Hopkins entrance opens up
  |  First Published: July 2016

Thanks to all this wonderful rainfall that has finally fallen, estuaries such as the Hopkins River have finally reopened to the sea.

Just prior to this the river was a tad quiet for bream and estuary perch but fish were still being caught but not in huge numbers. I fished here recently with good friend Craig Matthews, who travelled down from Melton to have a weekend away with family and hopefully get in a fish or two. No need to ask me twice!

We fished mainly soft plastics such as Damiki 4” Rippers and 2” M Grubs as well as 3” Fish Arrow J Huddle and Flash J Shads and we managed to entice the bream to bite, well, Craig did. The bream were not huge in size but it was fun all the same. Later that night long after I headed home Craig had a flick from the bank and managed a very sizeable Estuary perch on a silver Flash J Shad and it turned out to be Craig’s first ever Hopkins perch.

Small ‘soapy’ mulloway have been caught up until the time that the mouth opened. No doubt these fish have swum back out to sea but the question is; have they been replaced by others? Only time will tell.

Bait anglers have had a hard time of it lately, especially when it comes to sourcing fresh local bait such as shrimp, brown shell and crab and have had to make do with frozen packet bait. All that has now changed and once the water has settled down the fishing should pick up once again.

The Curdies River has been very consistent for bream with some specimens exceeding 40cm. I as well as many others have experienced great success on the bream and fingers crossed this will continue right throughout the rest of winter.

There is a flow occurring now in the river and the lake is slowly rising, which is good news for boaters as more and more of the lake now becomes accessible for fishing. Hopefully the rain keeps falling to the point where the mouth can be opened.

In the meantime the fresh water pushing downstream is also concentrating the bream in the lower reaches of the river.

Many of us have had success of late concentrating our efforts around where the river runs into the lake. Old timers used to call this area ‘the aquarium’, though I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it had something to do with the amount of fish species on offer?

Schooling bream have been found in this area and although many are from just size up to the mid 30s, some thumpers have been found and caught in amongst them.

Soft plastics including Damiki 2” M Grubs and 3” Armor Shads have worked well. So too have Fish Arrow 3” Flash J and J Huddle minnow style lures.

As we approach winter the bream will sit deeper in the river’s water column and worm, crab and yabby patterns fished on a heavier jig head will naturally come into their own. So too will metal vibrating lures such as the Damiki Vault 35’s and 42’s.

But as the lake is really a shallow lagoon, even when full, bream can be found out here over winter feeding on local minnow and shrimp, especially when the winter sun warms the shallow water but rest assured that come evening or on overcast, cold days they tend to stay congregated at depth in the river.

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