Lakes bound to heat up
  |  First Published: December 2016

Summer is well and truly here. We were lucky that our spring was cooler and wet. The weather has been hot and is predicted to be very dry and very hot in January. This isn’t a bad thing, as we will get a nice steady water level and hopefully this means clearer waters to chase big natives.

Last month, the Goulburn was fishing the best it ever has in the lead up to cod opening and Christmas. Many fishers caught 15-20 cod in a session, both on lures and bait. Towards Arcadia seemed to be the number one area for catching big numbers of fish. Arcadia can be hard to access sometimes, so you may need to boat up from Rafterys or down from Moira Park.

Fishing from the Mooroopna side anywhere around the Pike Road access area will produce great fish as well. I’ve done a lot more bait fishing in the past months, without much luck. My soon to be 3-year-old son has been coming for a fish weekly, but the fishing gods haven’t been nice to us and he still remains fishless.

One thing I have noticed by taking him down the river is the amount of rubbish left on the banks – hooks, glass and other everyday mess left behind for others to take home. It’s a disgrace. Moira Park and Rafterys seem to be the worst for it. I know most people don’t do the wrong thing, but we need to make sure we continually push the message.

The Broken River has been fishing well this summer, compared to last January when a lot of fishers weren’t on the river due to water conditions and lack of action. Both Gowangardie and Caseys Weir fished well in December around cod opening and it’s an easy place to start your fishing session.

Walking the banks up or downstream is a great way to catch Broken River natives, but the summer snakes also enjoy spending time on the riverbanks.

James Dainton from Balista Lures has had plenty of success on the Broken in recent seasons and his trips are almost always attached with great photos and reports. I can’t stress enough – support the local lure developers, as most of them cut their teeth in the same rivers as you and I.

Lures that have been made off the back of fishing Shepparton’s Rivers can only mean they work best in Shepparton.

Plenty of local lure companies do adapt their ranges for other areas but if you fish a new town I always suggest to find what lures are made locally.

The Broken River at Benalla have been slow with almost no reports coming in. This is the same as in Shepparton. For January and February, just like all other months, if we get a good drop of rain the weirs will fish best for two or three days.

Kialla Lakes

I don’t normally start my lake reports with Kialla, but finally it’s had a good month of consistent fishing. There has always been the report here and there. This past month, I consistently got emails or texts and landed a few fish myself.

The secret has been a hook full of fresh shrimp or slow rolling spinnerbaits, Jackalls or soft plastics loaded up with scent. I’ve watched results from local and interstate tournaments before Christmas and I was always a bit unsure about the scents, but after using Dizzy Scent, I’m hooked. There are others on the market, but I stick to what I like. After using the scents over Christmas, I feel it can revamp the fishing in Kialla.

The fish are around. It’s dirty water and that’s perfect for scented lures or even bait. Hopefully I’ll have a few more photos of magazine-worthy fish. At this stage, the average yellowbelly is 25-35cm, so there are no trophy fish yet.

Craigmuir Lake

The redfin are on the bite. Reports are coming in from land-based and kayak fishers. Redfin up to 40cm have been caught recently trolling the new small Balista diving lures or casting soft plastics rigged with a spinner blade around the edges. Bait fishers are having a lot of luck around the bridged area with yabby tails or shrimp working best. The yellowbelly haven’t been as regular as redfin, but the odd 40cm yellowbelly has been reported.

Shepparton Lake

The Shepparton Lake is well overdue for a restock. So many reports come in weekly of no fish caught. There are less and less fishers on the lake. Once upon a time you could take your kids down and at least catch a small trout.

Almost all the redfin have been taken from the lake – this is what I’ve been told by trusted sources. The lake’s fish population was shocked to remove both the carp and redfin. This will see less fish to catch, but will also mean the yellowbelly and trout will have less competition for food, so hopefully they have a quicker grow rate and we see some larger fish caught.

Waranga Basin

I gathered this month’s Waranga Basin report from a local resident who backs onto the lake. He always pops down to the ramp when boats come back after a day’s fishing. He reported there have been plenty of boats coming back with almost nothing to report, but then another boat will come back with reports of 40-50 fish in a session.

The redfin seem to be schooled up and it’s just a matter of finding the fish, which is easier said than done. The lake should be easier to fish in the summer months with the spring winds dropping off. There is an increase in boaters at the basin in the summer months. It’s a very popular place for ski boats, so fishing early morning is best to steer clear of them.

Local Channels

I haven’t reported too much about the channels of late. Over the past month they have really fired up. The main eastern channel has been the best location for larger numbers of fish and anywhere around the Pine Lodge region is great.

If you’re looking for bigger fish, there have been reports that out towards Katandra and south towards Nagambie are the best for bigger redfin and yellowbelly. Continue to fish the structure and edges with small lipless crankbaits or hardbodies.

It’s summer, so make sure you’re very careful around the channel banks. Plenty of snakes have been sighted along the channel banks.

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