How lucky are we that we have such diverse fishing opportunities along the South West! This past week has seen all our waterways fire up and provide anglers a few great memories along the way. From freshwater to the salt out wide we have seen some great captures, so let’s dive in and have a look.

Freshwater: The Merri River has been the hot spot this week with more flow coming down the system due to the steeper catchment area according to our in house guru on freshwater Tim Vincent. Anglers have been catching some quality browns right throughout the Merri in the past week casting bigger lures such as the Rapala F9 in bright colours like Perch and similar. Skeeta Andrews has been doing the hard yards walking the banks of the Merri and coming up trumps on a few trout casting Rapala F9’s. These bigger lures create a silhouette and a bigger profile in the dirty water and make it easier for the fish to see. If I was going to target a trout, then I’d start at a 7cm lure and work up from there. In the cleaner water of the Merri the smaller lures will be worth a crack, but with the higher flow and the more turbid water of the Hopkins larger lures will be the pick. Also as I mentioned in past reports, the leader size is a big thing this time of year so choose wisely to avoid heartbreak. 8lb and up is the most common choice. Lake Purrumbete in Camperdown has been fishing well for Chinook Salmon and redfin both on baits and lures of a wide variety. Craig Brooks had a nice bag of tiger trout and some redfin caught trolling lures. The reddies have been schooling up in 8-12m of water and can usually be easily found out the front of the channel and around the cafe to the left. Using soft plastics in a darker brown or green colour has been working well. A simple retrieve of letting it sink and a couple hops and a steady retrieve will get their attention soon enough. Blades also work well this time of year and are used either straight up and down through the schools or a cast and retrieve with short sharp hops and letting them fall back through the school. If you’re looking at chasing a trout or chinook salmon then work the edges with shallow running hard bodies worked aggressively. Keep an eye on your lure for any trailing fish just in case so you can then re-cast back towards the fish.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River has seen both dirty water and salt water being mixed after a week of big tides. One day the river was dirty due to the flow and run off from up stream, and next day it was blue from the high tides. Typically when the water is like this it makes for excellent fishing especially for species such as bream and mulloway. From all accounts it’s fairly quiet down the bottom section but I have heard of some good captures up around Rowans Lane and just below. This is my favourite time of year to target the bigger fish before they hibernate for their spawning season. The blades come out of the tackle boxes this time of year and get flung around in the deep. Short sharp hops are my preferred option when casting blades this time of year and can provide some great fishing too. The vibration of these types of lures look like a struggling fish flicking up off the bottom and can usually be caught at the very top of the lift and on the pause of the lure. Making sure you check your hooks each fish will mean that you are as ready as you can be to pin those fish with super sticky hooks. Due to the places you hook the fish (under the chin and on the side of the face) where it is very hard your hooks will become blunt and weak over time. Another estuary that is fishing well at present is the Curdies River where some great bream and the odd estuary perch have been landed in the lower section. Reports have come in of the masses of fish schooled along the edges which is usually a great time to get down there. The Lake at Peterborough has also seen a few great bream being caught on baits such as live shrimp and grey back. Shallow running hard bodies in the lake are the go to as they can run over the weed that grows in the lake and fouls up your trebles. Natural colours work well this time of year especially in the shallow water. Up the river blades and soft plastics on slightly heavier jig heads will work this time of year especially being cast into the edges and worked off the edge.

Saltwater: the bottom fishing has been nothing short of excellent this week with some quality gummies and even big silver trevally caught on the bottom. Salty Dog Charters have been catching some great fish for their customers off Port Fairy including some trevally to a whopping 70cm! The guys have also been cleaning up on gummies and nannygai on the same area this week. On the tuna front the fish seem to wide spread now and have dispersed from the Port Campbell rigs offshore after the bait that was holding them here moved off to find warmer water. There have been reports of big fish along Peterborough after a warmer current moved in close to shore around the 50-60m line. A 147kg fish was caught off Apollo Bay last week which is the biggest fish of the season by far. This weekend sees awesome conditions to head offshore and this has transpired into the shop with heaps of customers making their way out. I would think that some great captures will be reported next week, so get out and enjoy the conditions while we can.

Until next week tight lines and best of luck.