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Dammed with great potential
  |  First Published: September 2016



As a keen fisher and fishing guide, I’m always optimistic. Weather conditions look positive, if the current trends continue there’s a good chance of great fishing in the Bendigo region. The amount of rainfall we receive over the next couple of months is critical to how productive the upcoming season will be.

Right now, catchments are saturated. Any significant rainfall is producing good runoff. Our local impoundments are slowly rising. They’re still at low levels and a lot more rain is needed to reach high levels again.

LAKE EPPALOCK

I am happy to report, water levels are finally starting to increase in Lake Eppalock. Water levels are at 25% of capacity. We need the three reservoirs above Lake Eppalock to fill, for the lake to reach high levels. The combined capacity of the Upper Coliban, Lauriston and Malmsbury reservoirs is 55%.

Water levels in these reservoirs increased at an encouraging rate, over the last month. When these impoundments are getting to high levels, then increased flows are released. In turn, Lake Eppalock levels increase rapidly. The key ingredient is rainfall, for at least the next couple of months.

Fishing in the lake has been slow, with small numbers of redfin caught. Most were caught by anglers jigging ice jigs and soft plastics. The occasional redfin has also been caught by anglers trolling deep diving hardbody lures. A few golden perch have been taken, fishing around the edges of standing timber.

Cast lipless crankbaits, or troll deep diving hardbody lures – these techniques have been good for golden perch. With continued rainfall, we should see very productive fishing here, by the start of October.

CAMPASPE RIVER

Water clarity is nice along many sections of the Campaspe River. Although we received good rainfall, it’s been in small to medium amounts, not heavy downpours. The runoff into the river systems has been relatively clean. Typically, our heaviest rainfall is over the spring months, when the water clarity can change quickly.

Weed beds and cumbungi-lined banks are excellent areas to target redfin. Some redfin are coming up in the Campaspe River, and good lure options are soft plastics, small hardbodies, bladed spinners and lipless crankbaits.

Golden perch are also around. The two most productive lures have been hardbody and lipless crankbait lures. The secret to success is to fish these lures very slowly. The water temperatures are very cold and a slow retrieve is critical to provoke a strike.

CAIRN CURRAN

Water levels are on the rise in Cairn Curran, currently at 17% capacity. If the water levels keep up, in a couple of weeks, the water will cover reasonable amounts of vegetation. Water clarity is poor at the top end of the lake, due to inflows, but still good in the lower sections of the reservoir. With the water rise, we might see our resident trout population move into shallow water along the edges.

Baitfishing the edges with mudeyes, worms and maggots are good for trout. At this stage, only a few reports of trout are coming in from this location, caught on trolling small hardbody lures, and winged styled lures.

Redfin and golden perch are slow, hiding in deep water. Ice jigs and soft plastics are the most productive methods. We should see more golden perch in the next months, as temperatures increase and they actively start to feed again.

LODDON RIVER

Water clarity is good in most of the Loddon River. The catchments are saturated, so water clarity can change quickly with heavy rainfall. Again, redfin and golden perch are in small numbers. Fish weed beds for redfin and use suspending hardbody lures, and lipless crankbaits. Fish these lures with slow retrieval speeds.

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