In Depth Fishing Report 14/7

14 Jul 23

And just like that our rivers have turned to chocolate milk and everyone seems to be packing in the towel for a few weeks but don’t think that just because the rivers are high and dirty, they won’t produce good fishing. A lot of anglers recently have been braving the cold and have been rewarded with some brilliant fish.


Freshwater: the crater lakes are all go at the moment with both Bullen Merri and Purrumbete producing some excellent trout and salmon fishing. Michael and Adam Linke spent a couple of nights at the Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park fishing the two lakes where they caught heaps of Redfin to 2.5lb in Purrumbete along with some nice rainbows and chinook salmon. Over at Bullen Merri they had some fun on a couple of tiger trout and a few chinook salmon. Scott Gray has been fishing Bullen Merri on the fly rod in search of some shallow feeding trout. Using a minnow profile fly and his Tonic polarised sunglasses, Scott has been finding a lot of nice rainbows and tiger trout on the shallow edges that line the lakes edge. A good set of polarised sunglasses such as Tonic virtually pay for themselves once the trout move in close and the glare becomes too much without them. Not only do they allow you to see through the sun's glare on the water, but they will also allow you to spot fish sitting in amongst rocks in the shallows. In the rivers closer to town the trout have still been fishing well even though the water is very dirty as mentioned. Mark Gercovich landed a very solid 60cm trout recently on a Daiwa Presso minnow cast along the banks of the Merri River. These slender minnow pattern lures have been the pick of the bunch recently thanks to their Australian trout colour range that was introduced at the end of last year to compliment the natural colours they already had in the range. The upper Hopkins has been fishing well too and has seen some unexpected captures by some anglers putting the time in. One of these anglers was Lincoln Boekhout who was fishing for redfin when he hooked and landed a big Australian Bass. Now these fish pull like freight trains for their size and would pull any perch backwards so I’m sure Lincoln knew he had it on. What we typically see is when the warmer weather hits there is the odd one caught around Tooram Stones and the back of Allansford but to get one that big and that early in the year is a great effort. Maybe there is more in the Hopkins than we actually think and they can be targeted year round. 


Estuaries: the Hopkins and Curdies Rivers are dirty but there has been some good clean saltwater pushing into both which is stirring the fish up. A customer came into the shop and said he got some beautiful bream down near the danger board in the Hopkins on pod worms on the incoming tide. What you will find this time of year is that it doesn’t take much for these fish to switch on and off and they certainly are tide dependent. If you can find the distinct line of fresh and salt water and where they meet, then you’ll be right in the area to have a good session. In my experience the first and last 20-30m of where the water meets is definitely the hot spot. What you will find is, the bream especially will make their way down there to get the good water flowing through their gills and give them energy. I guarantee that a fish caught down the front will fight harder than one that is caught in the dirty water and that is due to the lack of oxygen in the dirty freshwater. So when you find the mother load of fish on your fish finder and wonder why they won’t eat, it’s probably due to the lack of oxygen which in turn makes the fish doey and not interested in eating that much. Some reports of a fresh run of Mulloway in the Glenelg River have surfaced but no confirmed captures yet. This time of year is always the most difficult to target them just due to the water quality and the weather too. If the water is very discoloured then fishing at night for them is less important and can be targeted during the day time with great results. Live mullet are a hard one to use this time of year as they don’t really last that long in dirty water. If you can find some good water with a thermocline then by all means drag a livie in it. 


Offshore: while the majority of offshore anglers are holding off until spring to get their boats out again, there are some who couldn’t wait- and got great results! James Porter and Harry Anders fished off Port Fairy in search of a few sharks off the bottom. The boys landed a couple of gummies and a school shark which definitely would’ve eaten well. We typically see a big run of these sharks come in close to breed so if you have ever wanted to target a gummy or school shark then now is the time to set up for them. If you don’t have a suitable boat or would like to learn off the experts then hit up Salty Dog Charters or Matthew Hunt Fishing services who will both put you onto these tasty specimens. Tuna reports have been slow which is mainly due to the weather and the lack of ability to get out lately. Plenty of school size tuna are still about off Portland but the bigger fish seem to have moved east around Apollo Bay and even further towards Phillip Island etc. Maybe that’s the end of the season for us down here but then again they can just turn back up at any time.


The weather this weekend is looking like hard work again which will impact the chance to get out there. Trout will again be on the hit list of those needing a fishing fix. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!