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Natives too hot to trot
  |  First Published: February 2016



The Bendigo region continues its long period of hot dry weather and the region is looking very dry, so everyone would appreciate a good rainfall event.

With these dry conditions we are seeing a continuing trend of receding water levels in our local impoundments. Water clarity has continued to be good in our local river systems, and at this stage the chances of below average rainfall are high and the hot dry conditions are likely to continue.

LAKE EPPALOCK

The fishing at Eppalock has been good and should continue to be productive. Water clarity is currently good around the majority of lake, but is fairly poor in the Derrinal Pool section of Lake Eppalock. There have still been reasonable captures in this section but the majority of fish being caught in this area have been caught on bait. Bait fishing with worms and small yabbies has been the best option.

The number of golden perch being caught has slowed in recent weeks, and the receding water levels are not helping. The best time to target the golden perch has been in the last couple of hours of daylight, and casting lipless crankbaits continues to be the most productive method for the golden perch. Trolling small and medium-sized hardbody lures around the edges of submerged saplings has also been productive.

Small numbers of Murray cod measuring up to 80cm have been caught in recent weeks, but casting spinnerbaits around ‘lay-me-down’ timber has been producing small numbers of Murray cod. Casting to the edges of rocky shorelines has also been working. Anglers trolling large hardbody lures have also caught small numbers of Murray cod.

The redfin fishing has been good. The numbers of redfin being caught by anglers is low, however the quality of the fish being caught has been excellent. Locating some quality redfin is currently not easy, so anglers should be prepared to travel around many different areas in the lake in order to locate a good concentration.

The most productive depths for the redfin have been in water deeper than 8m. Trolling deep diving hardbodied lures has been the best method for locating the redfin, and my favourite lure for this is the Custom Crafted Bass Hunter. The most productive colours have been redfin patterns and natural colour schemes. The largest redfin that a client managed to land on a tour recently with Cod Hunter Fishing Tours measured over 48cm.

If a large enough concentration of redfin is located then casting the area with soft plastics has also been working well.

CAMPASPE RIVER

There have been some quality native fish being caught in the Campaspe River recently. The fishing has been up and down, but catch rates will be good for a day or two, and then often followed up by some tougher fishing. Anglers should not be disturbed by an unproductive trip to this location, as on the next trip the fishing can significantly improve.

Often when large amounts of water are being released from Lake Eppalock the fishing will slow down, but when the flows slow down again the fishing often improves. The water clarity remains good at most locations along the Campaspe River.

Casting and retrieving spinnerbaits has been the most productive technique for targeting Murray cod recently. There have also been increased numbers of Murray cod being caught by anglers fishing with surface lures during periods of low light.

Casting and retrieving lipless crankbaits and hardbodied lures has been working well on the golden perch, but the numbers of redfin being caught in the Campaspe River lately has been low.

CAIRN CURRAN

The productivity in the native fishing continues to be good at this location, and the best fishing has been in the last couple of hours of daylight. Casting and retrieving or trolling the edges of the rocky shorelines has been producing reasonable numbers of golden perch and small numbers of Murray cod. Casting and retrieving both the standing and fallen timbers has been producing reasonable numbers of native fish.

The redfin fishing has been fairly slow, but if you are lucky or skilful enough to locate a good concentration of redfin, you may be able to land some quality redfin measuring over 40cm. The majority of the large redfin have been caught in depths greater than 10m.

LODDON RIVER

Water clarity has been good at times in the Loddon River lately. Water clarity has been varying a bit depending on what section of the river you are fishing, but the productivity in the native fishing has been good. Golden perch are making up the majority of captures with the average size golden perch being landed measuring around 45cm.

The best lures on the golden perch have been lipless crankbaits and medium-sized hardbodied lures. There are currently some excellent weed beds along the Loddon River, and these weed beds are excellent habitat for the golden perch. Casting along the edges of the weed beds can be very effective when targeting the golden perch.

Often anglers ignore the weed beds and just concentrate their fishing effort on the more obvious timber, and this is often to their detriment. Some quality Murray cod measuring over 90cm have been caught in the Loddon River by those fishing along these weed beds.

Casting and retrieving a wide range of lures has been working on the Murray cod. The most productive options have been spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, medium-sized hardbodies and surface lures during periods of low light.

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