One thing I love about fishing is the unpredictability of it.
Recently I had the opportunity to fish in a Dash for Cash competition organised by Tony Bennett and the Yarrawonga Football Club. I had not fished for several weeks and was eagerly awaiting this competition to land some quality fish. Although the competition was a great success, the fishing was slow and the number of fish landed was low. I went out with good friend Derek Blow and between us we did not land anything for a total of nine hours fishing. It was a great learning experience though, as we did manage to find some new areas that will produce for us another day. The biggest mistake we made as anglers was trying too hard. We were so eager to do well that we did not persist with our favourite colour combinations and tried to make something happen rather than wait for it to happen. It just goes to show that you can always learn something new about fishing.
On Lake Eppalock the redfin fishing remains poor - the majority of anglers’ catch rates are well down compared to good seasons when the lake is holding higher water levels. Golden perch are still productive and have been making up the majority of captures all season at the lake. Local angler James Boyle has been having consistent success trolling the lakes submerged timber. He has found that they are often not coming on until the last hour of daylight. James’ most productive lure of late has been the deep diving black and white Viper lure, while Custom Crafted Hammerheads and Extractors, small Codgers and Feral Catt lures have also been doing well. Other anglers are having success fishing the exposed lay-me-downs with spinnerbaits, most of them using 1/2oz models in purple, black and red.
The Campaspe remains a real success story this season. After several seasons promoting it as a worthwhile destination, a number of anglers are discovering what the Campaspe is all about. Good numbers of Murray cod are being caught on both hard bodies and spinnerbaits with Phil Keetalaar catching and releasing one measuring 89cm. Golden perch and redfin have also been caught in good numbers weighing up to 5kg and 1kg respectively. The majority of redfin are being caught in the lower reaches around the Elmore weir and are most productive along the edges of the prolific weed beds, which are prevalent in this section of the river.
Further downstream the fishing at Rochester remains good. Anglers are enjoying a productive season on both the Murray cod and golden perch.
At Cairn Curran the fishing has been improving over recent weeks: the number of redfin being caught has increased and the quality is also getting better. Anglers are having good success running a teaser of a fly or soft plastic in front of their lure. The lake is still holding a reasonable level (just below 20% capacity) and if the water levels do not drop too quickly, we should see a productive autumn and winter for redfin. Anglers targeting redfin in the lake’s weed beds with minnow style lures have accidentally caught a few trout.
The Loddon River has been a little slow this season and has not been producing the same number of fish as it did last year. It was disappointing to hear a report recently of an angler who caught a 1m Murray cod and proceeded to drag this fish out of the river system. The anglers had already landed two fish for the day, but still did not release the larger fish.
The Loddon River has developed its reputation as a great fishery for two reasons. The first is the terrific re-stocking program that was undertaken by Victorian Fisheries. The second reason is the low catch-and-keep rate of many of the early anglers who consistently fished this location. This has seen locations like Bridgewater develop a great reputation as a native fishery. Unfortunately, as the reputation has grown, so has the number of anglers fishing this river system.
I encourage anglers to minimize their kill rate; only keep what you need and let the others go to fight another day. If you are lucky enough to land that fish of a lifetime, then take a photo that will last forever and give someone else that opportunity to experience something they will never forget.Reads: 1486