Loddon Natives Maturing
  |  First Published: February 2006

As the weather experts predicted it looks like we’re in for a long and hot summer. Record December temperatures, average day temperatures above 30 and a couple of days topping 40 have brought about a rapid rise in water temperatures. This is a positive for catch rates with native fish now in top gear!

Loddon River

Recently, I had good friend and VFM editor Marc Ainsworth come out and wet a line with me at Bridgewater. Despite an unfavourable barometer, Ainsy got busted up third cast. The fish welcomed him back to his old stamping ground in no uncertain terms and now has a Bassman spinnerbait to add to its jewellery collection. Not to be beaten though he later managed to land a quality 58cm golden perch.

The Loddon River system continues to fish well for cod. Although not producing large numbers, the average size of fish caught has been excellent. Clients of Cod Hunter Fishing Tours this season have managed five cod between 79cm and 84cm this season. It’s terrific to see some quality specimens turning up and if the majority of anglers continue to practise ‘catch and release’, then we should see this big fish trend continue.

The situation has been the same for golden perch – not huge numbers but some very nice specimens. The average golden caught has been between 2 and 4 kg.

With the hot temperatures we’ve seen an increase in irrigation flows down the system although water clarity is still extremely good in the ski zone. It does deteriorate the further you travel upstream. I prefer to fish where there is some colour in the water. In these reduced light conditions the fish are more likely to come out and strike a lure.

The increased irrigation flows have seen a reduction in catch rates amongst those fishing the Newbridge and Laanecoorie areas. Water clarity did deteriorate to a level that captures on lures slowed. It shouldn’t be too long before we see it improve again in this section.

Further downstream at Serpentine the fishing remains good. Water clarity is exceptional and anglers have experienced some good action on redfin, cod and golden perch.

Cairn Curran

Cairn Curran has continued to fish well. The majority of anglers have been targeting redfin with varying degrees of success. Those more experienced anglers are rarely missing out, however those with less time spent on the water have often come home disappointed.

The secret to redfin success at Cain Curran is simple – find the fish. A quality fish finder will help you discover where the schools are. Try and target key areas that consistently hold redfin. Some of these are where you can find any point coming into the lake. A good ledge or submerged islands are also great spots to try.

The majority of redfin have been caught in between 4 and 10m. They’ve been caught on a range of deep diving lures. Down rigging or using paravanes have been effective at getting some of those small lures down deep. Bait fishermen have also experienced redfin success. Small yabbies and worms have been effective but the best bait continues to be gudgeon.

Lake Eppalock

Lake Eppalock has slowed however those who have changed their tactics have reaped the rewards. With the receding water levels, fishing off the banks has slowed dramatically.

The best concentrations of fish have been found in close proximity to timbered areas of the lake, with bait fishermen having moderate success.

Trolling lures along the edges of the timber has also been productive. Anglers casting hard-bodied lipless crank baits and spinnerbaits have landed a few goldens, fishing the lay-me-downs and the big carrot-top trees.

Campaspe River

The Campaspe River below Eppalock is continuing to fish very well. Bank anglers at places such as Russells and Englishs Bridge have had good success.

The section of river at Barnadown has also produced some quality golden perch and recently produced a super 80cm Murray cod. Further downstream at Elmore and Rochester the fishing remains good. The popularity of these destinations continues to increase as more and more anglers take advantage of Departmental stockings that are really starting to pay dividends.

As we’re now in the hottest months of the year, conditions on the water can be very trying. However, the rewards are certainly there for those who are prepared to ‘slip, slop and slap’ and take on the elements.

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