In Depth Fishing Report 24-5

24 May 24

Anglers beanies and jackets have been brought out of the cupboards this week thanks to a cold blast that has changed up the fishing. Some species have really reacted well to the colder conditions.

Freshwater: the local trout population are certainly responding well to the little bit of rain that we have had lately. The rivers around Warrnambool are still fairly clean and this latest bit of rain should help get it a bit more coloured which in turn will make the trout bite harder. Young gun Ollie Sharp has been getting some absolute thumpers lately both in his kayak and on foot. The best fish being a solid brown trout that was over 60cm and caught from his kayak in the Merri River. In condition this fish would have been close to 8lb I reckon but with the lack of flow in the rivers lately it was fair bit lighter than that but still a big fish nevertheless. When the water is fairly clear you can get away with more natural coloured lures that match the bait that they are feeding on. Usually, that is gudgeon, galaxias and other minnows that the local rivers are full of, as well as shrimp. When the rivers like this and there isn’t much flow, soft plastics work really well too and can be a great option. The Fish Arrow Flash J Shad, Daiwa Bait Junkie minnows, Z-Man Slim Swimz and the Powerbait T-Tail minnows are all well-known trout catchers. One brand that certainly doesn’t get the recognition it probably deserves is the Keitech range. Known mostly for their bass catching capabilities in Queensland and New South Wales, the Keitech range certainly catch a lot of trout also especially in our area. The Swing Impacts and the Easy Shiners are the two more popular shapes. The Easy Shiners are a paddle tail minnow profile that have some great natural colours that suit our baitfish colours. They come in 3 sizes with 2”, 3” and 4” making up the local line up. The Swing Impacts are a ribbed body plastic with a small paddle tails which pumps back and forward with each wind of the reel. Also available in a couple of sizes they are a fish catching weapon. Over at Lake Purrumbete and Bullen Merri the fishing has heated up. The redfin have been fishing much better this week after a quiet few. Anglers fishing soft plastics and live minnow worked through the schools have been finding best results. The boat ramp is very dangerous due to the low water levels according to Camperdown legend Russell Pickett so care is needed when launching and retrieving your boats. Over at Lake Bullen Merri there has been some quality tiger trout being caught on hard bodies on the edges. Lewis Holland landed a cracking tiger while he waited for his minnow nets to fill. It’s amazing how many big fish have been caught around the boat ramp area over the years. You can walk all around the lake and come back and strike a fish a few meters from your starting spot. Is it the fact that there is so much feed there or is it something else? Either way it makes for an interesting debate as to why there is always good fish here. Casting a shallow running hard body along the immediate edges is always a very well worth way to target them. Smith Panish’s, Zipbait Rigge’s and Daiwa Presso minnows are all well known trout and salmon slayers. The Rockland’s Reservoir is fast becoming a fish mecca with Murray cod, redfin, yellowbelly, trout and some huge Australian bass being caught out it on a regular basis. I saw a picture on Facebook this week of a bass that went 3.3kg and 60cm long which is enormous! Not only do these fish grow to great sizes but they also pull like freight trains. Best baits to target the bass seem to be yabbies and shrimp. Lures are also a great option to target them especially if they are in the snags and you can get something that is in their face all the time without getting snagged up. Spinnerbaits, weedless rigged soft plastics and Jackall TN60s are all worth a fish in Rocklands.


Estuaries: the local estuaries are again very tough fishing and the fact the majority of fish are schooled in the middle of the rivers definitely doesn’t help the cause. There has been a couple of bigger fish caught lately by anglers in the Hopkins still persisting with live crabs. One of these fish was a 1.5kg beast and would have been a surprise for sure. It’s this time of year that you will often get some of the biggest fish in the systems and they are typically fat as pigs! What happens is the fish feed up heavily in preparation for spawning and often take whatever is put in front of them during this period. Once the fish move to the deep and start their spawn then soft baits such as shrimp, cut mullet and the like are all a great option for these fussy fish. If you’re after a feed of fish then taking a couple during this time is no worries but I would suggest not taking your bag as these are the breeding fish. In one single bream there could be thousands of eggs and the flow on effect of these breeders being taken out year on year out is not going to do any good for the system. This goes for all the local rivers so if you land a fish and notice the obvious signs of spawn please consider releasing them for the better of the rivers. The local estuary perch are loving this weather but you’ll have to fish a bit deeper for them lately. Metal blades are a staple for all anglers using lures this time of year and there aren’t too many more dynamite ones than the old faithful black with orange spots. Now there is a swag of brands out there that have this same colour pattern and honestly they will all work when the fish are schooled up but there are certainly a few standouts. The Hurricane Vibz 37 and Ecogear VX/ZX range have all been around for a few years now and have caught well and truly their fair share of bream and perch through winter. A short hop off the bottom will give the lure a quick vibration and allow it to rest back on the bottom. On your lift you will most likely feel the fish on it as soon as you begin the lift. 


Offshore: the saltwater has been a bit slow of late but after that bit of wind we had recently the big tuna have fired back up at Portland with a few solid fish hitting the scales recently. There has been some pretty crazy bait balls offshore and with this has seen lots of dolphins and seals also having a feed on them. A few customers that have been chasing them lately are saying that the work ups have been great but there aren’t many tuna on them. Trolling skirts has been the pick of techniques like usual but it’s been how you set your spread and what type of lures you have in your spread which has been making the most difference. With more swell than recent times the heavier lures such as the Bonze DLB and Weapons will definitely begin catching more fish due to the sheer weight of them and the ability to track in big swell. The other lure that work extremely well when there is bigger swell around is a Nomad DTX diver. These things dive to 30+ft and accounted for stacks of big fish last year thanks to the fact they just hold in the water up to 12 knots. I know we don’t troll for tuna at this speed but when you’re coming down the face of a wave it can soon be close to that so having a lure that you don’t have to constantly bring back in and reset is very important. They are available in a wide range of brilliant colours and better yet they are all rigged with BKK single hooks so you know that when the fish gets hooked it stays hooked.


The Koroit and District Angling Club held its annual carp fishing classic over the last weekend. 94 entrants headed out in search of these invasive species in both the Hopkins River and Emu Creek. A total of 52 carp were taken out of these systems with the biggest being caught by Rick Hilliam who caught a 7.116kg beast up in the Emu Creek. This fish earned him $1000 and bragging rights amongst all his mates as the “carp slayer” for the next 12 months. Please remember if you catch one of the many carp in our waterways then dispose of it up on the bank or put it in a bin close by. These fish can breed insane numbers each year and also are very destructive to the habitat for other species including trout and native fish. Well done to Phil and the committee on doing a great thing for the waterways.


This weekend looks to have some nice calm weather that will be fishable so we should see some great reports coming through. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.