Post-rain cod chow-down
  |  First Published: June 2016

We finally got some essential rain in our region through late April and early May, and over this time the rain events have fired up the big fish. There have been weekly reports of fish between 80-100cm caught in the Goulburn River.

There are more fishers using bigger lures in the rivers and techniques that have worked in larger waterways in previous years are now being used in smaller rivers like the Goulburn.

Locally we’ve had a lot of great lure makers and bigger lures on the market, which will see bigger fish caught. Codgers, Old Mate, Balista, King Hit and Cod Dog lures are all designed, tested and owned by people in the Shepparton area – these lure brands are doing a lot of damage in the local waterways.

In the past months James Dalton from Balista has been in fine form with recent trips in the Goulburn resulting in fish over 1m on a Balista Dyno 90s. His partner landed an 83cm cod on the cast as well. James puts in a lot of hours on the water to ensure his lures are the right ones for our waterways. The Balista brand is growing worldwide, but it’s great to see James focus a lot of his testing and spare time fishing our local rivers. The Balista lures are perfect in the Broken and Goulburn rivers.

It hasn’t just been lures landing fish – a lot of good-sized fish have been caught around the Bunbartha and Murchison area on bait with cod caught up to 80cm on cheese, and few smaller cod on scrubbies. There have also been cod up to 77cm caught on spinnerbaits in white and green colours.

Broken River now comes into the quiet period, with the colder weather approaching. This year we have seen another good surface season in the Broken, but that has come to a halt now. There is still the odd report of a ‘boof’ here and there, mostly on Jackall Pompadours. Walking the muddy banks can be tricky at this time of year, and those who have managed the slippery conditions have mostly come home with doughnuts.

If you fish the Broken in the coming months you should upsize your lures to turn the head of a sleeping giant. There are plenty of big cod in the Broken, but it can be tricky using bigger lures around the shallow edges. There are plenty of floating hardbodies around 100-120mm. Most importantly, keep your lure in the strike area as long as possible hard up against the timber or bank drop-offs.

Baitfishing in the Broken can be frustrating, as there are plenty of crayfish in the river that seem to enjoy a feed of fresh worms. Make sure you try to keep the bait off the bottom, or you will spend a lot of time re-baiting your hooks.

Local Channels

The local channel system has been reasonably quiet, with only reports of small redfin being caught out of the main eastern channel. PowerBait or worms have been the best baits in recent times. Lure fishers have found it hard lately with next to no reports on lures. The coming months normally see a drop in water level and freezing water temperatures – not my number one location for winter, but if you work hard enough you can still manage a fish.

Kialla Lakes

The lakes are very quiet in winter, but hopefully the much improved water clarity sees a few more fish caught. If you’re in a kayak, target the big island or under the willows along the bank edges. There are a good number of redfin in the lake, and they will most likely be more active than the native yellowbelly.

pparton Lake

There are still plenty of fishers fishing the lake, which can only mean one thing – fish are being caught. The majority of anglers target the area near Aqua Moves Grass Hill. Baitfishing works well in the lake, with smaller trout loving a feed of worms or PowerBait.

In the coming months, the number of native fish reports will drop off, but there is usually an increase of trout caught.

Waranga Basin

The Basin reports have been very hit and miss recently, with some locals managing to land good numbers of fish and some coming home with their tail between their legs. Last month I spoke about drifting off the schools to hopefully land ambushing yellowbelly – I can say this technique has worked for some. But it hasn’t been yellowbelly landed, rather the larger redfin working the edges of schools. I had a report of three fish over the 40cm mark towards the boat club in 20ft of water.

The schools have been harder to find recently, and this can mean plenty of time spent searching on the sounder or trolling lures to find them the old fashion way.

Trolling small codgers and Vikings in a pink or red colour has been the best way to find the schools. From there cast Jackalls or plastics around the school or edges for your best results.

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