In Depth Fishing Report 21/7

19 Jul 23

With continued strong winds, big swells and rain over the weekend, anglers are struggling to find the motivation to make it out. 

The tuna are still running off Portland, with local charter operator Matt Hunt getting his customers onto some nice school fish- and lots of them! The fish are coming in quick over there with bags being caught quickly on the troll. Salty Dog Charters has also been doing well on the local tuna out of Port Fairy, and the sharks on the bottom off Portland. Salmon fishing on the beaches seems has been solid when offshore winds are present and swells drop. I'd be recommending Peterborough, Yambuk or Port Fairy East Beach- but anglers have also had success closer to Warrnambool at Levies or the Cutting. Incoming tides, fishing the deeper clear gutters, with a mild swell and 10-30km/h offshore winds make for great salmon conditions. Depending on the gear you've got to cast with, a 30-60g metal slug or a small stickbait is pretty hard to go past.

Estuary fishing has been fairly quiet in terms of reports this week, but there'd still a lot of bream and perch to be caught for those fishing deeper with blades and heavy, scented soft plastics in the muddy water. The Hopkins from the ski run down, and the Curdies from just above the lake to the mouth, would be the best areas to try.

Trout fishing continues to be hot this week- as you've heard for the past two months now! Again, the Merri, Lake Bullen Merri and Lake Purrumbete all continue to produce as usual. There's so many other trout fishing options to be discovered across the southwest though- so maybe try a new one for something different? Some of the choices include stocked lakes like Elingamite, Gillear, Aringa, Winslow, Koonongwootong, Hamilton, West Barwon, Colac, Bellfield, Greenhill, Fyans and Wurdibuloc. Smaller Family Fishing Lakes are often located in towns and can provide great rainbow trout fishing. These small lakes are found in Warrnambool (Pertobe), Cobden, Simpson, Casterton, Dunkeld, Skipton, with plenty more afield. They're also great for getting the kids outside and into some winter fishing action. Try worms or Powerbait fished under a float. Oh, and that's not even mentioning all the trout-holding rivers and creeks- from the larger lowland waters like the Hopkins, Merri, Curdies, Moyne and Mount Emu to small mountain creeks in the Otways, Grampians and central highlands. So the list is definitely a lot more extensive than the three you hear 80% of the reports from!

This week has seen a lot of talk in local fishing circles surrounding the proposed wind farms and seismic blasting for gasfield testing along our local coastlines. Whether you agree or disagree with these activities is up to you, but it's important to understand how it will affect the local marine wildlife (including fish), the oceans and the access to your fishing spots. Seismic blasting is being proposed to test for gas fields within the Otway basin- however has led to detrimental impacts along Victoria's coastline in other locations where blasting has previously bee conducted. Reports from further east near Lakes Entrance are that fish and crustacean populations still haven't recovered from past surveys. It's been found to have reduced whiting catch rates by 99.5% in past studies. The blasting causes an incredibly loud underwater sound which causes damage to the hearing of many kinds of wildlife- affecting movement, feeding and breeding habits. If this blasting goes ahead, the short (and long) term future for our local marine life is very uncertain. The latest discussion topic is the proposed offshore wind farms. Renewable energy definitely needs to be adopted at a fast rate however many local anglers are concerned at the prospect of these extensive wind farms potentially covering the coast between Port Macdonnell to Cape Otway. This won't be happening- the maps being shared around are simply first stage initial planning zones before the environmental and human uses of the zones are accounted for. The Government's own plans mention the importance of the zone to recreational and commercial fishers, the environment and commercial shipping, and we won't be losing the whole area to fishing like some are saying. Have a read through the below articles to get the facts on these proposals.

ABC Article
ABC Article 2
ABC Article 3
Marine Conservation
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Australian Government Southern Ocean Proposal