Lake in danger of closing
  |  First Published: September 2009

With no rain and one of the worst Winters for fishing in years, the area is in dire need of some rain. The lake is still open to the ocean but it looks like it could close at any time.

The Betka River and surrounding estuaries are closed to the ocean. The water levels have risen by up to 30cm, which is handy because evaporation over the hot Summer days can drop the water level by 30cm in a week.

The reality is that the South Coast of NSW and Gippsland are crying out for proper rain. The land, the estuaries and the fish will all benefit.

What really needs to be remembered is that all these estuaries that have been closed for some time are not getting any recruitment from travelling fish like whiting, jewfish and yellowfin bream.

Therefore, every fish taken out is one less fish in the system. And breeding conditions while the estuary is closed are often not suitable because tidal flow is crucial for the successful breeding of many species.

There has been little to report on the offshore scene with only a few boats heading out. Gummy and school sharks are being caught along with a few flathead. The water is still too cold for any numbers of flathead.

Whales are a common sight at the moment as they are migrating; often they are right in close, just behind the breakers.

For consistent action the beach fishing has been the best option, with all the beaches fishing well for salmon.

Fish to 3kg have been caught with some good-sized tailor also taking metal lures aimed at the salmon.

Certain gutters have fished best on the high tides while low tide will see the action move up or down the beach. Salmon are great sportfish that fight well and love to eat lures so in the quiet time they have been saviours, in some ways.

Flathead in the lake have started to fire up with fish in the shallows taking soft plastics and hardbodies.

The flatties are spread throughout the system with fish caught anywhere from the Bottom Lake through to above Gypsy Point.

Some good-sized trevally are also being caught and similarly are also turning up anywhere from the entrance to well upstream.

This spread of fish is a result of no rain and increased salinity throughout the system.

Bream are in the rivers in numbers but catching them has been nearly impossible. Smaller fish to 32cm are often caught, but the bigger fish have proved elusive.

The margins of the Top Lake and Bottom Lake have been the laces to try for the bigger fish.

Plenty of good-sized bream are in the Betka River, with some nice fish caught on prawn baits.

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