In Depth Fishing Report 28/4

28 Apr 23

The past week saw a huge variety of fishing reports coming in both from saltwater, freshwater and estuaries so let's dive in and see what was happening.

Saltwater: the tuna craze has well and truly moved to South Australia as the quiet town of Port MacDonnell has been overrun by anglers chancing their luck at a barrel tuna. Some insane captures have been had recently on both live baits and lures trolled and cast. Kobi Rothall pinned a solid fish on a big popper over the weekend in amongst an insane work up. No gimbal or harness and spin gear doesn’t sound like my kind of fun but there’s a few special anglers out there that love it. Clinton Sicely landed the biggest fish of the season so far weighing in at 152kg while over at Port Mac with his brother Jordan. This fish took what is now becoming the most popular trolling hard body for barrel tuna this season; the Nomad DTX200 in redbait colour. Not only do these lures swim straight due to their auto-tune bib, they swim to an incredible 40ft! When the barrels go down these lures get them up on the deck. Live baits such as yakkas and redbait are certainly the pick of ways to target them recently and is causing mayhem. When the bait is congregated so close together, it means that the boats chasing these fish are too. If you find yourself in a situation just like this then you need to make sure that there is someone on the wheel at all times to react to any changes that might take place. It only takes one swell to come in and push your boat into someone else’s and you are in a world of hurt so make sure that someone is always on the look out for any dangers that could come of this. School shark have made a welcome return for those fishing on the bottom for a feed. Ashley and Jacob Dance headed offshore along with Sam Powell in search of some deeper water species. The boys landed some nice tassie trump, latchet, terahki, nannygai and school shark. Jacob tagged some nice school sharks too which will be used for research on how long this fish was at liberty and how far it has travelled when next caught. The Warrnambool Offshore and Light Game Club have been doing great work as citizen scientists with their tagging programs. Some insightful data has already been collected through the recaptures that have been caught since the program began.

Freshwater: Justin Nowell and Luke Smith ventured up to Rocklands Reservoir in search of a Murray Cod or two and they weren’t disappointed. Casting surface lures in the morning and spinnerbaits in the middle of the day, they landed a total of 3 fish for the weekend. Justin scored fish of the weekend with a solid fish taking a liking to a surface lure cast amongst the many thousands of trees that are dotted in the lake. Although these fish are still relatively young and have a lot of growing to go, the signs are great for this place to turn into the cod capital of Victoria. Not only are there cod in this system but there are some great yellowbelly, redfin and trout also to be caught which means there is endless opportunities to explore. When the water temp starts to drop that’s when the yellowbelly and redfin begin to school up in the deeper sections especially down near the dam wall. If you’re planning on fishing down that way remember that boating inside the markers at the dam wall is prohibited inside the last set. A 5 knot speed limit is enforced past the first set but strictly no fishing inside the last set of markers. Closer to home the local rivers and lakes have also been fishing very well this past week for trout and salmon. Lake Bullen Merri has seen some excellent tiger trout and chinook salmon this past week or so and shows no sign of letting up. Jessica Lane scored a solid tiger trout first cast on hers and boyfriends recent trip. She then backed it up with a big chinook salmon soon afterwards along the same bank on the same lure. Estimated at 6lb it was a beautiful looking fish and one that would’ve put up a real tussle from the bank. A few customers have reported that the blue green algae seems to have cleared up for the time being. Local angler Russell Pickett from the Lake Purrumbete Angling Club mentions that the salmon were coming into the shallows to die due to the lack of clean water. After the last fish kill which seen lots of rainbow trout killed here’s hoping that it’s only a few. The Merri River has been producing plenty of trout both above the weir and below it. Colby Lesko and his brother Jackson landed 7 trout in a very productive session which included the biggest of the day a buck estimated at 6lb that was caught right at the boat ramp on the way back in. Using hard bodies this time of year due to the amount of bait in the system is the way to go. The water has been fluctuating due to the rain falls and clear patches of weather we have been having so having a variety of lure colours is a must to be successful.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River has seen some dirty water come down the system thanks to a decent flush in the last week. This dirty water has moved down the system relatively quickly and shouldn’t be an issue for too much longer thanks to some good high and low tides. The upper reaches of the river have been fishing quite well for numbers of bream but has also seen some great fish caught in amongst the smaller schooling fish. Hard bodies such as Daiwa Spikes, Double Clutches and even topwater lures when conditions have allowed are all producing some good fish. Over at the Glenelg River there is a steady stream of school size mulloway being caught up around Dry Creek and the Princess Margaret Rose Caves. These fish have mostly been caught as by-catch when targeting bream and perch on the edges but I’m sure if a live mullet or a nice strip bait was put in front of them it would work just as well. Xavier and Mark Gercovich caught a number of school mulloway over there in a recent trip which all came on Daiwa Spikes fished along the rock walls. Hopefully some bigger fish come in the system and begin taking lures and baits for those anglers putting the time in.

Not long now until the first carp competition in the Hopkins River and Mount Emu Creek. The competition will begin on Friday 19thof May at 4pm and conclude on Sunday the 21st at 11.59am. Entries can be done online only and follow the prompts. With the carp on the rise it’s a great way of banding together and doing something about it while having a fish too. The final weigh in will be at 3 Otway Road which is the Warrnambool and District Angling Clubrooms. 

This weekend is shaping to be a difficult one for the offshore crew with some big swells expected on Saturday and Sunday. The rivers and lakes might be your place to be chasing a trout or mulloway. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!