Last month for a cracker cod
  |  First Published: August 2016

August is the second most important month on the cod fishing calendar – December being the most important.

There is no big Cod Classic or pre-cod opening sales, but the excitement to catch the last big Murray cod almost matches the excitement of catching the first of a new season.

With the introduction of many more big lures on the market, I expect to see numbers of metre-plus fish reported over this month. That will rely heavily on the weather, as most of winter has been very wet and this has seen water temperatures fluctuate a lot, and on top of that, water clarity has affected our chances.

That won’t stop everyone’s enthusiasm to land a fish of a lifetime or spend the next three months talking about the one that got away. Surprisingly, the best reports have been from directly behind the Shepparton Lake, right in the heart of Shepparton.

The Balista Lures owner has been very busy in the past months landing numerous big fish in his home waters. I can’t stress enough that these lures were designed from local experience and now that experience is turning into weekly reports of solid cod. Don’t take that as a sale’s pitch, as there is so many good cod lures on the market, and I only go by what is reported.

If we get a steady river level in coming weeks, targeting big cod will be much easier, and with the fishing being good in the heart of Shepparton, the risk of getting bogged launching a boat is minimal as the local ramp is concrete.

There are bends up to 20ft only a short drive from the ramp and these are the areas I would be targeting with either bait or big lures.

There is plenty of different bank types near the ramp, with rock walls and heavily timbered areas being my favourite. I would head upstream, as downstream can be dangerous and hard to access after a river rise.

The Broken River at this time of year can be very hit and miss, but if we do get a downpour of rain, get out to the Broken a day or two after the rain from now until about December. A rise in the river normally results in a feeding frenzy of yellowbelly. You can catch a half dozen fish in quick time, but make sure you fish with a friend, as the banks can fall away after rain and become very slippery.

Kialla Lakes

Whenever it rains, the fishing picks up at Kialla. The past months have been very wet and some local Kialla residents have been braving the colder conditions just before or after a rain event. They have been rewarded with hot bites on numerous occasions with slow rolling lipless crankbaits and spinnnerbaits around the willows on the playground side banks.

There has been no certain time for success at the lake, with reports of fish being caught in the early morning, lunchtime and during the night. The lake should continue to get better as the water temperatures increase, and if you can get your hands on early season shrimp and yabbies, you should have no worries landing fish.

Shepparton Lake

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

The lake is again very hard to fish, with the weed levels as high as ever. This is very frustrating, as it’s unfishable in areas. There is still some pockets of water that can be accessed, but it will test the casting skills of most who fish there.

The only positive is the fish have had months of little to no fishing pressure once again, and hopefully this means a chance to keep growing.

It wouldn’t surprise me if in the warmer months we start to see yellowbelly around the 45cm mark being caught more regularly.

If you can access the weedless pockets, I would be floating worms or jigging lipless crankbaits in these areas, and for the more experienced anglers, rigging soft plastics weedless.

Local Channels

The channel system will fill back up again in mid to late August after its usual level drop, and if you’re lucky enough to be fishing in the days when the fresh flushes come through, you should be in luck. Any fresh flush in the channels has produced good-sized redfin and yellowbelly in past years.

The channels out towards Katandra have been fishing well in the winter months with some channels still holding enough water to chase fish.

Bait fishers have been using fresh worms or PowerBait blocks, but if baitfishing you can expect a few carp to jump on the hook.

Those using lures should take a full range of small medium divers, small blades and plenty of different coloured plastics. It may take some time, but once you nut out what the fish are taking, you will have a ball.

Greens Lake

I don’t normally report on Greens Lake this time of year, but there have been more reports than normal.

With the local rivers being very up and down, more people have headed out to Greens Lake and to my surprise, it’s to target cod, not yellowbelly and redfin.

There have always been reports of cod in Greens, but now with people actually targeting them with bigger lures and having success, I think it’s almost time to announce it as a future cod hotspot only a short drive from Shepparton.

Casting black and red spinnerbaits or big lipless crankbaits will work a treat in the lake, and both still give you the chance of landing a good-sized yellowbelly.

Those fishing with bait will find it harder, as there are plenty of carp in the lake.

Waranga Basin

The basin is now starting to fill back up. I looked back over the last three years of water levels at the Waranga Basin and this time of the year has mirrored those levels in 2013/14, with last year being a very different.

In the past years, the rise in water has always been a good thing with the redfin and yellowbelly moving more into the shallow grass banks and feeding up.

It can be hard to target these grass banks, but if you can manage to get your boat around the shallows, you should be able to have a good session.

The crays have been below average this season, with not too many reports coming from the basin. Prior to the late June and early July rains, there were reports of small brown trout being caught in the channels leading into the basin.

Mooroopna Recreation Reserve Lake

This little lake is now fully stocked with trout and fishing well, but with the extra numbers of fishing traffic on the lake it has seen catch rates of other species increase.

Redfin and the odd small yellowbelly have been caught on bait in the lake as well as huge carp.

The trout have had extra pressure lately, with a mob of pelicans trying their luck at the lake. Hopefully they leave plenty of trout for everyone else.

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