Cold puts freeze on bites

May 18, 2018

Lake Dartmouth is coming to life for trout anglers.

I did not need any persuasion to become a couch potato last weekend, but — wouldn’t you know it — my football team won for the first time this season and the game was not televised. It was a bit of a hollow victory but at least I managed to keep warm and dry.

Suffering the guilts from staying indoors, I fished the Goulburn every day last week for no result, not even a bite to keep me interested.

The river is still well above its normal level for this time of the year and the water temperature is colder than it should be. I am blaming this for the absence of any fishy activity.

Around the traps

Eildon is going gang busters, with redfin, cod, trout and yellowbelly being caught by anglers prepared to put in the time.

The redfin are still among the tree lines but are tending to be a little deeper, about 6-7m.

Trout are starting to come to the surface during the day, and trolling a Fender trailing a bunch of worms, a lure or mudeye is the preferred method for most anglers.

The river arms are all fishing well, and large deep-diving lures are working well for cod in front of the wall, while small yabbies fished around structure such as rocky ledges and trees are attracting the interest of yellowbelly.

Lake Dartmouth is coming to life for trout anglers.

Flat-lining Tassie Devils or minnow-patterned hard-body lures is getting results, and the tried and true Fenders with a bait trailing behind are attracting the interest of hungry brown and rainbow trout.

The word from Lake Mulwala is that the water level is continuing to be slowly lowered, allowing the fish to move to the deeper holes and the old river course.

Reports of 100cm-plus cod being angled have been reaching me.

Meanwhile, other areas of the Murray River have also been worth a try.

Net ban

Fisheries Victoria has announced a total ban on the use of opera-house nets on all inland waterways from July 1 next year.

They had been previously been permitted for use in private dams, but legislation has now been introduced creating a total ban on the use of these nets everywhere.


I had a chat with Rod Lawn from Adamas Fishing Charters at Queenscliff this week, just before he started on the long drive to Portland towing his boat in readiness for the start of the tuna season.

He said he was receiving plenty of bookings, so anyone looking for a date will have to book in now.

Rod said snapper were still being caught offshore around the heads, and last weekend he bagged out while fishing off the mouth of the Barwon River and Point Lonsdale.

He said all fish were of pinky size, and there had also been good bags of flathead and salmon and an occasional gummy shark.

Rod said whiting were hard work inside the heads and anglers were getting best results on dusk around the mouth of Swan Bay.

Western Port has been another popular destination for anglers chasing a feed of snapper, and once again there have been few big fish but plenty of pinky size.

Anglers fishing the rubble beds off Hastings and the steel works were getting reasonable results.

Up north

North of the border John Liddell at Eden said Freedom Charters’ skipper Mark was still getting bags of snapper and other table fish along the inshore reefs, and flathead were also being caught along the sandy bottom, mainly in the deeper water off Green Cape.

John said trolling for kingfish off the shelf was getting some results and once a school of fish had been located knife jigs and live baits were also getting results.

He expected it would be a few weeks yet before anglers would see any bluefin tuna moving into the area.

At Narooma, Graham Cowley said it was a similar story for anglers fishing around his neck of the woods.

He said when the boats were able to get outside into open water they were bagging good hauls of reef fish and flathead in front of Montague Island, and trolling skirted lures was working well for kingfish, mainly north of the island towards the edge of the shelf.

Graham said when it was too rough to cross the bar, fishing inside the lake was always an option.

He said gearing down to lightweight equipment was always fun when fishing for bream and some of the jumbo flathead that inhabited the lake, especially around the oyster leases.

For all those interested, it is now five weeks and counting until my planned trip to Portland and tuna fishing off the coast.

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