Experience Paying Off
  |  First Published: February 2006

I hope Santa was generous, you enjoyed a New Year break from work and you’ve figured out how to use that latest trinket, gadget or gizmo he dropped off.

I’ve heard mixed reports about Lake Mulwala of late with many holidaying anglers going home empty handed. More regular anglers though have managed a few fish amongst the chaos of holiday boat traffic. I’ve heard of some good cod to 90cm taken on bait around Bundalong.

Derek Blow from Bendigo fished the lake in early January and managed to land an 81cm cod on a white and pink Bassman spinnerbait. The fish came out of only 4ft. Derek and mates managed five other cod between 45 and 55cm during the rest of their trip.

Roger Miles from Cod Hunter Fishing Tours reports that some of his mates were trolling up some good fish on deep diving Codgers and StumpJumpers near the junction of the Ovens and Murray rivers early in January.

Since December, Roger has spent 10 days fishing the lake with clients. Although catch rates were relatively poor early in December, they improved as the water clarity did, in the last two weeks before Christmas. In his last six trips to the lake up until early January, he’s managed about 40 fish, three quarters of which have been cod. Pearl white spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits such Daiwa’s Pro-Vibration and small Custom Crafted Hammerheads in pink and brown, and pink and purple, have been most effective.

Andrew Cannon and friends enjoyed 3 days fishing over the holiday break below the Bundalong boat ramp. The trip got off to a great start with 4 cod and 2 goldens in the first afternoon session. All were caught casting no. 2 StumpJumpers. From then on things got tougher until two cod, one 63cm and the other 65cm were boated on day 3. Again, hard-bodied lures did the damage. A few other yellowbelly and small cod were mixed in but overall, returns were poor for the hours fished.

Balancing the positive reports somewhat, Mr. Lowrance Dave Silva spent a long day trolling the dots off his lures above Bundalong for zilch.

As more and more of the ski boats disappear as people return to normal life, an increasing numbers of anglers will venture out into the open water in search of large cod with lures.

Surface Lures

I was recently introduced to the art of surface fishing by great mate and fishing icon ‘Barefoot’ David Hodge. For the past four weeks a couple of work colleagues and I have been having great fun just before dark casting surface lures and poppers from the shore. We’ve focussed our efforts in the shallower areas of the lake that have a lot of timber.

If you have never tried this style of fishing, then give it a go this summer. It leaves everything else for dead once you’ve had a couple of good hits.

The fish we’ve been targeting are not monsters but to have a fish inhale a lure a couple of feet from your rod tip makes for heart pumping stuff.

On average we are getting between 10 and 20 hits per hour on good calm nights between a few of us. The best results I’ve seen so far was from my 10-year-old daughter Tori, who landed a 48cm cod on her first cast of a surface lure. The Scumfrog did the trick for her but others good lures have included Halco Nightwalkers, Jitterbugs, Chug’n’Spits and a hand made popper from Brad Day in Bendigo.

Options Open

As I reported late last year the secret to fishing Mulwala during summer is to keep your options open. Bait, trolling or casting lures can all be productive at various times. The top half of the lake from Majors Creek up to Bundalong produces bigger cod but from Majors Creek down, the fish are more plentiful but generally smaller.

Safe Boating

Keep in mind that like many other reservoirs, Mulwala can become very rough quite quickly. Recently, we had 8 skiers rescued from a boat that had capsized when the lake chopped up. Don’t become a statistic so be safe!

Below the Weir

The fishing downstream of the weir has been predictable with many undersize cod and trout cod landed amongst a few legal size fish. The day before Christmas I took my two children baitfishing to get them out of the house. In 3 hours we landed 25 small cod between 15 and 38cm. All of these fish were caught on bardi grubs and most were trout cod. It’s great to see that these threatened fish are in such huge numbers in this part of the world, despite the fact that they tend to become pesky bait pickers very quickly.

I recommend the use of Grub Sox if you’re going to fish with grubs around Yarrawonga. They’ll save you a lot of money if you’re buying grubs rather than collecting your own.

Roger has spent some time in the river below too of late. Averaging 8 to 10 fish per trip, mostly on lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits, yellowbelly between 2 and 3kg have dominated catches amongst the ever-reliable population of small but keen cod.

Mulwala Outlook

Fishing from now until May should start to pick up with some bigger fish on the move. As the season progresses the fish tend to move down from the top end of the lake to the town end.

Murray River Outlook

Once the speedboats disappear there’ll be some good yellowbelly on offer for those bobbing bait around snags or casting small lures.

If you’ve got a good fishing story from around Yarrawonga then drop me a line at --e-mail address hidden--

Andrew Cannon enjoyed a great start to his Bundalong fishing holiday casting StumpJumpers at snags for fish like this.

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