Big chill slows fishing
  |  First Published: August 2016

We are currently experiencing a winter of old in the Bendigo region. Over the last month cold wet windy days have been common. It hasn’t been the ideal weather conditions to go fishing; however the amount of rainfall the region received over the last couple of months has been terrific. Before the autumn months the region was extremely dry and rain was desperately needed. We are now in a situation where most of the catchments are saturated and any significant rainfall from now on will produce good run-off into our river systems and water levels will again start to rise in our reservoirs.


Water levels are only now starting to increase at Lake Eppalock. We typically don’t see significant increases in the water levels at this location until the three reservoirs above it get to high water levels. At the present time the combined totals of the Upper Coliban, Lauriston and Malmsbury reservoirs are at 44% capacity. The water levels are currently increasing around 1% of capacity per week. So even though the region has received a good amount of rainfall a lot more is required if we are going to see good water levels in Lake Eppalock again this season. Water levels at Lake Eppalock are currently 21% of capacity. The fishing continues to be slow at this destination.

Presently, only small numbers of redfin have been caught, and locating a concentration of redfin is proving difficult. The majority of redfin that have been caught are in deep water with depths greater than 10m. Cast soft plastics with heavy jigheads and slow roll them close to the bottom to find the fish. Vertically jigging ice jigs and soft plastics has also been working. Baitfish with worms and small yabbies around the edges of standing timber to catch a few redfin.

The number of golden perch caught at this destination has been low. The majority of golden perch have been caught adjacent to standing timber. A few different techniques have been working including, trolling medium-sized hardbody lures in depths that range around 6m, as well as casting lipless crankbaits and small blades around the trees. Murray cod captures have been low.


Water clarity is currently patchy in the Campaspe River due to the recent rainfall. In some sections the water clarity is still good and suitable for lure fishing. In other sections water clarity is poor and baitfishing becomes your best option. Given the recent trend of weather I would predict the water clarity will continue to deteriorate over the next few months if we get significant rainfall. If you plan to fish the Campaspe River with lures then anglers need to be prepared to travel along sections of the river in order to find an area where water clarity is suitable to the task. In those cleaner sections of the river there are still small numbers of golden perch caught. Anglers who cast lipless crankbaits and suspending hardbody lures have caught the majority of these. Lures need to be retrieved very slowly at this time of the year in order to provoke a strike from a fish. If you retrieve too fast, strikes will be limited.

There have been small numbers of redfin caught in the Campaspe River. Anglers fishing the edges of weed beds with small hardbody lures and lipless crankbaits have caught the majority of these. If water clarity remain good then the next couple of months should produce some quality redfin in the Campaspe River. As the large redfin get close to spawning they can become territorial and will strike at lures aggressively.


Fishing reports from this destination have been few and far between. Water levels are currently low but are slowly starting to increase. If you are fishing this destination by boat then I recommend a 4WD, as boat launching can be difficult with low water levels. I will hopefully get a chance to fish this location myself in the next few weeks. I will predominately target the redfin population.

Cairn Curran can produce excellent results on redfin at this time of the year if you are prepared to put the time in and nut the fish out. The redfin will often school up and move into the deep water at this time of the year. I try to locate a concentration of redfin by downrigging hardbody lures or trolling deep diving hardbody lures. If those techniques are working I will stick with them. If the fish are finicky then I change technique. Jigging ice jigs or soft plastics can produce good results. At this stage I have not received any reports of trout fishing at this location. Unfortunately the trout fishing has been disappointing at this location over the last few seasons. The fact that water levels are starting to rise should help the productivity in the trout fishing. Baitfishing around the edges of the lake with corn, worms and maggots are all good options for the trout. Trolling winged-styled lures and small minnow hardbody lures are also good options for the trout. If you have any reports from this destination and would like to share them with our readers please email me at --e-mail address hidden--


The fishing in the Loddon River has been slow with only small numbers of fish caught. The majority of the fish that have been caught in the Loddon River have been golden perch with the occasional Murray cod. The most productive lures on golden perch have been lipless crankbaits and suspending hardbody lures. The most productive times have been the last few hours before sunset.

There has been the occasional Murray cod caught by anglers casting large hardbody lures and large lipless crankbaits. Trolling heavy spinnerbaits in the deepest sections of the Loddon River is also a good tactic at this time of the year. Water clarity is patchy along the Loddon River, and there is a good chance if the current weather trends continue then water clarity will continue to deteriorate in the next few months. If you are keen to fish the Loddon River with lures then you best get out there now, as there is a good chance that in the near future conditions will only become tougher.


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