Tough times but rewards still there
  |  First Published: February 2007

Central Victoria’s impoundments and local river systems are still struggling to survive the drought but it’s not all doom and gloom – if you’re prepared to work hard, the fishing rewards are still there.

Lake Eppalock

Lake Eppalock is currently only 2% and it’s quite depressing for anglers to see such a great fishery in such a poor state. Baitfishers have reported isolated captures of golden perch and confirmed that the best times continue to be just before sunrise and the first two hours after sundown. Lurefishers have only had limited success.

Access has been difficult and the best place to try the bottom of Kimbolton Pool.

The best tactic at this time of the year is to concentrate on the fallen and standing timber in the lake.

Campaspe River

So far this season the Campaspe River has been about 50cm lower than its normal level and river flows have been very low. I suggest fishing deeper holes with spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits for yellowbelly and Murray cod. Phil Keetalaar from Bendigo fishes this location more than anyone else and reports good results on gold coloured spinnerbaits and hard bodies.

The water clarity is still very good so always be careful not to spook the fish when walking the edges of the river. The Campaspe River at Elmore’s low water levels mean boat launching and retrieval can be difficult. A 4WD is now recommended and care should be taken if any rain is predicted. The fishing here has been average and catch rates are lower than the previous two seasons. Anglers casting and retrieving spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits have had the most success. Trolling the edges of the weed beds with small hard body lures such as Codgers and No 3 StumpJumpers has accounted for reasonable numbers of redfin.

Cairn Curran

Most anglers have done it tough here but there has been the odd large golden perch capture. The numbers and size of the redfin being caught continue to be spasmodic. The best baits have been yabbies and gudgeon.

Loddon River

The fishing in the Loddon fired at Bridgewater earlier in the season where anglers using lipless crankbaits and neutral coloured spinnerbaits had the best results. Productive areas continue to be the lay-me-down timber along the rivers edges and around the weed beds. The fish seem to have spread out this season with fewer fish being found on the timber. However anglers concentrating their efforts along the edges of the prolific weed beds have reported lots of success.

This season we have seen an increase in redfin catches. Reasonable numbers of golden perch between 2-3kg are also being caught but Murray cod captures have definitely decreased.

The Loddon still has exceptionally clear water (2-3m) despite suffering from reduced flows and lower water levels. I think we have probably seen the best of the fishing at the Loddon for the season and it’s only going to get tougher.

Waranga Basin

This lake continues to produce good numbers of redfin for those anglers fishing the lake. Good success is still being had by anglers using yabbies and gudgeon and by fishers trolling deep diving lures.

Anglers who want a feed of redfin should definitely try this location, but need to check weather forecasts before planning a trip to the basin.

There doesn’t appear to be much of a pattern to the fishing. It seem like the fish are often on the move and it is just a matter of find and seek. Trolling between 4-6m has been the most productive method and we have had good success trolling our lures across the bottom. Anglers have noticed that the lures sometimes needed to be 20-50cm off the bottom or redfin wouldn’t show any interest.

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