May is always a great month to fish the mighty Glenelg River, with settled weather patterns and increased inflows as we begin to transition from autumn to winter.
Late March and into the start of April saw very high water levels in the river and was the trigger for an artificial opening of the mouth. Opening the mouth seems to fire the fish up for a couple of days but is generally followed by a quiet period for a week or so until normal bite patterns return. Although the river has always stayed in exceptionally good health, the increased frequency of environmental flows from Rocklands Reservoir has really helped to keep it in pristine condition. The endemic population of estuary perch have thrived in these conditions and once again spread to the highest parts of the river with reports of perch as high as Harrow. Modelling river inflows to replicate the flow of early historical records has been a great move by the Catchment Management Authority, and will really pay off in both maintaining the health of the river and populations of native fish.
As we move into May, water clarity will remain excellent with perfect conditions for both lure and baitfishing alike. Bream, perch and mulloway have all been caught in good numbers using a variety of techniques and all species are well spread through the river.
The estuary itself has produced some great bream and mulloway. Although the latter have been a little hit and miss at times, the fish are there to be had for those who put in the effort. As we approach winter and the flows increase, we will see the beginning of spawning behaviours in estuary perch, which means there will be a steady migration of fish to the lower end of the river.
Those who target perch should have no trouble finding fish in the mid-section of the river around Sapling Creek and the Caves. Lightly weighted soft plastics, surface lures and shallow mid-diving hardbodies cast at heavy snags along the edges will account for plenty of perch. Live minnow suspended under a float are also irresistible to perch and baitfishers who employ this tactic on the same structure will also find plenty.
Depending on the amount of rain we receive we should see the beginning of the water colouring up down in the estuary. Now is a great time to start targeting those bigger mulloway. In dirtier water, vibe and blade style lures as well as jointed hardbodies are standouts. Live mullet slow trolled or fished static under a float are also highly successful. May also sees bream start to recruit and school up, often out a little wider of the banks. Use your sounder to mark fish in water depths from 2-4m before dropping bait or lures down to them.
Baits like podworm, crab and prawn are all excellent, and heavier weighted plastics fished slowly along the bottom will see plenty of fish caught.Reads: 720