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Freshwater Options Aplenty
  |  First Published: May 2006



With the dwindling need for irrigation water downstream of Eildon the Goulburn River has been brought back to a more respectable flow of 6000 megalitres, a far cry from the 10,000 that made it’s way down to Seymour in March.

With the lower water levels comes better accessibility for anglers and better catch rates. On a recent trip upstream of Gilmores Bridge, Chris Mackay and I found several larger fish feeding off the edge of the current in a large backwater, but at the higher flows these fish were well out of casting range.

Unfortunately, this time of the year marks the end of grasshopper fishing, both fly and natural. Already, keen bait drifters are turning over every log in sight searching for their replacement, crickets. Bait anglers have also had very good success with gents.

A couple of local Alexandra fellows recently fished the area known as The Crusher for several trout to 1kg.

The elusive scrubworm is still accounting for trout and good redfin in the lower stretches around the Acheron Cutting.

In the shop, we’re finding spin fishers are steering away from the larger Tassie Devils and opting for Celtas, Norstream Insects and Rapalas. Recent reports suggest many fish are ‘bumping’ the lure and only a few are hooking up.

Two happy anglers that were not just bumped by fish in the Goulburn River were Brad Polgeest and Paul Kidd. These blokes landed very respectable fish – Brad a 3.5kg rainbow and Paul a 2kg brown. Both were taken on brown trout patterned CD5 Rapalas.

The fly flickers will be happy because we now have a more varied watercourse to fish. I witnessed one guy landing a nice brown from a fast run using a heavy beadhead nymph.

There is a lot of action for backwater feeding trout – they’re hard to get but generally a good size. I finally landed one of these backwater feeding fish, a rainbow of about 750g on a #14 brown suspender nymph. It’s the one with the polystyrene ball on top. I use this fly a lot so expect to hear more about it in future reports.

Areas such as the Breakaway will become very popular as these large shallow beds often produce the better hatches and subsequently the better rises. Don’t be fooled into thinking that these are ‘fished out’ because they’re directly across from the Twin Rivers Caravan Park. This area has produced some great fish for me and several other keen fly flickers I know.

LAKE EILDON

The big lake is reaching that temperature where it’s not quite warm enough for the native species such as yellowbelly and cod and still a little too warm for the trout to be taken flat-lining. This is forcing trout anglers to use downriggers and fish at depth, or stick to early mornings and late evenings.

Persistent lure casters are still fishing towards the Delatite with the usual favourite lures: spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and Oar-Gee lures. In weeks to come we will see a swing towards Tassie Devils and smaller bibbed lures as trollers head up towards the Big River.

In the near future pockets of trout will start making their way up towards some of the tributary rivers, getting ready to spawn. This can be a productive time because they feed aggressively, trying to gain weight and condition for what lies ahead of them.

I don’t really have many reports coming in from the higher rivers. The odd angler has dropped into the shop talking of the good days on the Big River, having caught several fish up to 500g on lures. I plan to contact a couple of Mansfield anglers I know for future reports to give readers a better perspective on the area. These guys spend a lot of time on the Delatite, Howqua and the upper Goulburn rivers.

Sean Rogers, a local Alexandra angler, has one of the last big yellowbelly reports that I expect to get until next summer – a very well conditioned 5kg fish that was caught on a Norstream Bobber while targeting redfin. It’s the second large yellowbelly I’ve weighed in that was caught on bobbers by people chasing reddies. Len Sawyer also caught one of similar size not that long ago.

I have just got off the phone from Roy at the Peppin Point Holiday Park around at Bonnie Doon. He tells me that there have been a few trout popping up for the trollers. Several anglers have also been doing well jigging for small reddies. The water level might be down but Peppin Point still has launching facilities available.

RUBICON & ACHERON RIVERS

High Goulburn flows and a very good grasshopper season have seen both these rivers heavily populated with anglers. Paths are well worn and the fish have probably seen more fishing gear than we have in the shop. Still, there have been some good reports.

Fly flickers have been doing well with hoppers. Nearing the end of the hopper season I think we’d all agree that rubber legs are a must – they seem to increase the life of the fly and excite even wary fish.

Smaller lures, particularly Celtas, have been productive and will continue to be until the close of the season. My tip; find a patch of water you think hasn’t been fished for a while.

This year I’m finding a lot more people are steering away from the Rubicon for the Acheron and even back towards Buxton and Marysville. This is a good thing because it’s spreading the pressure around a bit. All of these rivers are great water and all produce good fish, but it doesn’t hurt to give them a helping hand and practise catch and release more often than not.

EILDON PONDAGE

I know that a lot of people don’t like ‘the pond’, but I honestly love it. Mornings have seen a dropping water level allowing fly flickers access to lots of water. I caught two fish from three casts there recently! I’m finding that several different patterns are working, depending on the feeding activity. Large nymphs, smelt and Woolly Buggers are all productive on their day.

Bait anglers tend to position themselves in all the usual haunts with a huge array of gear and tackle. Mudeyes are the favourite with PowerBait, gents and dough close behind. The best times seem to be early morning and night.

Craig Frean, the local Eildon butcher, has been out with his young son Corbyn casting a few lures. Corbyn landed a nice brownie of about a 500g on a Tassie Devil. Craig has been trying a new Strike Pro lipless crankbait I sold him and it’s paid off in a big way; five fish in 45 minutes, the largest 1.5kg.

It’s good to hear of other lures working rather than sticking to the usual winged or spooned ones.

The pondage is starting to produce some better redfin. My three and half year old son, Mitchel, landed a reddie after drowning a scrubworm.

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