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A golden outlook
  |  First Published: November 2003



AS I SIT here on the computer waiting impatiently for daylight saving to roll around, the outlook for Lake Hume is fantastic.

I’m very confident that the lake level will be roughly 65% full. I’m crossing my fingers, but hopefully we’ll still have rising or even stable levels, thanks to the amount of snowmelt that will eventually find its way into the lake. We had an identical situation in 1998 and that season was a blinder. As I mentioned last month, the yellowbelly have come on the boil when the weather has been up to scratch and there has been a good mix of fish up to 6.5kg and some smaller stuff as well. When we are fortunate enough to not have the lake pouring down the gurgler at this time of year, the fishing can be great for the yellas and also the lake’s bread-and-butter fish the redfin.

Targeting the yellowbelly can really be a hit-and-miss affair but when all goes to plan, there is great sport to be had. The early starts and last hour of light are by far the prime periods. My general tactic is to troll the fringes at first light with standard divers that run roughly eight to 14 feet and then work out wider as the sun gets warm, when I switch to deeper lures. Then it’s back to the shallower lures on dark, when the fish usually move back close to the fringes.

Keep your speed nice and slow and be confident that a big golden will come your way. To date a good mix has been taken on bait and lures and even a few taken on soft plastics fished vertically beside timber while chasing the reddies. Mate Russel Taylor, who has had some big fish to his name here, reckons that if you want to catch a yella then you can’t go past the 60mm Merlins. The 50mm AC deep Invader, the deep Knol’s 50mm Native, small Luhr Jensen Hotlips, the wide-bodied McGrath and the small Hot ’N Tot are all hard to go past.

LATE SPILLWAY TROUT

All the rain we’ve had and the previously low Lake Hume level has seen the water flow turned on the latest in more than a decade. When they do turn it on, I’m confident that there will be some brief, but great, trout casting. Typically, the NSW rocky bank will be the easiest and best place to fish. The lead-fish brigade will most likely be out there casting those big lead fish but I am itching to use my large redfin jigs and the new Storm soft plastics in redfin patterns.

Light line and long casts with customised plastics to suit the flow conditions are needed. If you are thinking of getting out there and giving it a crack, you cannot beat the last light. My best results here have been right on dark to an hour afterwards. There is no need to work plastics in the fast-water scenario here, it’s just a matter of taking up the slack enough so if you do get a take, it is registered with a swoop of the rod to sink in those hooks.

Casting minnow lures from a drifting boat early mornings and late evenings should be rewarding. There is a boat ramp on the Victorian bank next to where the old caravan used to be. Motoring up to the buoys on the NSW side of the island and then drifting down to Heywards bridge casting minnows often works well. Over the years all sorts of lures have done the trick but our best results have been on small minnows or silver-coloured Loftys, but I’d always suggest try your favourites then maybe give my suggestions a try.

WORTH A CRACK

November is always a great time in most places around here but with so many options locally, I always seem to stick to where I know well. This month I’ve made a promise to give a few new locations a thorough work-over.

Just over an hour away from Albury, up the Kiewa Valley, is the little Mt Beauty pondage. I finally made it up there a few months back for an evening. It was bloody freezing. It’s awesome scenery, with Mt Bogong towering over the landscape all white. It’s a beautiful little pondage and it reminded me much of the shallow, wall end of Khancoban Pondage. Clean water and plentiful weed beds provide great food and cover for its population of browns and rumoured big reddies.

My girlfriend Tina and I boated a very fit rainbow around a kilo on a trolled Rapala Husky Jerk and I cast up a handsome reddie on a soft plastic. I was impressed with our little stint there and I can only imagine that when it warms up it would be a great little hole.

Up near Tumbarumba is Mannus Dam which is fed by Mannus Creek, and Tumbarumba Creek is another tiny fishery I’m itching to get to. It’s not too well-known but a few reliable sources tell me that it has plenty of big reddies and a handful of big cod and small brown trout.

Also on my hit list is about 140km away in Victoria, the very pretty Lake William Hovell. It’s a beautiful little lake which I checked out on a rainy Sunday a few months back but apparently there are plenty of thumper reddies, according to regular Dale O’Meara of Rutherglen.

So there are options galore. I can’t fish everywhere but I will try my best to give you first-hand reports on those couple.

YOU’RE JOKING!

I was shocked in disbelief when I read in the local paper about a proposal for Lake Mulwala as part of the Living Murray initiative being undertaken by the Murray Darling Basin Commission.

The commission proposes to permanently drop the lake level by a metre. Residents of the twin border towns, Mulwala and Yarrawonga, were rightfully outraged. On September 15 more than 4000 locals marched across the bridge in protest. The livelihood of these towns revolves around the lake and this would typically have catastrophic ramifications on the region’s $150 million tourism industry.

We anglers make up a huge proportion of the tourism industry here but if this proposal went ahead, it would will see the end of a once magnificent Murray cod fishery and of angling dollars injected into the towns. All of the ramps would be out of the water; it would make boating downright dangerous; the water temperature would rise significantly and promote massive weed growth and it could only affect the breeding conditions for the Murray cod.

Sounds insane and no doubt some half-baked idea that some brain-dead office-fool has come up with for his ‘save the Murray’ theory. From what I have since heard, chances of this going through are very slim and one can only hope that commonsense prevails. I will keep you posted if more news comes to hand.

While on the subject of Mulwala, come down and check out the Cod Opening Classic on December 6 and 7. This year it’s totally catch-and-release of all Murray cod and with more than $70,000 in prizes, including three boats, it’s well be worth entering. It’s always a top social event and this year’s will no doubt again be a ripper. For more info you can contact Tony or Vanessa Bennet on 03 5744 1667.

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