The past months have been very hard to report on as normal weather predictions have been thrown out the window. A warmer than usual start to autumn accompanied by lack of rain has really tested our local anglers. With the massive outbreak of blue green algae in the Murray, the Goulburn seemed to get more attention than normal over the Easter period.
I wish I could say more anglers means more reports of fish, but the fresh environmental flows have made it very hard to catch fish. Bait seems to be the better choice, with worms or yabbies finding cod but the majority of them have been quite small. There has been the odd nice cod around the 70cm mark caught out Toolamba way on yabbies along with legal fish caught out Bunbartha way on cheese.
Those who fished the river prior to the environment flows had more luck than when it was dropping. Hopefully this month we see steady water levels so the water cleans up. May is still a good time to target native species in the Goulburn River, you just have to work a bit harder for good results.
The Broken River has fished better than the Goulburn and I think that’s due to it being a lot clearer and at a good level. The boys from Catch Custom spinnerbaits have caught the cod recently, and the bigger single blades work a treat. Those using hardbodies have reported that Codgers, Old Mates and Kuttafurras have worked well and the majority of catches have come on darker colours.
Surface fishing has been quiet in the Goulburn due to river heights but the Broken consistently produces good fish off the surface. Jackall Pompadours and the Balista topwater range have done most of the damage. With the water temperatures dropping it is becoming more difficult to catch live bait so if you can catch or buy yabbies I suggest using them. Casting baits in the back eddies is the favourite technique for many at this time.
This is the time of the year I fish the basin the most, as there is normally minimal wind and minimal boating traffic. If you get onto a school it’s a lot easier to hold on the fish if the wind and other boats are scarce. There have been reports of good-sized redfin caught around Harrimans Road ramp. The redfin have mostly been caught on vibes or soft plastics slow rolled from the bottom with the odd twitch.
There have been more and more reports of big yellowbelly caught in the Basin and it has been reported that most are caught as anglers drift off a school. I am no expert, but the bigger fish could be stalking the big schools of redfin and once you drift off the school the yellowbelly ambush your lures. I will be trying to put this theory into practice over the next month or two and deliberately drift off the redfin schools with bigger lures to try and catch the bigger yellowbelly.
All three lakes are looking the best they have in years and credit when it’s deserved, the council has really worked hard to re-establish the lakes as a premier fishing location. The amount of kids and families fishing the lakes has been very positive for the future of fishing. The fish have quietened off a bit, but there has been some nice-sized fish caught.
There have been a lot of smaller carp caught on worms around the weed banks in the second lake. Cast light weighted rigs loaded with worms near the weeds to land a carp. If you’re chasing yellowbelly, lipless crankbaits in dark colours work well when loaded up with scent. Slow rolling or hopping off the bottom seems to work the best. Smaller spinnerbaits like the Bassman Yellamans have worked well, but almost any type of spinnerbait will work in the lake.
The Shepparton Lake is yet again full of weed and almost un-fishable. Trolling has become very hard as your line picks up the surface weed. Your trebles seem to snag the underwater weed and you find yourself winding the lure in more than letting it swim.
Some anglers have rigged plastics on a weedless rig with rattle chambers or blades attached to the jighead. Bank fishing with bait is limited to mostly floating baits in clear water, but even that is getting harder to find.
There were some reports of the trout starting to bite again after a slow summer.
I am not too sure when the channels are set to be dropped, but if it is in May there will still be good areas to fish. The stretch between Pine Lodge Pub and the Shepp/Euroa Road Bridge has worked for me. That stretch has a few drop bars and three or four bridges that hold spots for redfin. There have also been more cod caught in the last two years in the channels, so there will be plenty of cod in the same areas – don’t be surprised if you catch a nice size cod among the redfin.
The Toolamba Fishing Club ran a cracker of a competition yet again over Easter this year. There was a good turnout of competitors, with plenty of families in attendance. The biggest fish prize was an outboard motor, taken out by Adam Maxworthy. A huge congratulation has to go to the sponsors and volunteers involved that supported the Toolamba Fishing Club.Reads: 240