Winter wet to keep local fishing alive
  |  First Published: July 2016

Winter here in Melbourne hasn’t really been very ferocious as of yet, and compared to a ‘normal’ year our seasons have been about a month behind so far. Some heavy rain has fallen around the city, but overall it’s been fairly dry. However, we should start to see more constant rain coming through over the next couple of months, which will rejuvenate and refresh our aquatic ecosystems, and perk up the fishing come late winter and early spring.

Although we’re in for some wet weather, the freshwater fishing around Melbourne is still worth getting amongst. July sees the local trout streams out of bounds for trout spawning, but the lower reaches of Melbourne’s famous Yarra River can still yield some quality fish.

The brackish boundary at Dights Falls in Abbotsford up to the Yarra Glen region is all good water to target Murray cod, redfin, roach, carp, eels and Macquarie perch. For any angler looking to try their luck in the Yarra this month, the humble old scrubworm is a pretty good starting point. Fishing a couple of decent sized scrubworms with a small sinker will attract virtually any fish in the river, but adding a scent to these worms is an even better strategy.

Simply leaving your scrubbies in their punnet and adding some pheromone scent like Egimax or Stimulate will help fish find them in discoloured water like the Yarra, even more so during the increased flows of winter!

On the subject of water levels, Devilbend Reservoir on the Mornington Peninsula has been seeing lower levels during late summer and autumn from lack of rain, but now the dam is starting to creep back up, which creates new territory for feeding fish. Grass, timber and rock that holds small invertebrates all becomes submerged again and presents roaming fish with a smorgasbord.

The best areas to concentrate around during rising levels are prominent points and large grassy flats, as these normally hold a lot of food, and in turn a good number of fish. The most common fish to catch in the dam at the moment have been the redfin, as they move in and out of the shallows in large schools.

Excellent options to target these fish during the depths of winter are soft plastics. Soft plastics have the advantage of being super versatile, where they can be ’trimmed’ down to present a smaller profile in the water, or rigged in multiple different ways. A very common question coming from novice soft plastic anglers is which jighead suits the plastic? In short, there is no correct answer; the answer will depend on lots of small variables like water depth, structure, soft plastic size, target fish and castability or wind factor. It always helps to have multiple different options when rigging your plastics, so keep this in mind when purchasing soft plastics and matching hooks.

If you’re looking for a good starting point in a freshwater environment like Devilbend a 1-3” minnow or ‘bug’ pattern matched to a size 2 hook with a weight of between 1/20oz and up to 1/12oz will generally be suitable.

Photo courtesy of Jinsu Park.

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