trout caught on spinners around the big grass hill as well as on worms. The trout are still around the 20-30cm mark and will easily stress out in the warmer months so if you’re practising catch and release make sure you move quickly to get them back in the water.

Craigmuir Lake

Reports from Mooroopna’s little gem have been quiet lately, which may be due to more people fishing the rivers. The lake will start to slow down in coming months. October, November, March and April are the peak months for Craigmuir but it’s still worth a go if you are looking for a close redfin and yellowbelly fishery.

Fishing Competition Season

The fishing competition season is now upon us with almost a new event held each week for the next 4 months.

Competition season started earlier this year with the big Australian Yellowbelly Championships rolling into Eildon in mid-November. Local ‘Boats & More’ team – Simon Tate & Jacob Crow – finished 4th overall which is a great result among a very strong group of teams.

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