River cod are fired up
  |  First Published: February 2016

The summer has not produced massive amounts of fish so far, but the fish that were caught were enormous. One lucky local managed a meter long cod, and a couple casts later another cod well over 70cm. The big cod were caught in the Broken and Goulburn rivers; with such excellent water conditions in the Goulburn I expect to see more big fish caught in the coming months.

There have been mixed reports of successful techniques from surface fishing to casting spinnerbaits, and both big and small profile lures. The Broken around the Archer Street Bridge area has fished well, and if you’re willing to walk a few kilometres you will find plenty of good fishing spots.

Within 500m of the Bridge you will find a massive sandbar on a bend up to 15ft deep. There are weedy banks and fully timbered banks in this area, as well as narrow fast flowing waters. This area used to be my daily stomping ground as a pup and it still produces good fish.

Recently, there has been an absence of foot and bike traffic in these areas so there are a lot more snakes around. Make sure you take care while fishing here. If you fish this area with a mate, park one car towards the Melbourne Road Bridge or towards the Junction and drive to the Archer Street end and park your other car there. This saves a lot of time back-tracking through the bush. This way you get a solid day of walking from one end to the other, and there are hundreds of quality spots from the Archer Street Bridge to the Junction, which aren’t over-fished – always a good thing.

The Goulburn has fished well; behind Aquamoves there have been reports from families catching legal sized fish on bait (mostly on bardi grubs and cheese). The banks are reasonably easy to access behind Aquamoves, so if you don’t have a boat, don’t stress too much.

Kialla Lakes

The Lakes have been a milky colour for the past couple of years, and since the water turned this colour the fishing has been tough. The fish quality has not been great, and my recent trips I’ve seen yellowbelly with distinctly milky silver colouring. In late December, I was shocked to see the lakes had a good flush of fresh water, most likely from the Broken River or the Channel System.

The water is not as crystal clear as it’s been in the past, but it’s looking much better. Days after the flush of fresh water saw the yellowbelly go crazy, with one resident reporting eight fish all over 30cm caught slow rolling lipless crankbaits covered in scent with a blade on top.

I normally use Jackalls, but the Balista Lipless Crankbaits have recently been on-trend, and the flashing light might be another key to land fish. The fish are not regularly stocked in Kialla, so catch and release works well to sustain the future of this fishery.

Craigmuir Lake

There were again reports of good-sized cod caught in Craigmuir. On the last full moon there was a report of up to twenty surface strikes. I have never considered surface fishing at the lakes, but it’s a great way to target the cod population. Lake fishing for redfin has been slow, perhaps because of the warm conditions, but also because the redfin are not a stocked species. If chasing yellowbelly in the coming months, slow roll small spinnerbaits or hardbody lures around the weed beds for good results.

Local Channels

The channels have fished very well this summer, and cod and yellowbelly have been the stars of the show. Baitfishing has been fruitful, and a pile of worms is the key to land yellowbelly. The cod have taken spinnerbaits and yabby tails. Fishing any structure has worked well in recent months, and almost all the local channels have drop bars or bridges to target. The bridge crossings on the road to Dookie or Euroa have always fished well in the hotter months so target these areas first.

Shepparton Lake

The Shepparton Lakes have been slow, and the hot days and extra water traffic could be responsible. There is a little less weed than previous summers, so if you’re fishing the lake spend as much time as possible around the weed bed edges. If you happen to be at the lake when they are pumping fresh water in, target the area where the fresh comes in as, in the past, this has always produced good amounts of fish, particularly yellowbelly.

Waranga Basin

Fishing in the Basin has been tough due to the amounts of jet skis, ski boats and wind. It’s almost impossible to enjoy a session at the Basin if any one of these three elements occurs. The fishers who have got out early before the skiers have managed to catch small redfin. The yellowbelly and cod reports have died right off, hopefully this changes in the coming months.

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