Most people will be aware of Melbourne’s mighty Yarra River, or rather the ‘upside down river’ as it is sometimes called. While upon face value it can appear discoloured and less than inviting, underneath it’s murky surface it offers Melbournians some appealing fishing options, considering its upper reaches are just over an hour from the CBD.
The cooler months of the year can provide excellent fishing around the Warburton section of the upper river for trout and luderick. Generally from about mid April through to the closing of the trout season this fishing gets better. The onset of autumn rains trigger the instincts of the trout to feed up and start to move for their spawning runs, and during this period they can become a bit more voracious towards your offerings, especially artificial lures.
As cooler water comes down from higher altitudes the trout will also occupy some of the more open runs and shallow glides instead of just the deeper holes that they prefer during the warmer months. Finding the deepest section of the river isn’t really necessary.
Solid browns to over 1kg have already been caught by a few switched-on anglers fishing larger than average hardbodied lures down between Launching Place and Millgrove. Lures around the 90mm size aren’t too big for a hungry trout, especially when these fish are looking to put on condition to push their way upriver to spawn.
In between the trout fishing there have been some big redfin caught in the Yarra. The river holds some nice sized redfin at times, although not in plague proportions. What they lack in quantity they seem to make up for in quality. Most of the redfin I have seen out of the Yarra over recent years have been 35cm+, with the largest going 47cm, which is a really nice fish. That fish was caught down around Christmas Hills.
The redfin have been mainly caught between Warrandyte and Healesville, but I have heard of the odd one up around Warburton as well. Medium sized scrubworms seem to get their attention fairly quickly along with just about any hardbodied or soft plastic lure, especially if they imitate small aquatic insects or galaxia.
While not normally seen as a cool water target, a few Murray cod have also been been caught in the Yarra over the past few weeks. The warmer months can be productive for cod, but the changing of seasons and slight cooling of the river temperature normally sees a bump in their feeding activity. The cod can and have been caught all the way from Kew up to almost Yarra Glen. The more productive stretch of water seems to lie around Eltham and Warrandyte.
Fishing the structure in the river is paramount to success with Murray cod, unless the fish are up off their stations and actively moving about. While this does happen it isn’t the norm for Murray cod so accurate casting will pay off, whether it’s for lure or bait fishing.
Fishing with cocktail baits of scrubworms and yabbies on a large wide gap style hook can be a good tempter for a hungry cod. Pinpoint casting of lures around their snaggy haunts will normally get a response faster. The ‘in your face’ action of most native style lures has the ability to annoy an otherwise full and lethargic cod into striking savagely.
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