The first week of September saw increased flows make their way through Echuca and downstream to Torrumbarry and beyond.
With plenty of water coming in from the Ovens River, it didn’t take to long to re-fill Lake Mulwala and once it’s at the normal holding capacity, all excess water was sent through to the towns further downstream.
Areas like Barmah will have benefited, because parts of the river were almost at the stage where you could nearly walk across the Mighty Murray and extra care had to be taken to navigate the shallow, snaggy water.
The same could be said about the Edward River at Mathoura, with low water levels making it hard for anglers to find a hole deep enough to swim a lure or drown a few worms. Hopefully the Edward will get some of this much-needed water because, like most of our rivers and creeks, it could do with a freshen-up.
Stevens Weir at Deniliquin had received only minimal flows and has also long awaited a good top-up. A rise in the river is always good for fishing so let’s hope the new water and a rise in water temperature stir up the local golden perch.
Golden perch actively feeding on bait should be more common with increasing water temperatures drawing them out of their sluggish rut.
With things warming up, it shouldn’t be too long before we hear the sound of shrimp flicking in our nets. The yellowbelly can’t go past a couple of good-sized shrimp teamed with a few wriggly worms to seal the deal.
Yabbies around 5cm are another favourite for the perch, especially when bobbed slowly up and down while your boat is tied up to a snag.
If you are fishing from the bank we’ve found a paternoster rig to be effective. Having the sinker on the bottom and your yabby 30cm or so above it drifting about in the current entices the yellowbelly, which like a moving bait.
This rig also stops the yabby from crawling under rocks and logs and playing hide and seek with the fish, as it could on a more conventional rig.
As for lure casters, the Custom Crafted Hammerhead and Extractor range always take their share of yellas throughout the season, along with 60mm Oargee Plows and the size 3 StumpJumper. Green, yellow, purple, red and orange seem to be reliable colours.
Lipless crankbaits, such as those from Jackall, also stir up the golden perch. With a built-in rattle that you can hear coming from a mile, these noisy little lures work well in tandem with the other angler casting spinnerbaits at the same snag.
Colours that look natural and ones with contrasting bars have worked well in the local area.
Waranga Basin was recently holding at 33% capacity, making boat launching possible. Generally known for its redfin, it is also home to some healthy yellowbelly.
Locating them can be the problem as there isn’t much in the way of timber to cast to. Trolling or casting lures around rocky banks and points is a good idea. After seeing a photo last season of a 69cm yella that was caught on a trolled Viking lure, it’s definitely worth a look. If that doesn’t inspire you, goodness only knows what will!
Please remember that it is the closed season for Murray cod and if you do catch one, release it immediately. Downsize your lures to target the yellowbelly and let the breeding cod do their thing. There’s nothing worse than being interrupted when you’re trying to breed!
• For more information on what’s biting around Echuca and Moama, drop into J.T’s Fishing & Camping Moama (opposite the Border Inn Hotel) or phone Justin on 0354 803 868.Reads: 2003