August will be a great time to make the most of the recently revised trout regulations, which probably affect anglers in the southwest more than anyone.
The regulatory changes improve anglers’ ability to fish the Merri by relaxing boundaries and expanding the length of river that can be fished during winter.
In addition, sections of the Moyne River and the Hopkins River have been added to the list of sea run trout streams. This means that we can pursue trout in the lower sections of these rivers now – a great result!
During the depths of winter, when there’s often not many fishing opportunities available when the weather turns nasty, it’s great to now have the option of fishing the dirty water in three different rivers, for quality trout that usually average 1.5kg.
It’s a victory for common sense legislation because not only are other fishing options quiet over the winter months, but it’s the best time to target trout locally.
Come the warmer months there are plenty of other angling options available so it’s not like the fishery is going to be over exploited all year round.
The key to being able to get the best out of this new fishery will be some decent rain in the catchments containing these rivers. As of early July there had been little rain and cold, clear water means that most estuary and inshore angling options have been pretty quiet.
Bream have been quiet in most of the local estuaries. Bait is probably a good option and lure fishers might need to go down to light leaders. It’s not all bad though because, while numbers are often down at this time of year, many large bream are taken during winter. If they can be convinced to bite, most don’t fight as hard as they do when water temperatures are higher.
The Merri has probably been fishing as well as any of the rivers locally. Bream, mullet and small salmon have been prevalent in the lower reaches whilst trout have been moving well between Dennington and Caramut Rd. The cold and clear water that has been hindering most types of angling has provided some excellent sight fishing for trout in this area.
On the saltwater scene, the best fishing recently has been for offshore bottom bouncers who have been enjoying good catches of snapper to 4kg, and gummy sharks when conditions have allowed.
Salmon have been rather quiet with East Beach at Port Fairy producing the most consistent results, although most fish have been below 1kg.
If you are fishing in the Port Fairy region you need to be aware of new quarantine measures that have been introduced to stop the spread of an abalone virus. This virus has affected reefs adjacent to Port Fairy and forced the closure of four Victorian abalone aquaculture farms.
A Control Area has been established along 10km of coastline west of Port Fairy that extends from the high water mark at Boulder Point (east of the Crags) to the Moyne River mouth at Port Fairy (extending between 200 and 700m offshore).
The following activities are prohibited in the Control Area:
• the use of all commercial fishing and abalone equipment and the use of recreational hoop nets, bait traps, recreational haling nets and abalone levers;
• anchoring of vessels and fishing equipment; and,
• the collection or attempted collection of abalone and all shellfish, rock lobster, sea urchins, all other invertebrates and substrate.
The Control Area was introduced on 9 June for a period of 60 days so it will be up for review soon after this issue hits the newsstand. For more up to date information about the issue ring the DPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186.Reads: 537