In Depth Fishing Report 18/5

18 May 23
A weekend of calm seas and light winds greeted anglers waiting for this weather window which allowed them to head offshore. Even some game ones headed out on Mother’s Day. Unfortunately it didn’t last too long and we were back to our usual weather this time of year. 
Saltwater: The offshore fishing has been very good lately for those wanting to do the miles to get the smiles. This time of year is exceptional fishing in deep water for loads of different species. Jeremy Porter headed out wide in search of some school and gummy sharks along with the chance of a Tasmanian Trumpeter. He wasn’t disappointed after making the 100km+ round trip and scoring some school shark and a solid tassie trumpeter. These fish offer both tremendous eating and fighting qualities, and are a very welcome addition to any offshore angler’s bag. These fish normally start increasing in number once you head out past the 100m mark, and can be caught either on bait or jigs. A crew of 7 aboard Salty Dog Charters had a ripper day fishing out of Port Fairy, with a ripper bag brought back consisting of gummy, school and mako sharks, snapper, knife jaw, morwong and nannygai; that’s a pretty good day out! Tuna and dolphinfish are still being caught off Portland.  Interestingly, a local angler came across a beached slender tuna this week whilst fishing Killarney.  Quite a rare fish locally, most anglers aren’t aware of this species and can easily be confused for a very skinny southern bluefin tuna. Perhaps this one came down the Leeuwin current with the dolphinfish? Salmon on the beaches have been quiet still, fingers crossed for a good season!
Estuaries: The fishing hasn’t been red hot this week but there’s still enough bream and perch on the go to keep anglers interested. The team from Austral Research conducted some electrofishing surveys in the Merri and Hopkins Rivers this week. Plenty of nice fish (bream, perch, mullet) were found in the Hopkins with bream to 44cm coming in. The biggest surprise came with eight nice estuary perch in the lower Merri River near the old mill, with perch to 44cm being caught. Most of these fish came in close proximity to the artificial fish hotels; a great sign that these structures are doing their intended purpose of providing habitat in a depleted river. The Glenelg Hopkins CMA has done a great job placing these structures in the Hopkins and Merri Rivers (as well as the CCMA in the Curdies), so it’s refreshing to see the fish clearly utilising this habitat. A few nice mulloway are still coming from the Glenelg River further west- just rug up well if you’re spending a night on the river!
Freshwater: Some great trout and redfin have been caught in the local lakes and rivers this week. Brent Saulitis has been enjoying some good fishing out of his tinny in the Merri, landing some really nice brown trout and a few redfin. The local lakes Gillear and Aringa have also been producing redfin and a few rainbow trout. Tim Vincent scored a couple of monster redfin this week at 47 and 49cm, both over 2kg. Casting and trolling hardbodies seems to be the best way of catching a few reddies at the moment. Skeeta Andrews landed his PB brown trout from the lower Merri; an area which will only fish better as we move into winter. Adam Fraser headed out to Lake Purrumbete over the weekend and caught himself a 7lb brown trout- a well deserved fish!
This weekend sees the Koroit Angling Club hold the highly anticipated Carp Competition here in Warrnambool. The event kicks off at 4pm tomorrow at the Warrnambool Angling Club’s building, finishing at 12pm Sunday. $8000 of prizes will be up for grabs, with the biggest carp receiving a $1000 cash prize! Fish caught in the Hopkins River and Mount Emu Creek are eligible, as the comp is an effort to remove these fish from our rivers. After coming downstream with the floods last year (presumably from the Ballarat area), these invasive fish now present a real threat to our rivers and the fish that inhabit them. Once they’re established they can’t really be eradicated, and will degrade the physical and ecological aspects of the rivers they inhabit. And we definitely don’t want that!
Good luck with the fishing this weekend. Weather isn’t ideal but we will still see plenty of anglers taking advantage of the freshwater fishing.