Dam good fishing
  |  First Published: August 2007

With all this wet and wild weather filling the rivers and lakes with much needed water, it has made heading out for a fish a cold and sometimes unpleasant experience. There are still fish to be caught if you rug up and look in the right places, but the TV, couch and heater seem to have a magical draw at this time of year.

On days when the wind drops and rain stops I like to head up to the West Barwon Dam to chase a few winter trout. During these cold months the fish tend to bite well, and plenty of rainbow trout to just over 1kg have been attacking my lures lately. The stocking rate of this waterway has increased from 1000 to 4000 rainbow trout per year, and this has made a big difference to the number of fish that get caught each trip. In previous winters, a single fish per trip was the norm, but nowadays it’s two or three.

I prefer to walk and cast small hard-bodied lures along the banks, but baitfishing from the dam wall can also produce plenty of fish at times. With good rainfall the water should be flooding new ground and the trout will move into the shallow bays and inlets in search of food. This is where your lure should be cast – don’t overlook stretches of water because you think they are too shallow. Most of the fish will be right up against the edge in only centimetres of water.

The Aire and Barham river estuaries are producing plenty of bream on lures when the water is not too discoloured. Small hard-bodied lures with a tight action will catch fish when used with a stop-start retrieve. Cast them around undercut banks and submerged snags until you locate some fish, then concentrate your efforts in that area.

I caught several nice fish in the Aire River recently on a small Ecogear lure, including a fat 42cm fish that absolutely engulfed my lure before stripping countless metres of line from my reel on two occasions.

Local tackle store identity Josh Lee has also been taking plenty of bream from the Aire and Barham rivers and also surprised everyone with a lovely little estuary perch late one afternoon. Once a common capture in these waters, it takes a lot of skill and a fair amount of luck to locate the local perch population these days, something Josh seems to do better then anyone else. Don’t bother asking him where to look though – that’s his little secret!

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