Tame the mighty Australian salmon
  |  First Published: July 2016

July is often one of the toughest fishing months of the year on the Mornington Peninsula. Often it is not even the state of the fishery as much as the short days, cool weather and wet conditions that put off anglers. Surf fishing is at its peak for the year, but chasing winter whiting and squid also has devotees. In recent years, Devilbend Reservoir has provided a local freshwater option and is a good choice at this time of year. In my opinion, the fishing can be pretty rewarding, which keeps the fires burning. Finding the enthusiasm to get out there becomes challenging!


Devilbend is an old Melbourne water storage dam that was decommissioned a couple of decades ago. It has since been stocked with big numbers of brown and rainbow trout and more recently natives such as estuary perch. Located in Tuerong, about 10-minutes from Mornington, the reservoir has produced some wonderful trout to 10lb.

Many local anglers spent time over autumn catching small estuary perch that were released in the waterway, but as the weather has cooled down we have seen more anglers targeting trout. The lure of choice seems to be the Rapala Count Downs, as some of the water is very deep. You can let the lure hit the bottom and then work it from the depths – this method has worked wonders for some anglers.

The hardest part about fishing Devilbend Reservoir is finding an area where the weed is not a problem. You can do it, you just need to do a bit of exploring.


Over the last month we had an extended period of wind and I was really interested to see the state of the whiting fishery after this. Had they moved on? Would they still be in good numbers? Well, the short answer after we had a respite in the wind was a resounding yes!

Good fish have still been found while fishing the sisters off Sorrento, but a number of haunts that were firing a few weeks ago have still been producing. Tootgarook and Rye Shallow have been good, while the word is that there are plenty to be found if you fancy a quick drive over to the Bellarine Peninsula to fish St Leonards and Queenscliff.

Australian Salmon

The beaches have seen some good action over the last couple of weeks. We have finally had some days where the swell has been down and there has either been a northerly or no wind at all.

Salmon are varied in size at the moment, with fish between 800g and 1kg common. Green metals as well as gold and chrome colours seem to have worked most effectively for the lure casters, while the humble old bluebait is still getting a run from the bait fishers and producing fish.

Rosebud Pier has been a standout on the bay side of the peninsula with some fish as big as 2kg taken on lure early in the morning. The school seems to have been around for a couple of weeks now, which is good news for the locals.

Looking Ahead

While August is not quite the official start of spring, often toward the end of the month it does see a stirring of the collective fishing population as minds start to wander toward the upcoming snapper season. We often see the keenest of anglers out on Port Phillip doing some bait collection or sounding runs off their favourite marks.

August can be a great time to target an early season fish in Western Port – many of which are often bigger than those that come with the main spawning run. If snapper don’t tickle your fancy, August can be a terrific month for silver trevally or the first of the spawning squid. Whatever the case, hopefully the weather gods are on our side and we can get out among the action!

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