Great fishing opening up in the higher reaches
  |  First Published: February 2017

Fish spreading out

February is one of my favourite months to fish the Glenelg River. At this time of year the fish spread out through the entire system, opening up some great fishing in the higher reaches of the system.

Through late December and early January the river finally got back to some good clarity after the welcome flush-out from one of the wettest seasons in a very long time. The fishing had still been quite good but was a little hit-and-miss at times, making it important to locate areas of the river with the clearest water and least boat traffic through the holiday period.

Bait and lure fishers alike had some great results however, with plenty of bream and estuary perch on offer for those willing to put in the time and move regularly until they located an area that was holding fish. With the mouth still wide open and the river remaining extremely tidal, it’s been important to take note of the best tides and plan your fishing around those peak bite times of both high and low tides.

February always sees a real improvement in the fishing at the Glenelg, partly due to reduced holiday boat traffic. Additionally, the key species of bream and perch spread back out through the system after their spawning congregations break up, and they refocus on chasing baitfish and feeding.

Early mornings and late afternoon into the evenings are the prime times to chase bream and perch, with both species moving up onto the shallow edges. Bream can be spotted rolling and flanking on the rock walls as they pick at coral and rocks, foraging for food. Perch are often seen busting up on baitfish tight to snags and edges at these times as well.

Throwing baits and lures right up into the shallow water produces some exciting strikes and great fishing. Baits like cut crab, shelled prawn and pilchard fillet cast unweighted are dynamite on the bream, who find them hard to resist. Perch are far more effectively targeted with lures and live baits like minnow suspended under a float. Shallow diving hardbodies, surface lures and lightly-weighted plastics are by far the standouts though, and it’s pretty hard to beat the adrenalin rush of a big perch smashing a lure within seconds of it touching down.

Mulloway have also been a bit hit-and-miss so far this year, although there is still no shortage of smaller fish to be found at times. There has been the odd bigger fish caught but not on any sort of consistent basis. Still, this can change at any time, and with the mouth still open I’d expect to see an influx of quality fish enter the river at some point. The estuary is always a consistent area to target those bigger fish when they are about, but they’ll often head right upriver too. Taylors Strait, Dry Creek and the caves being great stretches of the river to target them. Upriver, large mud flats with deep water adjacent, are prime spots to target as the mulloway move up onto the flats to hunt baitfish.

That’s it for this month; good luck on the water.

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