The Echuca district recently received a tad over two inches of rain putting a smile on everyone’s faces.
This rain and a rise in the river saw the water turn cloudy through town but further downstream towards Torrumbarry the clarity was a lot better. Of the few fish that had been caught on bait, the ever-reliable scrub worm seemed to be the bait of choice in the dirty water.
The onset of cooler weather seems to have slowed the fish down with few reports to go by. Whether the fishing has been quiet or most fishos have packed the gear away for the season, this time of the year is generally prime time to mix it with a good solid fish.
Spending long, cold days on the river for one fish or even a good hit on a lure might not be everyone’s cup of tea but being patient and persistent usually pays off.
A few years ago I fished every weekend through winter until the close of the season for a total of three good strikes at a trolled hardbodied lure. After a slight case of pneumonia and a touch of madness I was determined to turn these whacks at lures into fish in the boat. With many more fishless days wearing me down I was eventually rewarded with a nice cod at 83cm.
Not a massive fish for all the days spent battling the elements but still it was a fish. So don't expect the fishing to be red hot through winter but if you keep getting out there and have a go you're persistence will pay off. As the old saying goes, "You can't catch fish sitting on the couch."
A good mate recently had a few days off work and fished from Barmah downstream to Flemmings Bend; which is almost to the Goulburn Junction. Using everything from trolling hardbodied lure to casting spinnerbaits and anything in between, not a single fish was caught.
The following week with another mate they managed close to 100 cod with around 20 of those being over 60cm and the rest undersize. It goes to show that fishing can be difficult when the fish are shut down and then how good it can get in a matter of days.
The waters from Farleys Road downstream from Echuca to the Torrumbarry Weir has produced cod from 51-70cm on trolled Oargees in AG colour (green with black bars and scale pattern) and spinnerbaits with a red/black and purple skirt worked around the thicker parts of the snags.
All of the fish that have been caught have been in excellent condition with plenty of weight on them. Steve from Echuca Toyota and his son had a successful day on the water while trolling a fluoro pink A C Invader downstream from Headworks Road. Steve and his crew landed three nice cod between 60-70cm for the afternoon. All fish were released.
The area around Wills Bend has produced plenty of cod but unfortunately all have been undersize. Trolling lures that will run at a depth of 3-4min in purple/black colours hard up against the steep banks has proven to be successful.
Another tactic that has worked on the last couple of outings is when you're trolling your lure through a deep hole and it's starting to run into shallower water is to work the lure into the face of the incline of the drop off (from 10m to 4m) or even shallower depending on the depth where you are fishing. As the lure is dragged up it's hitting into the mud/clay sending out puffs of mud which the fish see as a disturbance and on a closer look they see it as a disorientated fish which is a easy meal.
Lower water levels below the weir has made boating difficult with many snags and reefs sitting just below the surface giving the unwary a sudden wake up call. Gribbo from Echuca and his mad keen crew have had a good couple of weekends fishing this area catching 14 cod with six of those over 60cm. Casting Outlaw Spinnerbaits in the 1/2 oz weight with a purple skirt has been a very successful colour. The boys also managed their fair share of golden perch on a mixture of spinnerbaits and small Viking lures.
Anglers are still picking up reddies around the district but are struggling to catch bigger ones. Wayne Smith caught a boatload at Waranga Basin recently with the average size being 20cm using small yabbies and worms. In the Campaspe River between Rochester and Elmore; casting Bozo 75mm smelt soft plastic lures has been effective when worked around the weed beds.
With a couple of good frosts under our belt the reports on the crays have been fairly consistent, with most people getting enough keepers for a good feed. Others have reported pulling up crays the size of long neck beer bottles while some have upsized their catch as the better crays were caught as the night went on.
Most parts of the river are producing with the stretch of water between the East and Five Mile boat ramp resembling a ski slalom course with all the floats on the water for the nets. A few mates managed eight keepers for the night while they had the nets in at Farleys Road.
Using a mixture of ox liver and pieces of carp the nets with the carp being more productive. I’m not sure if it was because the carp has such a strong smell which will draw the crays from a distance or it's a good natural bait from the river that the crays are used to.
Don't forget to keep moving your nets around if one area is not working and keep up to date on the rules and regulations as this is the time when Fisheries are in full swing checking boats and campsites when you least expect it.
For more information on what's biting around Echuca and Moama, drop into J.T's Fishing & Camping Moama, opposite the Border Inn Hotel.Reads: 1143