Options even in quiet times.
  |  First Published: September 2006

One good thing about fishing in the southwest is the great variety of different species, locations and techniques that can be fished. So far this year there have been a multitude of different opportunities to keep anglers busy. Despite this the winter options have been relatively quiet recently for a number of reasons.

Offshore fishing has been most productive recently with snapper, gummies and even pelagic sharks being taken in 40-60m of water. One particularly impressive catch was Shane Chromie’s 165kg mako. The calm sea and weather needed for offshore fishing haven’t been as regular as they can be during the winter months.

Bream fishing in the estuaries has been quiet due to clear water and low water temperatures. The mouths of the Curdies and Hopkins have been blocked for a great portion of July, making it difficult to launch, so there is more water between relatively inactive fish.

There hasn’t been a great deal of rain to move the trout into the lower reaches of the Merri where they are usually targeted over the winter months. The new department regulations introduced this year allow trout to be targeted further upstream, where they have been biting well on a soft plastics, lipless crankbaits and hard-bodied lures. Salmon catches have been inconsistent and dominated by fish of less than 1kg.

Salmon are still a reliable proposition at this time of the year and hopefully some larger specimens will begin showing up. Silver trevally will also become more prevalent as we move into September. Try fishing inshore in the many sheltered bays or the Moyne River and Port Campbell Pier if you’re land-based. Targeting inshore snapper locally is still some time away, particularly when compared to Port Phillip Bay. During September the best snapper will still be taken in deeper offshore areas.

September is a good time to start preparing for the deep freeze for the coming summer season. If you can stop yourself from eating them, squid and garfish are popular targets in the sheltered bays around Killarney and Port Fairy at this time of the year. The salmon you may have been catching over the winter make great cut baits and berley for snapper and shark.

September if often a wet time in the southwest and hopefully some significant rain will fire up the trout and estuary fishing. Too much rain, however, can shut the rivers down for a short time. If this occurs try some of the smaller local lakes like Gillear, Aringa and Ellingamite. They haven’t had much angling pressure due to low levels recently, but there are good fish still in there that will be easier to target if waters begin to rise.

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