Bendigo Below Par
  |  First Published: July 2009

The tough fishing has continued in the Bendigo region in the past month. The number of anglers trying their luck has been low due to the weather and below average fishing results. There has been a few good captures by those most dedicated and experienced anglers who have continued to put the required time in.

The weather has continued to tease us. Central Victoria at this stage has received some useful rainfall. The rainfall however has not been significant enough to produce any runoff at this stage. The amount of rainfall that we receive in the next couple of months will be critical in determining how productive the following season’s fishing will be.

Lake Eppalock

Water levels in the lake are still stable with the lake currently at 6% capacity. There is a huge amount of regrowth around the lake edges. This will provide a smorgasbord of food sources for the lakes aquatic life if we do get some heavy rainfall and water levels rise over this vegetation. Unfortunately since the year 2000 this has failed to occur and the fishing has suffered.

On a recent trip to Melbourne I checked out the state of the catchment south of Lake Eppalock. Unfortunately what I saw was not good. The vegetation in the Kyneton and Malmsbury areas had just started to grow. There was no water lying in the paddocks that you would often see at this time of the year. The majority of farm dams were very low or dry. The majority of the holes in the creeks are low and no water was flowing in them at this stage. All these factors means that we need to receive significant rainfall in this area before Lake Eppalock will again start to see good inflows.

Redfin have been making up the majority of captures in the lake. The catch rates have been low however the occasional angler has located a good school of redfin producing better results.

Both bait and lure fishing has produced results on the redfin. The most productive baits have been worms and small yabbies. The most productive tactics with the lure fishing has been trolling small to medium sized hard bodies in depths over 4m of water. If a good school of redfin is located then it can be a good tactic to jig Ice Jigs or soft plastics.

The fishing for the golden perch has been very slow. One local angler from Bendigo did have a successful trip to Lake Eppalock. Mark had done several trips to the lake with no success. On his most recent trip to the lake he was bait fishing with worms off the bank and managed to land several golden perch and a couple of redfin. He was in the right spot on the right day. This was an exceptional report for the majority of anglers chasing the golden perch, as all they have produced is blanks. The golden perch fishing should continue to be slow going until water temperatures start to rise again in September.

Campaspe River

Water clarity is still good in the Campaspe River. It is a great time of the year to target the river’s redfin population. For those anglers prepared to do so, the reward can be some quality redfin. Fishing in the holes directly below the wall at Lake Eppalock is a good location and normally produces some good redfin in this area at this time of the year.

Other good areas to try are the deeper sections of the river at Elmore and Rochester. Often when fishing these areas at this time of the year there is very little in the way of angling pressure and often you will have the whole river to yourself. At this stage the numbers of golden perch and Murray cod being caught are very low.

Cairn Curran

The sad story of Cairn Curran continues. Water levels remain very low; the lake is currently below 2% capacity. Water clarity is poor and the fishing continues to be disappointing. There have been a couple of isolated reports of anglers catching small numbers of redfin on bait. The best baits have been gudgeon and worms. Hopefully the area will receive some significant rainfall and the lake’s water levels will again start to rise. Until then the fishing will more than likely remain tough.

Loddon River

Water clarity remains good through out the majority of the Loddon River. The fishing in the shallower sections of the Loddon in areas like Newbridge has been very slow. The productivity in the shallower areas will not start to improve until late August early September when water temperatures start to rise. The best results have been by those anglers fishing the deepest section of the Loddon River. The majority of captures have been of redfin with only the occasional native being caught. Jason Andriske and Colin ‘Snowy’ Elliot recently fished the Loddon River at Bridgewater. They managed to land 11 redfin for the day. All of the redfin were caught trolling. The most productive lures were Custom Crafted Hammerheads and Fishstik and Feral Catts.The most productive colour schemes were purple and red.

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