Rampaging river cod on the bite
  |  First Published: July 2016

Consistent fishing is something we don’t normally see in our area in the colder months, but in recent months it seems every week or two there are big fish reported.

Every month this year a 1m+ fish has been caught in the Shepparton area, something that we will see more of over winter.

There are more locals using big lures and concentrating their time to target big fish, and to everyone’s delight, the fish are rewarding these efforts.

River fishing

Both the Broken and Goulburn rivers have produced big fish up to 1m and I have also heard reports of fish straightening high quality trebles and getting an early freedom.

It’s not just lure anglers landing big fish, there have been reports of fish up to 90cm taken on worms from down Murchison way.

There have been numerous reports of yellowbelly caught between Nagambie and Murchison.

This month, with more rain and colder temperatures, bank launching boats can be a lot harder, but there is still a handful of good quality concrete or gravel ramps in the area.

Travelling 5-minutes either direction of Shepparton’s main ramp still produces good fish each month, so don’t be disappointed if you have to launch there.

Over the cooler times, I still focus on using the big lures to turn the heads of the bigger fish. If you’re looking for surface action, big fish should still be looking up.

Yet again, there have been reports of crayfish caught off the bank by bait anglers, and it can be very frustrating while baitfishing, but if you retrieve slowly you can land keeper-sized crays just by them holding onto your hook.

Those using drop pots have found that the crayfish are in good numbers. Cray fishing around the Murchison area has yielded pleasing results with fresh liver soaked in tuna oil being the best bait.

It will be an interesting winter with high rainfall predictions ahead of us, so if we do see high levels of rain it will really make fishing tough. Make sure you make the most of the good conditions while they last.

Kialla Lakes

The lakes are looking great, but unfortunately the fishing has dropped off. This has been the case most winters with only the odd yellowbelly and redfin caught on worms.

Areas near the car cross over of lake 1 and 2 seem to fish best most times of the year, so I would target there baitfishing.

For the lure anglers, I would go back to basics using small to medium sized spinnerbaits in purple and black or red and black, as these are always good colours in the lakes.

Shepparton Lake

The rainbows are starting to move in the lake with a few caught on PowerBait. They are still fairly quiet, but within the next few weeks there should be a greater chance for those targeting them with lake trout becoming more active.

The redfin should be coming on the bite too. Anglers have been reporting both trout and redfin caught up to 30cm on worms and PowerBait.

Those fishing from boats or kayaks have trolled small blades or Tassie Devils. If you can rig your lipless crankbaits with doubles instead of trebles, you can normally limit your weed. The doubles tuck up under the lure, but sometimes affect your hook-up rate.

Avoiding the weed is the biggest test at the lake, but if you can, the winter months can be plenty of fun.

Local Channels

This time last year the channels were out of bounds with the local water board issuing warnings to keep away. This year there haven’t been any warnings due to spraying of weeds, but if you see signage about weeds being poisoned, I would stay away.

Not having the feedback from last year’s winter, it’s hard to predict too far ahead but from the reports coming in and personal experiences, it’s going to be a hard winter.

My usual spots towards Pine Lodge and Kialla West haven’t produced fish and the only reports that have come in are usually of carp caught on worms or PowerBait.

Craigmuir Lake

There are plenty of redfin in the lake, but they are hit and miss at the moment. Similar techniques to the Shepparton Lake will work in Craigmuir with floating worms or PowerBait a great way to catch a redfin.

Small spinnerbaits or blades will work well in the winter, and during the middle of the day the light will reflect off the blades and make them visable.

There has been the odd cod caught at Craigmuir, but only around the 30-40cm mark, but a bite like this would still be a surprise on light redfin gear.

Waranga Basin

This is normally my go to month for the basin, as boat traffic is minimal and the wind is almost non-existent. But the past month has been poor with only a handful of reports coming in.

In past years I have seen reports of 40-50 fish per session, but recently it’s been more like 6-7 fish. It’s hard work but if you get a sunny day with no wind, it can make for a pleasant time on the water.

Troll smaller hardbodies around the points and drop-offs until you find the fish. From there, cast plastics or lipless crankbaits around at the schools.

If there is no wind you can slowly drift baits in these areas, as you should hold pretty much on that area. Dropping down baits and casting at the same time can sometimes bring the fish to you. The redfin will follow your lures towards the boat and this draws the fish closer to your baits.

The rainbows are starting to move in the lake with a few caught on PowerBait. Within the next few weeks there should be a greater chance for those targeting them.

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