Glenelg River fishing is on the rise
  |  First Published: November 2016

November is one of the best months of the year to fish the Glenelg as we begin the transition out of spring into summer. As the weather warms up, so does the fishing. The last few months saw one of the wettest winters in many years and the result was massive run off and inflows into all the rivers across the South West, putting many of them into flood.

With several large rain events spread out, there was a fluctuation in flow and water levels as each pulse made its way down river. The general result was fast flow and dirty water, which makes fishing pretty tough for bait and lure fishers alike. These conditions are actually ideal for the spawning of both bream and estuary perch and will pay off big time in the next few years. It also serves to give the rivers a great flush out. Once things settle back down again I’d expect the fishing to be exceptional.

The much needed rains have also helped put water into all the catchments in the region, including places like Rocklands Reservoir at the head of the Glenelg River. This will give some water security to the region and allow for environmental flows into the Glenelg when it’s needed to help maintain river health in the upper regions. Rocklands should also reach the trigger point required to allow water to be sent to Toolondo, which is in dire need of water to maintain the viability of the waterway.

November will see a change in the patterns of the last few months – a shift from fishing deeper holes and drop offs back to the long awaited edge bite that lure fishers keenly await each year. Both bream and perch will move up into the shallows. Cast lightly weighted soft plastics and shallow to mid diving hardbodies. These are deadly techniques at this time of year.

With the river dropping back in flow a little later than usual this year, expect areas like Taylors Strait through to Sapling Creek to be the prime section of the river to target. Rock walls are a good place to start and often bream can be seen feeding right up on the edge, indicating a great area to cast lures or throw bait in close.

Estuary perch will also be on the chew and the same techniques for light plastics and shallow hards are ideal. Targeting heavy timber snags and overhanging vegetation tends to be more productive than rock walls for perch, as these ambush predators like to hide deep in the structure.

We haven’t seen a run of big mulloway in the system yet, but November holds promise of seeing the big ones turn up after the great flush of fresh we’ve had this year. They’re best targeted in the deeper holes of the estuary with vibes and larger hardbodies. Live mullet fished under a float are also very successful.

Keep in mind, you can drop off any bagged mulloway frames after you’ve filleted them to the kiosk in Nelson to be collected by Lauren Veale as part of her citizen science research program into the genetics of these elusive fish. This is very valuable research. I’d encourage anyone who’s lucky enough to catch a mulloway and decides to keep rather release to donate the frame to a great cause.


Brad Hodges holding a 45cm fork length EP. These fish are moving back onto the edges during November.


The author with a cracking Glenelg River bream.


Clint Northcott and an average sized Glenelg mulloway. November could see some bigger models in the estuary.

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