It’s still not a bad time of the year to fish Central Victoria with a number of options to wet a line, although the fishing in our lakes is just starting to decline. Water levels are beginning to drop at a rapid rate as irrigation demand increases. We have seen a direct correlation between the drop in water levels and anglers’ reduced catch rates. It is very alarming to hear rumours of water authorities projecting low water levels in Eppalock of 1% at the end of the irrigation season. It is ridiculous in my opinion, when they continue to tempt fate by taking the lakes to lower water levels each season. What are these “water managers” going to say if we have a major fish kill?
The majority of fish are being caught in the lower reaches of the lake in the Kimbolton Pool and the northern end of the Campaspe Reach. Anglers are having some success targeting the natives by casting the lake’s lay-downs. Small to medium sized hard bodies as well as medium (3/8oz and1/2oz) weighted spinnerbaits are producing their fair share of golden perch. The Murray cod in the lake have gone quiet with reported captures being scarce. The redfin fishing remains poor, with only a limited number of anglers having any success. One positive report recently was of a local angler who landed 60 redfin for the day. 20 quality fish were kept, weighing between 1 and 1.5kg. This angler was the exception, as the majority have struggled to find any quality or quantity with the redfin this season.
Cairn Curran is also fishing slowly, the majority of captures have been on bait. The best baits at present are small yabbies and gudgeon. The most productive lures recently have been the Australian Crafted 50mm invader, Codger 15+, Mann’s 15+ and Custom Crafted Hammerheads. Some anglers have also been having limited success targeting golden perch in the upper reaches of the lake. Anglers casting or trolling these timbered sections are being rewarded with some golden perch.
The Loddon River at Laanecoorie has been producing average fishing as water clarity is mediocre. It should however start to improve for the rest of the season. It’s a location that only receives minimal pressure and can be productive on the right day. Good areas to try are directly below the weir wall. Targeting the area around the road bridge is good and also the timber sections downstream from here.
The Loddon River at Bridgewater has started to improve - water temperatures are high and the natives are switched on. Murray cod are making up the majority of captures at this stage. Most golden perch have been of smaller sizes between 1 and 2kg. Traditionally, greater numbers of larger fish are caught in the autumn months out at Bridgewater. On a recent trip Matt Borg and I landed a total of seven natives for the day. The largest was a 72cm Murray cod and this fish was landed on a Bassman Spinnerbait. Four fish were landed on hard bodies (StumpJumper and Custom Crafted Hammerhead); the other three fish were landed on spinnerbaits.
Although the water clarity on the Loddon River at Serpentine is poor, it has started to improve and it should not be too long before lure fishing here will be productive again.
The Campaspe River is the most productive waterway in Central Victoria at the present time. The Campaspe has been a location that many anglers dismiss as a worthwhile destination. Thanks largely to re-stocking this is all starting to change; anglers are beginning to target the Campaspe in good numbers. Good friends Phil Keetelaar and Phil Harrison landed a total of 30 natives from a weekend’s fishing at Elmore. The fish were caught on a selection of spinnerbaits and hard body lures. The added bonus for anglers fishing the Campaspe is the good redfin population. The majority of anglers are catching a reddie or two for a feed and practicing catch and release for the natives. This is great for the future and we can only hope that the Campaspe continues to improve at the rate that it is now.
If you’re interested in a charter chasing cod and yellas in central Victoria or the Murray River region, give Roger a call on 0427 483 286. He’s just started his own guide business Cod hunter Tours and I reckon you’d be mad not to spend a day or two with him. I’ve fished with Roger a few times and his knowledge of our native fish will see you having a great day on the water. – Ed
Malcolm Rennie landed this Murray cod on a Bassman spinnerbait slowly retrieved near a large fallen gum.Reads: 3143