Don’t stop fishing!
  |  First Published: August 2007

Fishing in the depths of winter might not be everyone’s cup of tea but there are still plenty of opportunities in the Warrnambool area to keep anglers interested. Winter fishing also has some other benefits. The prime fishing times of dawn and dusk are at a much more acceptable hour than in summer – there’s no need for super early starts. Nor are there the crowds of summer on the water.

During August, tactics for fishing the estuaries will depend on the condition of the water. Dirty water may see the fish head towards the mouth of the estuary, while clearer water may see them heading upstream in preparation for spawning. Adjust your techniques to suit the conditions you find. At the moment all local streams are slightly dirty but still very fishable.

One advantage of the cooler conditions is that the metabolism of the bream slows down. A big fish that may have busted you off on the coral in the warmer months may not have the energy to do that in the cooler water, the temperature of which is hovering around 9-10oC.

If you are lucky enough to get onto some big winter bream, remember how long it’s taken the fish to reach that size before you take too many of them home. Some large bream have already surfaced this winter including a beast of 1.9kg taken on bait. Bait anglers are having the most success at the moment but the odd fish is still falling to the lure anglers.

If the waterways receive a lot of rain and very dirty water makes the bream fishing difficult, there can still be some excellent trout angling. In fact, seasoned trout anglers are hoping for some serious rain so we can get some of the exceptional floodwater action that can occur locally. With many rivers in the region being regarded as ‘sea run trout streams’ fish can still be legally targeted during the closed season that applies to most rivers. The Moyne River downstream of Toolong Bridge, the Hopkins River downstream of Hopkins Falls and the Merri River below the Broomfield Weir are local streams still open to trout anglers during August.

On the inshore saltwater scene, winter species such as salmon and trevally will dominate catches during August. At this time of year land-based locations such as Port Campbell Pier, the Warrnambool Breakwater and the Moyne River can produce good catches if conditions are too rough to launch a boat.

If conditions allow, boat fishing in sheltered bays around Port Fairy and Killarney can produce good captures of salmon and trevally as well as King George whiting. Plenty of garfish can also be found in these sheltered bays during winter if you’re after a feed or want to stock up on bait for the upcoming season. So far this season the salmon have been fairly quiet in the Warrnambool-Port Fairy region with the best captures coming from the Peterborough area.

When conditions have allowed some quality gummy and school sharks have been taken offshore recently on around the 40m line. This is often a productive option on those calm, cool days that winter does occasionally throw up. During the past two months however these types of days have been few and far between.

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