High, dirty water affecting fishing
  |  First Published: September 2016

It has been very weird year weather wise, with little to no summer rains and huge winter downpours. Because of this, it’s been very hard to get a consistent read on the fishing.

Most of July and August had the local rivers and creeks at flood levels, which made it impossible to fish. If we get a decent spring rain, I would expect these rivers to burst their banks yet again.

The only positive with the spring rains is that it fires up the yellowbelly for a couple of days on the rise. Once the river has come up more than 1-2ft, it becomes a lot harder to land the fish. 

If we get any more good rains, a day or two after is the best bet to chase the yellowbelly in both the Goulburn or Broken rivers.

If fishing the Goulburn this month, I would target either narrow areas or the rock walls near the Shepparton Cemetery. These areas have been known to produce good numbers of fish in the spring months, especially after rain or a river rise.

The Broken is probably the best river to target in spring, as it’s yellowbelly heaven out there if conditions are right. There are two weirs, Caseys or Gowangardie, and there’s plenty of yellowbelly on the downstream sides of both weirs.

There has been lots of people heading closer towards Benalla to chase Broken River yellowbelly. Downstream of the lake will provided some very nice deep bends, as well as some shallower, faster flowing sections.

The lures that have worked in the past are small spinnerbaits with willow blades retrieved faster than normal to generate attention in the flowing water. Any lipless crankbait around the 60-70mm size is also a great option. If you want to use hardbodies, anything that dives to around 10ft is perfect.

For the bait anglers, your time starts now, with the shrimp and yabbies slowly tapering off. I would suggest using any fresh bait you can get your hands on. If the water is flowing this month, stick to fishing the backwaters, as there will be plenty of hungry fish in these areas.

There was no real late rush of cod fishing in our area before the closed season, and this is probably due to the high river levels and dirty waters. It was a shame, as the months leading into August produced fish over a metre regularly.

The river heights also affected crayfishing, and there was only a handful of reports coming in, mostly just by-catch from anglers targeting fish.

Shepparton Lake

The lake has had plenty of water in it of late, and this has resulted in a hot bite for the trout. I am not sure if it’s all the bugs getting washed into the lake or something else, but the trout are very active after a rain event. 

These area all stocked fish and there is plenty still in there. If you know how to fly fish, I would be getting the long wand out and having a crack with a dry flies.

Those wanting to use bait, fresh is best, and make sure you use a float, as the weed is too thick to bottom bounce.

Kialla Lakes

The three lakes will soon turn into a four lakes, with a new section opening up north of the current residential area. I am not sure if this new small waterway will be stocked with fish, but we can only hope it will be, as the lake system is a great place for families to fish.

The main lake is again producing yellowbelly around the 30-35cm mark, which is nothing to challenge the record book,s but on light gear they put up a fight.

Small small lipless crankbaits are the go to lure at the lake, closely followed by any sponnerbait. The trick is to slow roll the lures back to the bank with a slight raised tip, as it is still slimy and weedy down there.

I have been hit by fish just 6-8ft from the bank as I raise my rod tip, so make sure you’re switched on the entire retrieve.

Craigmuir Lake

The spring is a great time to fish Craigmuir Lake, with both the redfin and yellowbelly usually coming on the bite for the next 3-4 months.

There is starting to be a bit more weed at the lake, which makes land-based fishing harder, but those in kayaks or canoes will have no worries fishing the lake.

Just like everywhere in spring, if we get a rain event, make sure you’re fishing before or after it, as this usually send the fish into a frenzy.

Local Channels

The channel system is very dirty due to all the rain and run-off, and this has made fishing tough lately. With the warmer temperatures, the yabbies will now starting to appear, and I would expect the fishing to heat up with or without good water clarity.

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