So far this year, we have had a typical start to spring, days of magnificent weather followed by wild and woolly winter blasts direct from Antarctica with snow down to low levels. It has made fishing rather patchy to say the least.
The rivers have been rising and falling with monotonous regularity and the water quality has been generally discoloured, making sight fishing a non-event. It also means that bait fishing has been the better option. A good bunch of worms has been hard to beat as far as tempting a yellowbelly to take a bite.
Fishing in the dams has been more productive than the rivers and good-sized trout have been taken around the wall at Eildon, mainly by anglers using bright pink Tassie Devil-style lures behind a Ford Fender. Similar results are being had at Dartmouth with trout up to a couple of kilograms being caught using the same method.
Reports of yellowbelly being caught in the Goulburn and Murray have been slim, although a Tatura duo managed a couple of out-of-season cod around the Murchison area. They, however, had a fruitless couple of hours on the Waranga Basin the same day.
Yellowbelly and some cod are being caught at Eildon. Anglers casting lures toward the rocky ledges are getting good results and the Delatite Arm and Fraser Park areas were mentioned as being worth a try. Large cod lures fished deep near the wall were also accounting for cod. Remember it is still legal to take cod from Eildon, although the usual bag and size limit still applies.
Speaking of closed seasons, it is a closed season for crayfish now and I did hear of a couple of poachers being caught by fisheries inspector with over 20 crayfish — both female and undersized fish — in their possession. I hope they get the book thrown at them.
Down south, salt water fishing has been worthwhile and good hauls of gummy shark are being caught off Point Lonsdale, according to Rod Lawn, from Adamas Fishing Charterers at Queenscliff.
He said they were fishing fresh fish fillets in about 40meters of water for the best results.
Rod said he and Peter Smallwood were getting bags of calamari around the heads, off the Cottage and also up the bay at StLeonards.
He said whiting had slowed down, although they caught an occasional King George fishing the sandy bottom between the patches of grass.
They said they were also catching an occasional snapper, but the main run of big fish was still a month or more away. As my Dad used to say, it was usually Melbourne Cup day before the big red fish came on the bite.
Western Port Bay is also worth a try and salmon are biting on the turn of the tide around Phillip Island along the surf beach side, and gunny shark were in the shipping lanes. The best bait was fresh fillets of fish as well as squid.
North of the border at Eden, John Liddell said things were about the same with snapper, morwong and flathead along the inshore reefs and some tuna and kingfish off the shelf.
John said the best fishing was still around the Green Cape area, where some big flathead have been caught in deep water and snapper have been biting on the inshore reefs.
He said some schools of kingfish have also been located around the washout water and they have provided anglers with extreme fun.
Further north at Narooma, Graham Cowley said it was a similar story with the game fish such as tuna and kingfish mainly to the north of Montague Island along the shelf and snapper and flathead being caught by anglers bottom bouncing the reefs inshore.
Graham said when it was to rough to go offshore, fishing inside the lake provided anglers with the hance to catch flathead and bream using lures and soft plastics.