Starting to sink in
  |  First Published: February 2017

All reports and forecasts pointed to one of the best summers in recent times for our region, however that all came crashing down. The region had a freak rain event – 20 minutes of mayhem with 40-100mm of rain falling in some areas. This saw streets flood and rivers rise. Unfortunately the rising rivers and creeks resulted in a damaging black water event. Some locals say they haven’t seen an event this bad in 40 years.

The waters from the Pranjip, Sevens and Castle creeks caused all the damage. From recent government records, as much as 15% of the fish population could be dead in the affected area of the Goulburn River. There were hundreds of dead Murray cod and yellowbelly in the Shepparton stretch. Unfortunately, there were dozens of Murray cod well over the magic metre mark floating lifeless down the river.

So many locals rushed down to the river to see how bad it was. It was such a sad sight to see so many epic fish dead on the surface. Catch and release and stocking programs have done so much to help increase fish numbers and protect these mighty fish. It was very hard to see so many dead.

The event only lasted a short time. Water authorities released water from the Goulburn Weir to raise the water levels and re-oxygenate the water. By all reports this has been successful. The long-term effects are still unknown.

Shrimp, yabbies and crayfish were reported leaving the water due to the event, which will affect the food sources for local fish. There were next to no reports of dead carp, which is frustrating. With so many natives dead, these pests won’t have as much feeding competition. With many cod over a metre dead, there will be fewer predators eating the noxious pest.

The Goulburn had fished very well leading into the black water event. Bait fishers landed 10-20 fish per session and lure fishers landed larger fish at night. Surface lures have been working well in the Goulburn. The 4D Buzz Bait was one of the standout lures in early January.

It will be very interesting to see how the river bounces back. A lot of locals will avoid the Goulburn for the next month to reduce stress on the fish. The rain event was appalling for the Goulburn River but the Broken River always fishes well after rain. The Broken has fished consistently with plenty of small fish caught in recent times.

The Local Team at Trelly’s Tackle World have been catching a lot of fish and not just on expensive gear. If you look at their Facebook or go in store, you’ll find that they have also been using very affordable outfits to catch plenty of fish off the top or sub-surface.

Don’t ever let the price tag turn you off fishing. There is equipment for all budgets. Some top end lures cost $30-50 per lure but you can buy from an old mate or codger for a fraction of the price and it will fish just as well as the expensive lures. With ever-evolving fishing technology, manufactures have affordable outfits that will catch decent fish, as long as line, knots and drags are all set right.

The next month or two should still have a very good surface bite in the Broken. Out towards Dookie always fishes well and there is less fishing traffic towards Shepparton or even upstream towards Benalla.

If you’re looking to bait fish in the Broken, make sure your bait is fresh and you don’t let it sit in one place for too long. In January, a lot of yellowbelly were hooked when anglers were reeling their baits in to see what was left. This is why I always keep the bait moving. The odd lift of the rod or crank of the reel can get stalking fish to ambush your baits.

Kialla Lakes

The main lake has fished well in the past month with a lot of small yellowbelly caught around the willow trees. With plenty of summer storms hitting the region, locals have had success prior to or after the storm hits. This has been consistent with the past 10 years at the lakes.

Small lipless crankbaits have worked well in summer months in gold, green and orange colours. Spinnerbaits are always a great option on the lake. Purple and black or red and black are very successful. Bait fishers have caught more fish towards the Lake One and Two crossover area. Worms are the best form of bait.

Shepparton Lake

The lake has been very quiet recently with hardly any fishing taking place. You can normally spot a boat or kayak on the water or a bait fisher fishing the hillside banks. Recently there has been no real fishing action on the lake and that may be due to low fish numbers or it’s just too hot to fish in the open.

All the redfin have been reportedly shocked and taken from the Shepparton Lake. This may see yellowbelly size increase with more food available. To target the yellowbelly, it’s best to fish the weed edges with smaller lures or floating bait on the edges.

Local Channels

There were reports of nice-sized cod being caught and released in the Main Eastern Channel in early January. Anglers now target cod with live or frozen bardi grubs. Fishing towards the Kialla Golf Club or out as far as the Murch Violet Town turn offs has produced good numbers of fish, including cod over the legal size.

There isn’t a lot of structure in the Main Eastern, so targeting fish around the ridges, drop bars and syphons is best. You can catch all types of species like Murray cod, yellowbelly, trout, redfin and carp.

Waranga Basin

Steve Threlfell from Trelly’s Tackle World and good mate Owen Gregory have done some damage at Waranga Basin recently. They have caught plenty of big redfin on RMG Crazy Deep Poltergeist lures. They have also had success on white and red 4-5” soft plastics and ice jigs.

Finding the fish recently has not been easy. There have been good numbers holding around the 20ft mark around the Harrimans Point Boat Ramp end.

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