Hit and Miss Spring
  |  First Published: October 2009

The fishing conditions in the Echuca district have been like a yo-yo.

Everything, from river levels, to water temperature, to the needle on the barometer, has been up and down in recent weeks.

The last weekend of the school holidays saw the river come up a good 250mm over two days.
ombined with a few decent downpours in previous weeks, this turned the water to a coffee colour.

Areas like Deniliquin received up to 56mm in one hit, while only 11mm was recorded in rain gauges only 5km away. It was a little too late for some farmers but most welcomed it with open arms.

The Edward  River has also had increased inflows, giving it a much needed freshen-up after running at a reduced level for some time. Bait fishing has been the choice in the dirty water with very few reports of fish taking lures in the Edward and Murray rivers.

The scrub worm has been the most consistent bait, taking all species of fish, with small yabbies working well on the golden perch.

One report that’s well worth a mention came from a couple of school kids up on holidays from Melbourne. Armed with their fishing rods and a tub of scrubbies, they made their way out to the banks of Torrumbarry for a barbecue lunch and a few hours’ fishing.

With a couple of small bites to keep them interested, they were surprised to see one of their rods making its way down the bank, heading for a watery grave. After a quick sprint and a brief tug-of-war, they couldn’t believe their luck when a cod estimated at nearly 24kg made its way to the bank.

After a few photos and plenty of high fives, the fish was released. The boys told me even if the cod season was open they would have still let it go, so I think they deserve a pat on the back for letting a fish of that size live another day.

hrimp are now being caught in better numbers than they were a few weeks back and this is usually when the yellowbelly become more active with the warming water.

The best method for catching shrimp would be to place a few good handfuls of fresh gumleaves in your shrimp trap with either dry dog food or unscented soap, such as Velvet soap, as the bait.

Then it’s just a matter of dropping your net in the water where there is a bit of cover such as around reeds or weeded areas. It’s best left in overnight, or even a few hours, to get enough shrimp to get you started.

Most anglers will leave the shrimp in the net in the water and just pick them out as they need them, but if they are to be used out in the boat, a livewell or small esky with an aerator will help prolong their lives.
hey seem to struggle when just left in a bucket of water. Another cheaper alternative is to drill plenty of small holes in an old plastic cordial bottle, then place the shrimp for the day’s fishing in the bottle with the cap on attached to a short length of cord.
ower it over the side of your boat so it fills with water and just tie it off to the boat.

This way they will last all day and it’s just a matter of lifting the bottle so the water drains and picking out the shrimp you need. Just remember when moving off to the next snag to put the bottle in a bucket of water, otherwise the poor little fellows will be in for one hell of a ride!

Wakool, Campaspe

These two smaller rivers have been fishing consistently well for the lure casters over recent weeks. Being smaller watercourses, it doesn’t take as long for the temperature to rise and the fish to fire up.

A few of the local boys have had several trips to the Wakool and have fared pretty well, catching yellowbelly up to 46cm while casting spinnerbaits with orange/brown skirts.

Small Custom Crafted Hammerheads in the natural colour on a slow retrieve with plenty of pauses have also taken their share of yellowbelly.

The Wakool was recently receiving a slow trickle rise which is expected to last several weeks.

The Campaspe has also fished well with reports of golden perch caught by anglers walking the banks around the Rochester area casting small hardbodies and lipless crankbaits. The best method has been to run the lure down beside fallen logs and then hang on.

Further upstream, at Elmore, anglers have been taking advantage of the new concrete boat ramp at Aysons Reserve.
oft plastics flicked on light gear around the weed beds have accounted for some good-sized redfin.

With daylight saving now under way, there’s no better time to duck out after work for a couple of hours of fishing. If you’re walking the banks, keep your eyes open for the odd snake; s there have already been several sightings around the Echuca area.

• 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.

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