Rain spoils fishing in the lakes
  |  First Published: April 2005

There has been rain and plenty of it - most of the Gippsland Lakes catchment has had at least 100mm. One recording for the upper catchment of the Avon River was over 400mm! The Avon river at the Stratford Highway Bridge rose quickly and a heap of muddy water, trees and even hay bales came tumbling down with the torrent of rain. From an angling point of view, the rain could not have arrived at a worse time. The whole Gippy Lakes system was really starting to fire as the waters cleared up. Unfortunately, this new lot of fresh pouring in will set the fishing back - at least at the western end of the Gippy Lakes - for at least another month, and possibly much more.


Well, the story is the same for all the big three rivers. Rain has turned the waters quite dirty, and from all reports, finding fish has been super tough. Brave souls Dave and Jack Morris lure fished the lower Tambo River the day after the big downpour. Not surprisingly, although able to just see a few fish in the murky water, they found the fishing was shut down. The rivers are clearing with every week, and by the time this goes to print, I’m sure the flathead and bream will be back in these systems, at least in the lower sections. In fact, the flathead are already pushing into all three rivers, with small fish being caught as far up as the highway bridges.


The Straits have been hit hard by the muddy water; the high flow from both the Avon and La Trobe Rivers turned the water to chocolate, right through to Hollands Landing. Again, it was such a pity, as good reports were really firing in with a good run of bream before the rains. I fished the morning of the day the heavens opened up and I tagged 15 flathead to 38cm. By lunchtime the wind and rain had just started, and I headed home with the barometer dropping out to about 990. I’m sure a lot of the fish have stayed in the Straits while the floodwaters clear but on my most recent trip, bream were very scarce indeed.


These two lakes have been the fishing hotspots with flathead the main catch. Bream and tailor are also being caught in good numbers, and the eastern parts of the Gippsland Lakes were not affected by recent rain as much. Some really big bream are milling around the jetties at Payensville and are keeping company with luderick of similar size. These fish are very tough to trick as they refuse most baits. Lure fishing for them is even more frustrating. As usual, fishing during early morning and dusk could find these resident thumpers fall to bait or lure. Shaving Point and Bancroft Bay, down near Metung are a good spot to catch flathead, and there are some nice-sized duskies amongst them. Prawns are also filtering into the lake and are quite big, so Easter holidaymakers will certainly have some fun chasing them.

I talked to Darren White, who has a licence to pump sandworms, and he said some huge bream were seen while pumping worms down in Jones Bay where the Mitchell and Nicholson Rivers pour in. These fish were attracted to the berley in the water while the boys were collecting their bait. First and last light are the better times to target these fish, and be ready for bream around three pound if you get down there.


The Avon and La Trobe Rivers have been shut down since the rain. They are still completely full of coloured water and huge carp and my tip is they won’t come good till late April.

Bream are starting to become more plentiful as the rivers clear up

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