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Quiet season starts with a good stocking
  |  First Published: July 2017



The fishing has been very quiet over the past month and that’s no surprise. Winter months are usually the quietest time for our region.

One positive is the successful release of 560 fish into four local waterways. The fish have been moved from an irrigation channel in Shepparton to nearby waterways to improve family fishing. The fish salvage operation was a partnership between Fisheries Victoria, Goulburn-Murray Water and local angling clubs.

Using electro-fishing methods, the fish were removed from the channel before aquatic weed treatment commenced.

There are a lot of different organizations that had to tick off on this program to rehome these fish. It took one simple email to local Fisheries Officer Andy Beaton for him to kickstart the entire process. The fast action from Andy shows that our fisheries are doing a great job and our fees are being invested wisely.

These fish were relocated to minimize the risk to them once the channels were drained and sprayed for weeds. The sprays are classed as safe to native fish, but all parties involved agreed there was no need to take the risk. The relocation of fish also gave fisheries the opportunity to educate hundreds of local school students. It was great to see so many kids interested in fish and hopefully this helps grow participation numbers.

The fish were relocated into waterways in Numurkah, Nathalia, the Goulburn River and the Shepparton Lake. There were 432 cod, 121 blackfish and seven golden perch released with 24 cod exceeding 75cm.

Back to the local fishing, as I previously said it has been reasonably quiet, but there has been the odd report float in. Bait fishing in the Arcadia area using bardi grubs, scrubworms, and cheese is working best. There have been trout cod and small Murray cod caught in this area recently.

Murchison is fishing better than the Shepparton area, with good numbers of yellowbelly and cod caught on small hardbodies like size 2 StumpJumpers, 85mm Codgers and Old Mates.

Lure and bait fishing towards Undera have been quiet and bait fishing will only get harder now that the crayfish are more active. While the Goulburn River is not well known for its cray fishing, the last two seasons have been very consistent. Many locals leave the area in search for crays but it’s worth putting in the time locally. There are plenty of nice, deep bends near the Broken River junction and this is an area that has produced some big males in the past.

The Broken River has been slow with reports of anglers putting in massive hours for a couple of bites and the odd fish. Casting surface lures or big spinnerbaits has worked best for lure fishers. Bait fishers have reported bardi grubs as the best form of bait. Just like in the Goulburn, crayfish have been feeding on bait and legal-sized crays have been caught on bait while fishing off the bank.

Waranga Basin

The basin still fishes well over winter and if you get onto a school of fish, you’ll be in for an action-packed day. One report came in of a local catching over 100 redfin with more than 30 being 30-40cm.

Over winter there will be plenty of crayfish being caught in the Waranga Basin with no real hotspot. This makes dropping nets nice and easy. With limited snags you can usually have trouble-free cray fishing sessions.

If you’re not looking for redfin, you can apply big cod tactics in the Waranga Basin; there have been reports of many cod caught over 100cm. Target any form of structure like drop-offs and points while trolling these big lures.

The two main channels, Punt Road/Tatura and Rushworth/Murchison Road areas are still producing plenty of good yellowbelly and small redfin on bait. Scrubworms and small yabbies have been working the best.

Shepparton Lake

The lake has had plenty of fish released over the past three months, which is great for the fishing sustainability. The recent inclusion of silver perch will make bait fishing more viable, as they will be all over a big bunch of worms. If you can cast your worms around some open water pockets or float them above the weed beds, you should have some luck.

Legal-sized cod released into the lake are a real game changer. We also talk about how fishing is hard with the weed, but walking the lake at night casting surface lures may work well. Banks are easy to access with lights from the town, making your lure easy to watch. Fishing platforms add some structure around the edges to target.

Kialla Lakes

Catch rates of native fish in the lakes have quietened recently due to the cold conditions. Bait fishers have reported carp and the odd catfish around the weed banks in lakes Two and Three. There has been the odd yellowbelly caught in Lake One. There have been no consistent reports.

The winter months are always tough at Kialla, but I would probably lean towards bait fishing the two smaller lakes on the edges of the weed banks.

Local Channels

With the Main Eastern Channel being lowered the fishing becomes more difficult. Those who have been fishing the channels have reported success using small lures around bridges and concrete walls. Plenty of smaller cod have been caught out towards Karramomus Road.

Fishing downstream off Lemnos will be almost pointless, as these areas are the ones that have been electro fished with 560 fish relocated.

There have been decent redfin caught closer to Nagambie on small spinners and yabbies. Anglers using lures should target any type of structure. Bridge pylons have been the most successful over the past month.

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