Campaspe Yields 9kg Golden
  |  First Published: May 2005

With the recent holidays, there have been large numbers of anglers enjoying the great outdoors. Their catch rates have been mixed but anglers putting in the extra effort to get away from the masses have been rewarded. If you are planning a trip at this time of the year, consider your destination carefully. Some local waterways such as the Loddon and Campaspe River Systems can be adversely affected by the amount of boat traffic – the fish can get spooked and shut down.

A couple of local Bendigo anglers were well rewarded for their efforts over the Easter break. They fished a nice hole above Newbridge and managed to land two Murray cod (3kg and 8kg) and two quality golden perch.

Reports from Lake Eppalock remain scarce at present as only limited numbers of anglers are fishing this location. The lake’s level is continuing to fall at a rapid rate and it is becoming more difficult to launch a boat. The best location to launch is on the Northern Point of Meridan Island, which is located in the Kimbolton Pool. A 4WD is recommended and you should proceed with caution.

The lower end of the lake remains the most productive section. Anglers who are bait fishing off the edges of the old river course are catching some small redfin. The golden perch fishing has slowed over the last month. Although anglers are still catching a few, the numbers are well down on what they were earlier in the season.

Black and white colour combinations, pink and purple have all worked well on golden perch. The most productive time is still the last hour of light: a time when many anglers will pack up after a hard day on the water.

The Campaspe River below Eppalock is still fishing well at present. There have been good reports from anglers fishing in the deeper holes at locations like Barnadown, English’s Bridge and Russell’s Bridge. Anglers have been rewarded with some quality golden perch, redfin and the occasional Murray cod. Local angler Phil Keetelaar recently landed a golden perch measuring 66cm, with an estimated weight of 9kg.

Further downstream at Elmore the fishing remains good, even though there have been large numbers of anglers fishing there in recent weeks. The best method for targeting the redfin has been trolling and the majority of redfin have been caught off the edges of the prolific weed beds. Red/black, gold and green/yellow have been the most successful colour combinations, while No.3 StumpJumpers, Custom Crafted Hammerheads and small Codgers are the pick of the lures.

Some anglers have also been having luck trolling 1/2oz and 5/8oz spinnerbaits, with the most productive being white colour combinations in Venom and Bassman spinnerbaits. Good numbers of golden perch and Murray cod are still being caught, mainly by casting. Try using spinnerbaits and 60-70mm hard bodies in gold, red/black and purple.

Cairn Curran is producing average fishing – the majority of catches have been small to medium sized redfin, caught mainly on bait or trolling deep diving lures. At present the lake is still holding a reasonable level and if this remains, I am confident it will be a good season for downrigging in the lake over the winter months. While the numbers of golden perch are still low, trout captures are increasing as water temperatures start to fall.

The Loddon River at Bridgewater received a lot of fishing pressure over the holiday period, causing reduced catch rates for most anglers. On a positive note, there have been recent water releases from Laanecoorie and the river has a nice amount of colour back into it. With this reduced clarity, fish are more likely to leave the security of their habitat to strike a lure. Increased current flow is also good as it gets the food moving throughout the system and the fish are more likely to be switched on.

Further downstream at Serpentine reports are also positive. Local Bendigo anglers have been fishing there in recent weeks and have had good success on both Murray cod and golden perch. It is a great time to fish the Fernihurst Weir too, with the first week of May bringing the end of the irrigation season and in turn, enhanced water clarity. Good numbers of natives are in this section of river and often receive minimal fishing pressure because of the poor water clarity throughout the irrigation season.

A prolonged stocking program over more than a decade has produced a very healthy native fishery in the Loddon River, including Murray cod like this one caught by the author on a large hard bodied lure cast across submerged timber in the middle of the river.

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