Plenty of options despite the cold
  |  First Published: July 2007

It’s getting cold and the tuna are winding down, but don’t despair. The Warrnambool region still offers a variety of winter angling options.

On the estuary scene the Curdies has continued to be the most reliable producer of bream. Quality fish are stretched along the river and are being taken on hard-bodied lures fished along the undercut edges. Frozen fish baits like grey back and glassies have also produced fish.

The Lower Moyne has produced mainly small salmon and whiting along with the odd trevally. Anglers using some of the bigger tides to access areas further upstream have also been taking some good bream. Hard-bodied lures such as SX40s and Strike Pro Minnows have worked well for these flats-dwelling bream.

The same big tides have produced some good fishing in the Lower Merri where bream, mullet and small salmon have been taken. The mouth of the Hopkins was opened in mid-May but it was a short-lived experience with the mouth quickly closing over. The combination of king tides and rain filling the river has again made bank access and boat launching difficult.

The bluefin tuna party seems be winding down. Some pretty ordinary weather and inconsistent fishing have left anglers looking forward to next year, satisfied with an awesome season this year. Tuna could still be a possibility in July though, so anyone venturing offshore for a bottom bash should keep an eye out just in case.

Of course, winter is regarded as prime salmon time along the Victorian coast and there are plenty of surf beaches in the area that can produce good bags. Already this season some quality fish to 3kg have been taken from beaches in the Peterborough area. Logans and Levis beaches at Warrnambool and East Beach at Port Fairy are other good places to break out the surf gear and try for a salmon. Often overlooked are quality yellow-eyed mullet that can also be taken along with the salmon. These mullet are often a lot better for the table than river mullet and can salvage a trip if the salmon are quiet.

Targeting salmon from small boats using lighter spin or fly gear is also popular around the more sheltered bays and inlets when a school of salmon decides to take up residence in such a location. Port Fairy Bay and the Killarney area are two areas that are often productive using this technique.

Some good trout have been taken recently as the browns start to get the spawning urge. With many streams in the region open during winter due to their ‘sea run’ classification, anglers will be able to target these fish throughout the winter. Here’s hoping we get some serious rain so that some quality floodwater trout fishing is on offer this winter.

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