With some rather unpleasant weather moving in over the past few days, most anglers have been forced inland to chase trout, but in those short windows of offshore opportunity, the barrel fishing has been as hot as ever. Let’s take a dive into the fishing along the south-west coast this week!

With only a couple of reasonable days this week, the offshore fishing has quietened a little from past weeks. Port Macdonnell is still the place to be if you’re targeting a barrel tuna, with some lovely fish taken this week. Local angler TJ Symons headed across to fish with Luke Smith, and was rewarded with a 120kg tuna for his efforts. Trolling large skirts such as the Bonze Exocet or Jaks Zeus is still the most popular technique, but it has been interesting to see anglers beginning to try live baiting this season. A number of solid barrels have been taken pitching live redbait on spin gear into a bait ball; marlin style. Closer to home, there’s no shortage of school tuna off Port Fairy. Dan from Salty Dog Charters has certainly had a fantastic first few weeks aboard his new boat, with one group of clients landing 44 tuna for the day. This group of five anglers took one fish each home, releasing the other 39. Dan reports several trips with equal fishing success this week, so if you’ve been considering an offshore trip but unsure where to start; it’s worth booking a trip with Dan! A few anglers have also been targeting sharks this week, both offshore and from the beach. James Porter sent us a picture of a lovely gummy taken off Port Fairy this week, so if tuna don’t take your fancy, the winter shark run is another great option.

The freshwater trout scene has been in full swing for the past few weeks, and is only set to improve with deteriorating weather conditions. The local rivers have been fishing well considering the seasonal lack of water flows, which tend to come through in June. We’re now in mid July and seeing lower water that would typically be expected in May, so let’s hope for some rain soon to get those rivers flowing. The upper Merri has been the choice of location for most anglers. Nate Monaghan has gotten into his trout fishing this year, and has spent most nights recently walking the river at Woodford. Armed with his trusty floating Rapala in perch colour, Nate has landed multiple nice brown trout. Jed Kentish has been fishing the river a little further downstream, landing his PB brown trout at 59cm, a fantastic sized trout anywhere in Australia! The Hopkins and Mount Emu have also produced some nice fish, although not to the same size as the Merri. Lake Bullen Merri continues to produce excellent trout on all methods. Scott Gray has been finding some very fat and healthy tiger trout fly fishing the lakes margins, either land based or aboard his Seacruiser. Wet flies in a BMS or streamer style are the choice of just about any fly angler at Bullen Merri. Trolling, lure casting and baitfishing are all producing BM trout and salmon too, for those anglers not keen on fly fishing. Bait fishing at Bullen Merri can be a very simple yet productive tactic, and requires no fancy gear or expertise. Experienced anglers fishing out of a boat will anchor and burley on a steep drop off, and fish lightly weighted or unweighted pilchard baits down the trail. It’s not the most traditional trout fishing method; yet it works tremendously well. Quite often though, good numbers of salmon and rainbow trout are taken by anglers just bait fishing along the shoreline, or even from the boat ramp pontoons. If you want the chance of brown or tiger trout too, change the bait to a live minnow or gudgeon. Make sure you fish light and don’t burley too hard.

This coming weekend looks to offer strong offshore winds, but will still be fishable for those keen enough and with larger boats. The trout fishing will be a great choice otherwise! Best of luck.