Big Bream at Nelson
  |  First Published: June 2009

After Parks Victoria opened the mouth of the Glenelg River in May we now have a good tidal river once again.

Inside the estuary itself is now a huge problem with tonnes of sand banking up creating a very choked and poor estuary. It’s sad to see such a beautiful area look so poorly, on the whole it has always been shallow with channels that were very boatable with great flats that produced fantastic fishing.

At present there are huge sand flats that stand out of the water most of the time with only a big tide covering them. I have contacted the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and made mention of the dismal environs at our estuary, maybe one day some form of dredging can be done to stop the choking of this magnificent area.

Nelson Bream

Enough grizzling, the fishing has continued to be good, the bream have been co-operating nicely. Again reports of good bags have come from throughout the river. Below Pritchard’s Landing, around Forest Camp, Sapling Creek, between Hutchisons and the Caves, as well as at the estuary all producing good bags of bream. Many anglers have been stating that they had to release lots of undersize fish; that’s always going to be the case here though, as we are blessed with the fact that we have a very good bream spawn here annually.

The hotspot for bigger fish was Donovan’s Landing with bream to 44cm landed. My informant from there Jack Houlihan, who has been keeping a diary of his catches for years, has told me the run of good sized fish run was a month early this year. That may have followed the earlier good rains this year, so I would suggest that during July, Donovan’s and upstream would be a good spot to target.

As usual during winter the fish can more often than not be found towards the middle of the river as opposed to the norm of targeting the banks. Best bait during the day is still crab and at night whitebait; the metal blade lures probably the most effective in the deeper water.

Estuary Perch

Perch have come from a wide section of the river as well; Battersby’s down to Wilson’s Hall seems to be the area at present.

Russell Hurst and his son boated and released a ripper 46cm perch caught on live minnow, other baits again shrimp and live gents, Ecogear SX40 lures and similar varieties the best lures to try.


Mulloway reports have dwindled with a few coming from down at the Poles toward the estuary as well as between Sapling and Dry Creeks. I had a nice morning out trolling and caught four fish between 6-8lb. I launched at Sapling and started trolling from there. Maybe luck was on my side as the first fish was hooked as soon as my new gold Rebel Fastrack lure hit the water, the next taking two hours to get on the blue and silver Rebel down near McLennans punt. I targeted the same spot for 15 minutes and got two more, one on each of the different coloured Rebels. With a piping hot thermos of coffee and sanga’s it was a lovely way to start the day.

Big mullet

What I did notice though on the finder was the masses of whitebait schooling up, suggesting that this would be a good area to fish. In winter we get a fantastic run of bull nose mullet in the river, very good eating fresh and good bait when filleted. They come in with the cooler water that pushes up with the tide; you can see them swirling in mobs of between 30 and100 on the surface - good fun to catch. Once spotted, a pencil float with prawn or cockle is all you need.

Australian salmon

Earlier in June we also had bucket loads of Australian salmon enter the system. These are a fantastic sporting fish, especially in still water. Surface type lures as well as spinners providing lots of entertainment.

On the coast

Along the coast good numbers of school and gummy sharks are being beached by the surf fishers along with big salmon. Piccaninnies beach right through to the Woolwash have been prolific - find the gutters and target them. The sheltered bays like the Breakwater and Livingston’s preferred by anglers this time of year at Pt MacDonnell have been coming up with salmon on lure and whiting on cockles and live gents.

Tuna still on

The boys are still pulling in tuna, at present the size is down to around 18kg but the numbers have been huge. The only problem is snagging the right day to get out, as the weather and seas at present aren’t co-operating. For the latest tuna news contact Jason Fulham 08 87382483 who runs charters from Pt. MacDonnell.

Any one wanting to charter fish the Glenelg River can do so now with Leon Megaw on his ripper boat. Leon can be contacted on 0419851900. Also I want to make mention of the bus service that is now available to Nelson, it connects to the V-Line service on Fridays and Mondays. This is a major initiative for Nelson as it connects us to the national public transport grid, check out times on the V-Line website.

Hope to see you in Nelson soon and call in for a refreshment at our pub, we always have the fire going.

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