Is it too early to say the algal bloom is gone? The lake waters are so clean now compared to the height of the outbreak during the middle of last year, when the colour was an ugly bright green. There is still the odd non-toxic pink algae outbreak here and there throughout the system, but what a relief it is to fish clear water again.
There is much talk about large duskies being caught in the eastern areas of the Gippy Lakes, and the huge breeding females have made their presence felt during these hot months while spawning closer to the entrance. Some of the bigger fish released have been around 90cm, and flatties to 55cm are fairly common.
About four years ago I started catching big numbers of duskies in the Gippy Lakes, and in 2005 I tagged just over 1000. It’s been very unusual to have only a handful of those flathead recaptured, but it probably has a lot to do with the incredible number of duskies out there.
While floundering at night I have seen countless small duskies of 25-35cm. I have also spooked a couple of big girls I guesstimated to be 65-70cm. No wonder a few mega-sized females over 10lb are being caught at the moment, because I came across some whopping big flattie ‘footprints’ as well. Great to see this iconic Aussie species make a big comeback in the lakes.
As predicted, this year’s prawning continues to be one of the best. A couple of workmates, Sam and Wilma, have had no trouble putting together hauls of 5kg on any night they venture out for a feed. The best nights are, of course, around the dark of the new moon, and Sam also saw a lot of flounder and a stack of sand crabs.
The biggest change from previous years is the total absence of any weed or grass. The whole lake system is now also devoid of any of the mussels that were so prolific prior to the big floods of 2007. The best places to get a feed of prawns are closer to Lakes Entrance, but if you want to avoid the crowds try a little further up around Rigby and Fraser islands.
Gun comp angler Chris Burbidge has been snooping around his favourite bream haunts in the Gippy Lakes again recently, and has put together a nice tally of handsome bream all caught on hardbodied vibes. All his fish were around 35cm.
Any of you other lure fishing addicts who are keen to fish the lakes again, well now’s the time to come and have a look because the waters are very clean and full of bream. The Mitchell and Tambo rivers continue to produce the biggest bream, with a few bait fishers landing specimens of 45-48cm.
Bryan Mathews from Bairnsdale has recaptured an estuary perch in the Tambo recently and I’m fairly certain it was also carrying an internal acoustic tag. This fish is one of about 40 or so that are assisting Fisheries in their research about fish movements within the rivers of the Gippy Lakes. They will also study the relationship between salinity levels and how they impact on when and where perch and bream reproduce.
I’m pleased to report that perch numbers are on the up in the rivers this year, with a lot of smaller 25-30cm fish being caught.
Luring for bream in the Gippy Lakes is back on the menu, in clean algae-free water.Reads: 1048