Plenty of gain thanks to the rain
  |  First Published: March 2016

Although the summer began with a very hot period early on, the rains and cool weather that followed gave our catchment some much-needed water and our rivers received a good flush.

There were a lot of good-sized fish caught in the rivers in this period as the rivers rose and fell. Trolling hardbodies such as Codgers, Old Mates and AC Invaders has worked well for local lure fisherman. There have also been reports of big fish caught on Bassman 4x4 spinnerbaits. These spinnerbaits have a big presence in the water so expect to get smashed by a big fish when you use these.

Smaller Pirate spinnerbaits always produce good-sized cod and yellowbelly in the Goulburn River. These lures are locally made and specifically designed for local waters, which is a great advantage.

Bait fishers have done well in the colder conditions. Use scrub worms to catch cod and yellowbelly, but keep in mind there have been a lot of small silver perch around that love to feed on any fresh bait. Silver perch are very hard to catch unless you have small hooks, so it may be easier to pick a new spot and hope the bait doesn’t disappear quickly.

The Broken River surface action ran hot prior to the rain due to lower water levels. The Tackleworld crew have reported Cod Wallopers and Kingfisher Mantis as the most popular lures. With the river going up and down I would focus around the weirs – either Caseys Weir near Benalla or Gowangardie near Dookie. The fish will head up into the water current and both areas have some great snags and back waters where the fish will ambush from.

I had one local report of an angler who switched to bait after having no luck on lures. He found the fish struck as he retrieved his bait, so he began to slow roll a bunch of yabby tails along the bottom, which landed him a pair of fish over 60cm.

If you’re looking for up to date reports, get into any of the local tackle stories or send me an email as I can help guide you to the best location depending on contemporary conditions.

Kialla Lakes

The lake has seen its best three-month period in three years and I love it. The fish are not huge at the moment but they’re more active and bite regularly. There have been two or three fresh water flushes of the lake, which has turned the fish on. The next two months should be good for fishing the lake, and with storms and rain around the lake will produce good fish and generally be a great place to visit.

The lake held a local Fishing In The Park event in late January run by the council, and by all reports there were a lot of young fishing enthusiasts who attended to fish the lake for their first time. Hopefully more events will be held at the lakes and possibly some stocking.

Local Channels

The local channel systems have been very quiet lately, and only a handful of people have reported fish from the main eastern system. Garden worms or small yabbies have been the best baits. Smaller species have been caught on small lures around bridges and drop bars.

Shepparton Lake

Shepparton Lake has been fished very heavily lately, and I can understand why considering the cooler summer conditions we had in late January and early February. There is no shade around the lake, and fishing in 35-40°C is not an ideal day out on the water! During the cooler period we saw days closer to an average of 25-30°C – excellent fishing conditions.

I didn’t manage to fish the lake but I regularly stop off for a look regularly, and the water clarity before and even after the rains was perfect. The anglers on the water seemed to pursue a similar pattern. Starting at one end, drift the length of the lake casting and retrieving lipless crankbaits, vibes, soft plastics and small spinnerbaits. There must have been fish biting as the same boats were regularly spotted fishing the lake in this fashion. The stocked yellowbelly will be the most targeted species however; trout, redfin and Murray cod are also in the lake.

Waranga Basin

It has been a little difficult for some fishos in the basin lately, as the redfin have been very off and on. The schools aren’t that easy to find but they seem to congregate in rather large groups, so once you find them you’re in for some fun. Troll RMG Poltergeists while you drift around, or try soft plastics, jig with yabbies, or use ice jigs.

With more rain the fish should move up into the shallows where the fresh water has covered the grass.

Mooroopna Reserve Lake

This month I have left out Craigmuir Lake as it has fished very quietly. The Mooroopna Reserve Lake is situated next to the Midland Highway just down from the Football Ground. The lake has been a little gem of late, with reports of small yellowbelly and redfin caught on bait as well as some monster carp on corn.

The lake is not very deep but with plenty of grass banks it’s a great place for the family to fish. There isn’t not much structure to cast at, but small hardbodies or lipless crankbaits will still work well.

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