River Fishing Fantastic
  |  First Published: December 2006

The Goulburn River’s low water level has really turned on some fantastic fishing. Reports have been thick from bait, lure and fly anglers who are enjoying the beautiful weather and perfect water conditions. There are still great reports from the lake including some great yellowbelly captures. Although the lake is getting harder to navigate with more trees poking up from the depths, it’s definitely worth it.


The levels were at 14.7% in December, which meant boat anglers had to be careful as submerged trees, which were a real trap for boats of all sizes. On the bright side, if you like putting lures into the timber where they need to be, when the inevitable happens and they don’t come back, you just get them next week!

Temperatures are rising with the Delatite and Bonnie Doon end as high as 23.6, Collier Bay is 19.6 while the Big River end is 20.6. This means that the yellowbelly are right about prime. A recent tournament managed to drum up plenty of yellowbelly, including a couple of thumpers from all over the lake. Lipless crankbaits such as Jackall TN60s did the job for most anglers. Chris Mackay and I had a shocker and couldn’t find any fish to weigh in. We did however nail some nice trout in Collier Bay on a red, yellow and black small Oar-Gee Plow.

Regular Big River anglers have been doing well recently for yellowbelly, but the reducing water levels have brought the old bridge out of the water cutting off access past it. It will be a while before we can fit boats underneath the bridge to venture higher again.

The Delatite Arm has been unseasonably quiet with no real reports from there for quite a while. We recently saw a couple of 4kg+ yellowbelly circling and splashing on the surface.

The reports coming out of the Goulburn Arm have been sensational with Totally Trout Fishing Centre weighing in three beauties at 3lb, 5lb and 6lb. There have also been a few reports from anglers who snagged some reddies on red and gold Celtas. Vicky also reported a 9lb Yellowbelly from Frasers that took one of their new Aus Spin spinnerbaits.

Down at the boat ramp at Death Ridge, Fisheries recently released thousands of 500g trout. These little guys are more than willing to take lures and bait as Craig Frean and his young family found out when they released seven in 45 minutes. Good fun for everyone.


No one could complain about fishing the Goulburn River recently. Reports from Vicky range from a group catching 20 trout on pink and green PowerBait, through to some more great reports of 2kg brownies taking flies and 3kg rainbows nailing Tassie Devils. The best colours seem to be numbers 16, 52, 44 and 46.

Most anglers agree that the areas on the river, around the Goulburn River Trout Farm are highly productive for small rainbows. It seems there may have been an escape, these fish are great for numbers but can actually become a little annoying as they are not really the size any of us want. I wish the bigger fished ‘escaped’ as they are still a very good quality fish. If you’re keen on chasing these small rainbows, take a punnet of gents down to Gilmores Bridge or McMartins Lane and knock yourself out.

For the fly nuts, things really are firing according to reports from the trusty brown nymph working through the middle of the day. A great strike indicator for these is a Stimulator. Keep the size down and it may very well be taken for one of the millions of juvenile grasshoppers on the banks. From personal experience, I’m fishing the Breakaway area for several good-sized trout, both brown and rainbows. One early fish was caught on an Orange Termite Pattern with the bottom side of the hackle snipped off to imitate the spent Orange Spinners.

As usual I finished the night with my Brown Suspender Nymph. Don’t let the word nymph fall you; this is definitely a dry fly. Anyway two nice rainbows to 1kg were landed and released over two consecutive trips, along with several browns to 900g.


I’m not sure why it is, but the Acheron never generates a lot of reports. I know it’s a very productive river when fished in the right places. In the interest of getting some reports in the future, I’ll give up one of my favourites. Southam Drive is a small road in Taggerty and if you turn down there and park at the first elbow you will see a piece of P.V.C. pipe over the barbed wire. This is the place you want to jump. Head straight down the fence line to the river. Initially it is some deeper pools, but as you walk upstream you come across some enticing runs that are full of solid fish. Go under a private bridge to fish a backwater at the base of a long turbulent run. This backwater is a boomer during hopper season or first thing in the morning for fish mopping up on spent insects from the previous night. Finally just around the island you will see some long glides with deeper water under the teatree on the opposite bank. Keep your eyes there for the biggies! Hopefully someone gives this spot a go and I would love a report from them.

The Rubicon River is the opposite, everyone fishes it and several anglers do very well there. Reports from fly casters using early hopper patterns have been of a one and half kilogram brownie. We all know that hopper season is just around the corner so now is the time to start tying up your patterns if you haven’t already. Advice from an ex tackle shop owner, is that the Rubber Legged Hopper is the best commercially tied and available hopper pattern. It accounted for heaps of big fish for me last year and no doubt will again this year.

Another great report was from a lure caster who managed five trout to 1kg on a selection of lures ranging from Rapalas through to small spinners. He worked the area upstream of Tumbling Waters Park in Thornton. For those who don’t know the area, there is a large pool and backwater on a sharp elbow just upstream, a great place to really work over or finish the night on.


Water levels as always are fluctuating, but in general it’s low in the morning and high at night. The low water levels are great for those bait anglers using gents and dough, these guys are regular catchers of brownies between 1-3kg. Tassie Devils and Wonder Wobblers are still the lure of choice, as you can cast them a country mile. On a recent walk around the Pondage with my family I saw many anglers working Riversdale Drive and Bourke Street.

Flyfishers need to be out early to take advantage of the low water levels. My favourite flies are Bushys Horrors, Woolly Buggers and smelt patterns. Work the edges aiming for the cruising fish.

We still have some great water around for all the holidaymakers. Boaties will have to be very careful out there with the trees making their way through the water column. If you choose to fish on the rivers watch out for snakes. During the day a lot of these will be at the water’s edge.

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