The month of June is upon us and winter in the southwest begins. It is well known for cold weather, strong winds and rough seas. Well it’s not all that bad. There are plenty of options for the keen angler when a window of fine weather appears.
Maybe all this talk of terrible winter weather is a bit premature as the late autumn weather at the time of writing has been nothing short of spectacular. There have been plenty of calm, warm days that make pursuing fish a pleasure and open up many options. In the saltwater a mix of late season summer fish and winter species have been producing good mixed bags at most locations. Pinkies, salmon, trevally and whiting have been taken by boat anglers in the Lady Bay, Killarney and Port Fairy areas. As the water temperature cools further in June, trevally and salmon will still be viable targets along with other cool water species such as barracouta, garfish and horse mackerel.
More sheltered areas like the Moyne River and inside the Warrnambool breakwater can produce good catches during the cooler months if the sea is rough. Travelling further offshore to depths of 40m+ can also be a productive option on those occasional still, calm, winter days. Gummy sharks, pinkies and morwong are viable targets out there and there is always the hope that the southern bluefin tuna will once again pay a visit to the region.
The trout in the local rivers are usually at their best during the autumn and early winter months. [the trout closed season commences at midnight on June13 this year although the Merri River below the Dennington Railway Bridge is open year round – Ed.] Dirty water can see the trout in the Merri push right down to the estuary section and quality fish are taken each winter. At the time of writing these same trout are biting well further up the river. Good fish ranging from last years release fish, (which now are around 700g) up to quality fish over 2kg have been taken recently in the clear water. The largest I’ve seen went 2.6kg. Lightly weighted soft plastics in stickbait patterns like Berkley 3’ bass minnows resemble the local baitfish and have proved effective. The floating weed, that is so often a problem at this time of year, isn’t as thick as it has been in the previous two years so pursuing trout is easier. Good trout are also taken in the Hopkins and the Mt. Emu Creek during the cooler months whenever the water levels rise.
Bream continue to be an option in both the Curdies and the Hopkins. Trolling hard-bodied lures for estuary perch is also a productive technique at this time of the year in lower reaches of the Hopkins.
Of course winter is regarded as salmon time along the Victorian coast and there are plenty of traditional style surf beaches in the area that can produce good bags. Logans and Levis beach at Warrnambool and East Beach at Port Fairy are good places to break out the 12ft surf rod and try for a salmon. Often overlooked are quality yellow-eye mullet that can also be taken. These mullet are often a lot better for the table than the ones taken from a river and can save a trip if the salmon are quiet.Reads: 4508