In Depth Fishing Report 23/6

23 Jun 23

With this cold snap that we are all enduring, the fishing opportunities are few and far between but that hasn’t stopped anglers getting out and about for the species that thrive in cold conditions.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River is firing in a big way with some brilliant bags of fish being caught recently. 9 teams from the recently cancelled Vic Bream Classics round headed out on Saturday. Not only were conditions fine to fish but the bream turned it on for the dedicated few. 8 of the 9 teams landed a kilogram fish with multiple 5 fish bags of bream weighing in over 4kg. Z-Man Slim Swimz and Daiwa Bait Junkie minnows were the 2 standouts over the day. Some of the teams reported they had caught over 60 legal fish in the day which just shows how good this place can fish when conditions and time of the year align. Luke Smith also headed out during the week casting Z-Man Slim Swimz in Bad Shad colour below the bridge. Luke landed 5 bream all around 40cm and a brilliant perch that measured 45cm. There was a big tide coming in under the freshwater which might have been the reason why they bit their heads off. Peter White and Barry Johnson also headed out mid-week in search of some big fish. The boys got a good bream early and then got stuck into the estuary perch which are thick as thieves since the dirty water came down the system. Corey fished the weekend before last and stumbled across a huge school of perch up at Rowan’s Lane. On every cast  soft plastics were getting hit and it didn’t matter if they were cast into the shallows or out deep the result was the same. Blades in black and other dark colours are working well too especially if you’re after sheer numbers of fish. It’s not uncommon when these fish school up like they are where you can catch a huge number in short succession. Short sharp lifts of lures such as the Hurricane Vibz37, Ecogear VX35 and Strikepro Cyber Vibe 35 will give you the best chance of hooking up to one of these fish. The Curdies River is open and some great clean water is making its way into the system which is helping out with the ongoing algae issue. What this will do for the river is anyone’s guess but we should see some reprieve from the algae issue for a little bit at least. Ollie Sharp has been getting some ripping bream wading the flats down at Peterborough on the incoming tide. Rolling soft plastics in with the tide has been the go to technique for these fired up fish.


Freshwater: the trout fishing has again been great lately with the Merri and Hopkins rivers running and getting discoloured which is a bonus for trout anglers. Not only does it mean that we have less chance of spooking the fish but it typically makes the trout more aggressive towards lures. Henry Lloyd found this out when he landed a beautiful looking trout from the lower Merri on a lure. The Woodford area has been getting a lot of attention which it does each year but the easy access is a plus for many anglers not wanting to trek for kilometres. If you want to make the effort and get away from the over fished areas you will probably find better fishing. Just remember your sturdy footwear to stop you from becoming unstuck from the slippery banks. A lot of people are still unaware that the Hopkins, Merri and Moyne rivers are all a year round fishery now and that there is no closed season unlike other rivers across Victoria. The reason for this is that these trout don’t actually spawn in our rivers therefore don’t need a closed season to allow them to breed. The boundaries used to be anywhere above the weir on the Merri, above the falls in the Hopkins and above the road bridge at Rosebrook. These were all out of bounds and unfishable during trout season but thanks to some lobbying from both anglers and scientists that rule was overturned and we are now able to walk upstream of all these landmarks and target trout anytime you like. Tim Vincent did just that and was rewarded with a big brown trout caught on a hard bodied lure cast in relatively skinny water. Our newest member of the Tackle Shack, Darcy Cutter also managed a cracking trout from the Moyne River this time. Casting his favourite Zipbait Rigge around his lure was engulfed by this particular fish.


In other fishing news the Glenelg Hopkins CMA along with other local organisations including Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare, Rotary Club of Warrnambool, Warrnambool and District Angling Club and Allansford and District Angling Club members helped plant over 800 native grasses and trees behind the old Deakin golf course. The hope is to be able to grow trees that will eventually give cover to fish and other animals along what was a fairly scarce area for habitat along the Hopkins River. Before the Glenelg Hopkins CMA started filling this part of the river with many snags it was simply a mud bank offering no protection for the many different species of fish that call this river home. Now they are proud to announce they have managed to put around 120 snags into the roughly 1.5km stretch of river. From the surveys already conducted these habitats seem to be working, with many large and small bodied species of fish found in greater abundances near the snags. The last survey found a lot of young bream using this as cover from predators. All in all it’s a great initiative that is funded by the Victorian Government and one that each angler should be grateful is happening in our little gold  mine of a river. If you get a chance go down and have a look at the great work that these organisations are doing in the Hopkins.


This weekend is another cold and wet one which just seems typical lately but we should expect it being winter in Warrnambool. That being said you will still be able to get out on the rivers so it’s not all bad. If you head out over the weekend and land something worth sharing then send it to via our socials. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.

This week's photo courtesy of Salty Dog Charters.