Finally the skies have opened up and given the area some of that much-needed liquid gold. We were all happy to see the Goulburn run coloured for a day or two. The best thing is that more rain is forecast over the next few weeks.
Lake Eildon became steady for a brief period during the rain but is now dropping again at a surprising rate. Even with the Goulburn running very low for this time of the year, the flow having been reduced to 1500 megalitres, we are still getting mixed reports from this suffering lake.
The area between the two dam walls in Eildon has produced solid cod on scrubworms and bardy grubs. As mentioned last month, Lake Eildon is fast becoming a destination for those who target the big green fish. Once again, there were reports from under the powerlines in the main arm where deeper diving lures are producing healthy sized cod. Fish of 50-60cm are not uncommon. Lures need to be trolled between 15ft and 20ft, with yellow, purple and black models all having their moments. One warning: there is lots of timber down there, so a good tackleback can pay for itself very quickly.
Trout are still turning up in good numbers. Morning and night are the best times to troll, and the winged range of lures are still favourites. With big grey clouds appearing recently, some keen anglers are braving the rain and fishing all day during the overcast conditions.
Some anglers are worried about the small worms that are turning up in the trout. These annoying little blighters attach themselves up to 5mm into the flesh and can be located by a small welt on the skin. Scientists from fisheries have said that although these worms are an unsightly by-product of the carp, they can be cut from trout and do not affect their table qualities.
Redfin have been quite rare this year, but anglers who persist with worms and yabbies, hopping from tree to tree, are being rewarded. Although few and far between, specimens up to 2kg have been caught, with the area around the houseboats very productive. It seems the combination of shelter and a possible food source is very appealing to them. Unfortunately, this month I have no yellowbelly reports.
Although the lake is low, we should try to search for the positives. Keen anglers can still navigate their way around, taking notice of likely snags and recording them on maps or their GPS. When the lake fills – and it will fill – then you know with confidence where to fish and what is beneath you. I have lost some good fish because they were able to snag me very quickly, and now that these timber traps are high and dry, it’s easy to see why.
It know it may sound a bit repetitive, but with its low levels, the Goulburn really is the place to fish.
Fly anglers have a short window of dry fly activity, as the cooler nights have reduced us to about 15 minutes where the fish just don’t seem to care what they eat. A recent session at the Breakaway went from being a tough night (with the early risers feeding very selectively) to a seven-fish no-brainer (if you could get the right line, they took the fly). Don’t think these were those pesky little rainbows either. They were all brownies up to a kilo in size. The area doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, as Gilmores Bridge produced similar fishing for me on a previous night (three brownies to 800g).
Lure casters are working shallow holes with astounding results. Up high towards Eildon there have been large rainbows falling to a wide range of lures. The usual Tassie Devils and Celtas are doing the job, but the Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner seems to be staking its claim as a real fish taker. Three reports of fish up to 3kg can’t be sneezed at, and before any sceptics ask, no I don’t have shares in the company. I don’t even think anyone up here sells them.
Bait reports have been slow with a lot of anglers attacking the Pondage as it is stocked regularly. Small trout have been recorded down stream of Alexandra where U.T. Creek joins the Goulburn and even lower still where Home Creek joins. Perhaps the sudden rainfall and subsequent flush of water in these smaller systems has turned their heads in the search for fresh food.
The Eildon Pondage has been kept full recently. This is great for baities and lure casters, but fly anglers have really struggled with accessibility. The lower Pondage is the place to be with Nursery Corner producing good results on dough, which seems to be growing in popularity and is now commercially sold in local outlets.
Recently, some large rainbows were placed into the Pondage for the Victorian Fly Fishing Championships, one of the few times you will see boats on the pond. It seems quite a few of these rainbows like the taste of dough, with fish up to 3kg taken on the outside bank.
I was in the bottom corner of the top pond when the angler on the opposite side kept catching my attention by landing several fish from underneath the bridge. His secret was the plain old gent, though I might add that this guy had enough maggots to start a commercial outlet. He also said that several hours of berleying was vital to his eventual success.
Those lure casters who get down towards the gates are doing quite well with winged lures. It seems 13.5g Tassie Devils can be cast just shy of the wall, allowed to sink, and when cranked in erratically are more often than not slammed by hungry fish. This is not a revelation to local anglers, but is dynamite advice for visiting fishers.Reads: 800