Bream galore in Gippy Lakes
  |  First Published: October 2007

The bream fishing here in Gippsland has been stunning, with some real thumpers turning up recently. Beautiful big fish are being caught in all the main rivers, and as they clear up after the floodwaters recede things will only get better.

The standout feature in these parts is that all the rivers have returned to normal flows (if there’s such a thing these days) and most are running crystal clear, at least in their upper reaches. In the estuary areas, dirty water is still slowly getting pushed out to sea. The Macalister, Thomson and Latrobe system is still incredibly murky, and this same water is flowing out through the Straits making that area almost unfishable.

Tambo River

The Tambo is still the standout river and big bream seem to be turning up everywhere, from the mouth right up to above the highway bridge. A lot of the bream are around 32cm, which is a nice run of fish for some family fun. Even a few pinky snapper are showing up near the mouth. Mullet are also on the menu. These are arguably the best table fare the Gippy Lakes, and a very underestimated fish.

Frozen prawn and soft shell baits are proving dynamite down near Johnsonville where the bream have been very thick. A lot of bait anglers are also releasing plenty of big bream, which is nice to see.

Dave Morris made a flying visit to the Tambo as he drove over the river on his way to work one morning. He squeezed in between a few of the bait anglers, who had caught nothing for the morning. Dave cast a soft plastic Gulp Worm out into the river and started to work it slowly near the bottom. He was surprised to feel the weight of a big fish as it spat the lure shortly after hook up. On his second cast, Dave pulled a big 42cm bream to the shore and then made a hasty release. You can imagine the looks he got from the anglers next to him, who were struggling to pick their jaws up off the ground. Needless to say, Dave then made a hurried exit back to his vehicle before his new ‘friends’ made the situation a bit ugly.

Just to show the hit and miss nature of chasing bream in this river, Gerard Hawthorne recently fished the Tambo with lures and put a big day in, but failed to turn a single fish! Hardly a newcomer to the sport, Gerard really knows how to trick bream on both hard and soft lures, but on this occasion the fish had a win.

Nicholson River

The Nicho is fishing really well upstream from the boat ramp, and a big school of bream has been sitting between the highway and railway bridges. Although a notoriously tough bream fishery for all anglers, some huge bream call this river home and it’s always worth a visit.

Mitchell River

The Mitchell is still fairly dirty, but a few good catches are coming from right down at the mouth, and again they all really nice sized bream. Mostly they have been caught on baits of shrimp and prawn.

Also in the area, a group of 12 blokes caught 72 bream from 32–38cm over 2 days. Most of those fish were released which was great to hear. A lot of anglers are using small yabbies as bait, and scrubworms are still accounting for plenty of the bigger bream. There’s a lot to be said for using live bait.

Commercial catch

The dirty water conditions make all the lake fish easier to harvest for the professional fisherman. The fish can’t see the nets, and incredible hauls of bream and particularly large mulloway have been taken recently. I’ve heard some really big bream are turning up, and a few pictures were taken of the mulloway catch – they would certainly take some horsing in if caught on rod and reel!

Try Lakes Entrance

So, where can anglers get a fish over the next few weeks? My suggestion is Lakes Entrance. It’s a great stopover for all the family, and a chance for anglers to get into the huge luderick while they are still there. The Nicholson and Tambo rivers are just a short drive away, as well. Check with the locals as to what bait is hot on the menu before you hit the water.

Poddy mullet on A lure?

It’s a rare catch indeed, but every now and then I do battle with a big poddy mullet, and let me tell you, they go hard! These massive cousins of the yellow-eye mullet can grow to well over 5kg, but are almost impossible to catch on bait, and even tougher to trick with lures. Their oily and somewhat smelly flesh and skin makes them impossible to eat, but they certainly make great shark bait.

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