The fishing over the last week has been red hot in some waterways and others have lacked any action but this is the time of year that we see patterns slow down due to the changing weather and conditions.
Offshore, the weather hasn’t been favourable for most to get out there. Big swells have stirred the oceans up significantly. However, a few nice King George whiting have been hanging around the local bays of Killarney and Port Fairy. Scott Gray had a couple of good evening trips on these fish late last week. Pippies fished on flasher rigs, in a burley trail, is the ideal way to catch these fish. These same areas also hold salmon, trevally, flathead and pinkie snapper, and are a great option when the weather gets up a little to much to head out wide. Winter doesn’t tend to produce big numbers of whiting; it’s more quality over quantity. Small salmon have been taken off the beaches, with larger fish scarce. 20g metal lures have been the pick, as smaller salmon as usually found within the shorebreak and don’t require heavy tackle. Try Port Fairy East Beach or Peterborough on a high tide. A few mackerel and small tailor have been the bulk of catches in the lower Moyne River at night, with the odd small whiting, pinky snapper and bream also in the same areas.
The estuaries are where a lot of attention has been focused this week. Great numbers of bream, and estuary perch, are being caught in both the Hopkins and Curdies. Soft plastics have been the choice by anglers, both in the tried and true Z-Man Slim Swimz but also the new Daiwa Bait Junkie range. The water is still quite dirty in both rivers following flooding in past weeks but the fish have still bitten well. A high tide down near the mouth of the Hopkins has brough in clear saltwater, with a report of a 49cm bream caught of the newly formed sand spit over the weekend. Of all things, this bream was caught on chicken! The Hopkins has also been home to big numbers of yellow-eye mullet this week. An interesting surprise in the lower Hopkins this week was a trout taken by Michael Malone- below Deakin! Michael caught the fish in very shallow water while bream fishing. Whilst chasing perch at night several times this week I have been plagued by these fish taking my Nories Laydown Minnows and soft plastics. Allistar Bourke is one legend who has been getting some great perch this week from the Hopkins, with a number of fish over 45cm.This week we have the annual “Perch Search”, held by the Victorian Fisheries Authority. The Perch Search is an event where local anglers meet and catch estuary perch, which are then taken to aquaculture facilities. The perch caught are used as broodstock in the hatcheries, to provide stockings of perch in our rivers in future. It’s a great initiative by the VFA to rebuild stocks of these precious, and sometimes vulnerable, fish.
The trout fishing has been a hit and miss option this week. Some spots have fished fantastic, whilst others have proved disappointing. The Merri is one river which hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, which I would believe is due to how quickly the flood waters came and went. The Hopkins is one catchment which due to its size and geography, tends to hold more water for longer, and as a result has fished better. The Falls have subsided to a more reasonable level from a few weeks ago, so trout should be a good option there. Rapala floating minnows, in the Perch colour, are usually the top picks in the post-flood period. I got onto a few over the weekend fishing the Otway rivers with Oskar Masters, no large fish but good numbers of them. Ecogear MX48s were the standout lures as usual.
The trout lakes of Bullen Merri and Purrumbete have been fishing quite well this week. Shaun Harrington put in some hours and was rewarded with a serious sized trout of 11lb! The fish was taken casting the very shallow margins of Purrumbete. The same areas have produced smaller browns and some nice rainbows this week. The weather has been perfect for crater lake trout action, being overcast with a bit of ripple on the water. Bullen Merri has seen some nice sized chinook salmon, a pleasant change from the usual smaller fish of 30cm there. Interestingly, a number of anglers including Mark Gavin and Xavier Ellul, have got onto some brown trout out of Bullen Merri, which aren’t as common in there as other local waters. The Bullen Merri brown trout usually have a pretty silver appearance, usually leading to confusion between anglers as to what species of trout has been caught. Flat line trolling a Tassie Devil, or Daiwa Double Clutch, early morning, is the best bet to get onto some trout or salmon out of Lake Bullen Merri. Lake Hamilton is another spot which has consistently produced fish, both redfin and trout, over the last few months. I found a few in the spillway on my last trip, and trolling the lake with Rapala X-Raps has produced some great rainbow and brown trout, redfin and also a few estuary perch for locals.