What a crazy week of weather it’s been! Seven metre swells and 60km onshore winds kept all anglers off the ocean and beaches over the weekend. It wasn’t just unfishable, but genuinely dangerous considering the damage done to the coastline around Port Fairy and Killarney. Nonetheless, a few fish have still been caught up the rivers  and either side of our arctic weekend.

Saltwater

No saltwater reports came in locally this week. A few anglers came into the shop and were still keen to get out whilst on holidays locally, but even the calmest of ocean waters became flooded and dangerous from Friday to Sunday and prevented all saltwater angling. There is a benefit to the wild weather however. Many fish, in particular snapper, mulloway, sharks and large tuna, love the rough weather. The large swells stir up the ocean and make it more turbid, also stirring up all of the reefs and the life on them. This is almost like a refresh button on the ocean, and the food becomes much easier for large predators to catch. Rainfall also washes food in and out of our rivers, so snapper, mulloway and sharks often hang around the river mouthes waiting for food to come out to them. With a few calm days, we should see some great beach fishing over the next few weeks, especially in the Fitzroy and Hopkins River mouth areas. Last week also brought the first confirmed report of a barrel tuna taken for the season. The 121kg fish was taken by Extreme Marine charters out of Port McDonnell in South Australia.  There was whispers of jumbo sized fish off Port Fairy over Easter, although none were landed. Let’s hope this rough weather stirs the fish up and sends them east, towards Portland, Port Fairy and Warrnambool. Watch this space!

Estuary

Just before the weekend the Hopkins experienced one of the best runs of mulloway for some time. Starting the week off with Mick Hunt’s metre long fish, to Adam Brown’s 6kg specimen, the fish kept coming. Shannon O’Brien landed his first ever mulloway, coming in at 83cm and taking a Duo Realis Minnow. Mulloway are one of those fish that it might take a while to get that first one, but they’re all easier after that. Good work Shannon, a fish well deserved. Deny Hickson landed his first from the Hopkins, as well as Allistar Bourke and Rob Thornton who got a fish each. There was more than likely a few anglers keeping their catches quiet too, often the case with mulloway!

I heard word yesterday of blue green algae making it’s way into the lake down at Peterborough, coming down the Curdies. Two large mulloway were found washed up on the bank near the caravan park which isn’t great to see. Hopefully the river can get a flush out, with the mouth currently being closed.

Freshwater

The freshwater reports were very quiet in the south-west this week. The weather over the weekend will have increased river flows and dropped the temperatures however, paving the way for a solid trout season ahead. Those who have been out fishing lately have reported significant numbers of baitfish in the rivers locally, mostly native galaxiid minnows and Australian Smelt. It’s a great sign for the health of our rivers, but also showing that there’s plenty of food around for hungry trout and perch. Xavier Ellul and Lake Gercovich got onto a few good sized browns last Friday in the Hopkins River, and I got out myself Saturday and Sunday also chasing brown trout and got a couple on Cranka minnows. No reports on any lake fishing in this week.

Unfortunately I’d love to give everyone the green light to get out this week and promise calm weather, but looking ahead on the forecast the 50km winds and 7m swells will again make their presence know again next week. The weekend is probably the calmest time, still we will see 35km hour winds! Just remember there’ll be excellent fishing once this is all over.