The wait is finally over and cod season is here. We’ve had a funny spring and didn’t get our usual sudden heat wave. In 2015, we had bushfires in the spring. This year we had plenty of flooding, both minor and major in certain areas. The long-range weather forecast looks perfect for settled rivers to fish cod opening.
Last month saw the rivers return to a steadier height, but pools of water were left behind from the flooding, which are now home to monster mosquitos. Those who braved the constant onslaught of mosquitos were rewarded with decent fish caught on both lures and bait.
Everyone has been targeting yellowbelly, but there have been reports of cod smashing smaller lures this spring. Hopefully this is a sign of a bumper cod opening. The Broken River has come back to life after the spring rains with heaps of reports on good-sized yellowbelly caught up and down the river.
Both weirs always fish well in the spring, but have a lot of fishing pressure. These two spots fished well in the spring months, but there was no shortage of fish caught either side of the weirs. The Broken River in Shepparton fished best upstream of the Archer Street Bridge, but with the banks water logged, it wasn’t easy for casting lures. Towards Benalla, there were reports of yellowbelly up to 50cm caught on scrubworms between large numbers of carp.
The Goulburn River ran very high during spring with the local boat ramp jetty underwater most of the time. It was hard to launch boats, but on some occasions boats were unnecessary. Anglers caught great yellowbelly by casting heavy spinnerbaits into the rapids downstream of the bridge. Bait fishing was difficult with the flowing water, but heavily weighted baits in backwaters produced fish.
There are more silver perch behind Aquamoves. These can be very annoying, as they have small mouths and can strip you of your bait in a heartbeat. If you’re chasing cod and seem to be getting a lot of small quick bites, but can’t manage to land a fish, consider moving – using bardi grubs, it can be very expensive day out.
The warmer weather is here, so fishing the Goulburn and Broken rivers becomes more dangerous due to the high number of snakes that call our walking tracks home. Make sure you take care if you’re walking the riverbanks this summer. Fishing from a boat, I would just target 500-1000m from the boat ramp.
Upstream or downstream from the boat ramp produces great fish and plenty of smaller ones to keep you interested. Bait or lure fishing will work well in these areas, as there are plenty of good trolling runs, deep bends and large timber.
The Shepparton Lake has been difficult to get a good read on due to the high levels of weed around the banks. Floating baits around the weed edges seems to be the only way to catch a trout in the lake at the moment. The weed is so thick that anything weighted seems pointless.
There has been better news for those in boats or kayaks – the council has used a machine to clear out some of the weed around the rowing markers. This gives us a bit more of a channel to target the fish. Trolling Jackalls has worked the best and both redfin and yellowbelly have been caught. With the warmer water temperatures here, make sure to release catches quickly – the trout in particular are stressed easily in the lake.
The lakes have been hit and miss since the floods went through in early spring. Let’s hope that the fish stayed in the lake and didn’t escape. Many years ago when the lake last flooded, it took 2-3 months for the fish to really come back on the bite, so hopefully they’re back on by now.
The other issue when fishing the lake is the huge amount of mosquitoes at all three lakes. I took my family down for an evening fish and lasted maybe ten minutes with the mozzies biting them all, even with plenty of repellent on. If you’re going to fish the lakes, wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants if it’s not too hot. I’ve also seen locals wearing the fishing buffs to almost completely cover their faces.
The lake has fished well on and off. This may be due to the colder start to November. It’s resulted in less catches. There are still some quality fish being caught at Craigmuir, with redfin up to 35cm and also yellowbelly over 40cm. Lure fishing has been the best method over the past month, and I think this will continue. The lake has much less fishing traffic during the summer months with many locals focussing on the rivers in search of cod.
One thing that has been normal – wind. There haven’t been too many days where the wind has been perfect at the basin. Unfortunately, it’s mostly a 1-2 hour block in the morning or evening where the wind is steady.
There have been few reports from the basin, even with the lack of people fishing it. Local Lowrance Guru Steve Galvin has been spending a bit of time mapping the lake and has uploaded plenty of mappings onto Insight Genesis. Steve also makes Murray River Spinnerbaits. If you want more info on either the lures or the mapping, jump onto his Facebook page or website.
Justin from Trelly’s Tackle World with a nice yellowbelly from Craigmuir Lakes on a new Balista lure.
Simon D’Elia with a Broken River yellowbelly.Reads: 215