Winter chill bites anglers

May 04, 2018

It's cooling down, so native fish such as Murray cod are slowing down, making them harder to locate.

You do not have to be a Rhodes Scholar to know we are getting closer to winter, chilly mornings and afternoons that cool down as soon as the sun passes the yardarm.

This means the fish start to change feeding habits.

Redfin and trout, which come from cold European climates, remain active, while native fish such as cod and yellowbelly tend to slow down and are harder to find.

Cod can survive on just one big meal a week but because they are so territorial, they will still react to anything that invades their space; yellowbelly, however, just sit and sulk under their chosen snag and will react only when they feel the need for a feed.

This explains why anglers fishing at Eildon and Waranga Basin and to a lesser degree Lake Eppalock are getting good hauls of redfin with plenty of quality fish among them.

I was shown a plate piled high with redfin fillets this week and all were taken in just one session at Eildon.

The were caught mainly on bait such as yabbies and worms dropped down alongside the treeline at Bonnie Doon.

This also explains why I have spent a mostly fruitless week fishing the Goulburn. There were only a couple of half-hearted inquiries and just one decent bite that I missed due to over-eagerness, but the coffee brought down to me by a friend was great.

Reports from Eildon and Dartmouth have been good with the early mornings the best time for trout.

Trolling Ford Fenders with a bunch of worms or mudeye behind them or flat-lining a minnow-style lure is also getting good results.

Down south

The news from Lake Mulwala is that the water level is being lowered in the lake and soon the old river course will be ready for fishing.

Down south at Queenscliff, Adamas Fishing Charters’ Rod Lawn said the snapper were still going gangbusters off the coast at Barwon Heads, the mouth of the Barwon River and towards Anglesea.

He said huge schools of salmon were also in the area as well as flathead and couta.

Rod said inside the bay, calamari squid were being caught among the grass beds off Portsea and in front of the cottage.

There were a few reports of whiting being caught, with most anglers chasing them on dusk near the mouth of Swan Bay.

Rod has started taking bookings for the tuna season at Portland and said spots were filling fast.

He said reports indicated a slow start to the season with tuna still a long way off the coast, but he said they should come closer to shore towards the middle of the month.

Up north

Western Port is fishing well and snapper and gummy shark are being caught along the edges of the shipping lanes around Hastings while whiting are biting in the grass beds, mainly on dusk.

North of the border at Eden, John Liddell had a visit from one of his old waterskiing buddies, Barry McDermott and his wife Linda.

They spent some time dangling a line in the water but did not say if they had caught anything.

Freedom Charters’ Mark was still getting good hauls of snapper and other reef fish.

He said the best results were near Boyd’s Lookout and the lighthouse at Green Cape.

Further north at Narooma, Graham Cowley said his son Nicholas, a charter boat skipper, was starting to see yellowfin tuna moving into the area off the shelf as well as kingfish.

He said flathead and snapper were also being caught on the inshore reefs around Montague Island.

Graham said when it was too rough to go offshore, there was always plenty of action inside, with flathead and bream among the oyster leases and around the jetties, with lures, soft plastics and bait all worth a try.

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