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Flathead Continue to Fire
  |  First Published: June 2005



The news from the Gippsland Lakes area can be summed up in one word - flathead! And boy there’s plenty of them from Lake Wellington right through to Lakes Entrance, with all the rivers also having plenty of duskies. On the down side, with so many flathead being caught, there are some ugly reports of people taking more than the bag limit.

Again, for the record, there is a possession limit of five dusky flathead per person. Nearly all flathead in the Gippsland Lakes are dusky flathead. I’ve heard of many times when the flathead bag limit has been exceeded by a few anglers that were happy to brag about it. This didn’t go unnoticed with eighteen calls to the 13FISH phone number, (133474) to report the details. On a brighter note though, since the complaints were made Fisheries Officers have been out in force across the Gippy Lakes. Nearly all anglers were doing the right thing. Great news!

TAMBO, NICHOLSON & MITCHELL RIVERS

The run of flathead has been incredible in all three rivers, but particularly in the lower Mitchell. Plenty of undersized fish, but some duskies have been caught up to 1.4kg. Frozen prawn has been taking most fish and, as usual, the soft plastics are proving deadly.

All three rivers are running clear and the salt water pushing right up into all systems.

Lots of small bream are taking sandworm. Garfish and a few mullet are also showing up early this season as the cold weather approaches. For those casting lures, the perch have been very quiet and the bream have been extremely tough to trick, even though a good number of big bream have been seen amongst the snags and on the shallow flats. The results of the recent ABT bream competition would support this. Many of the anglers failed to weigh in a single fish. This is in stark contrast to last year when record numbers of huge bream were caught and released after the weigh in.

THE McLENNAN STRAITS

The Straits have seen plenty of anglers out with the good weather recently. A lot of undersized bream have been caught on worm, with only a handful of size fish landed, along with the odd luderick. Tom’s Creek is the place to fish for bigger bream. Dolphins are a regular visitor to Hollands Landing and really create a lot of interest when they come through. During the recent school holidays, I watched plenty of kids jumping up and down with excitement when they turned up. Unfortunately, the fish tend to go into hiding for a while afterwards. Who could blame them!

The flathead have taken quite a few baits meant for bream, and most duskies are around 30cm and under. Some anglers are chasing them with soft plastics and landing flatties to 50cm. There are schools of garfish in the area too, and I’ve even caught a few on lures recently. It won’t be long before the yelloweye mullet move in for the colder months ahead. Luderick to 35cm are also being caught, mainly on soft shell.

LAKE VICTORIA & LAKE KING

Flathead are being caught right throughout this huge area and are not hard to find if you target the right depth of water. The duskies are usually holding in shallow water of about a metre. Whiting are taking pippies with most fish down from Metung to Lakes Entrance. Tailors are taking trolled lures out in the deeper water with the odd small salmon. From the reports I’ve heard, the bream being caught are undersize and as with the trend right across the Gippsland Lakes, big bream are proving hard to catch. Leatherjackets are now on the chew and are turning up in good numbers too.

LAKE WELLINGTON

On the eastern shoreline of Lake Wellington the muddy water is starting to clear, and as a result the flatties have moved in. Big schools of luderick are also now in the area. However, the Avon and Latrobe rivers are still both full of colored water and holding plenty of carp.

Brett Johnson with his first ever estuary perch that was tagged and released.

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