December 14, 2020
By Robbie Alexander
Just like that it is almost Christmas time and many people are either planning, or packing for their Christmas camping trip. For many, this is their biggest camping trip of the year.
So where are the fish biting? Where should you go?
December is the best time of the year to catch Murray cod in Northern Victoria. Most waterways that have cod in them are worth fishing.
Here is a rundown of where the fish have been biting based on the reports that I have been given and my own experience.
A Murray Cod Caught by the Author.
The Ovens River where I fish has been fishing OK. In the first day of the season many people caught good numbers of fish and many went without. It received quite mixed fishing reports.
Since then the fishing has stabled and is now quite consistent. I have been catching a few cod, but haven’t experienced any red hot fishing. Just consistent fishing.
Two days ago I put my kayak on the lower Ovens River where I managed to hook 3 cod, landing 2 of them.
Tom Short caught this Murray cod in Wangaratta last week.
I have received reports of great cod fishing in the Broken River, as well as a couple of good reports from the Mitta Mitta River and Kiewa River.
I have not heard very many reports from Lake Mulwala, however I have seen a few photos shared on the Lake Mulwala Fish Camp Ski Instagram page.
I did see a photo of a young bloke with a massive cod from the Goulburn River, and I watched a video by Brian Smith of a 113cm Murray cod being caught on a surface lure at Barmah.
So all up, from the reports that I have received, it would appear that the bigger cod are being found in the lower Goulburn River and the Murray River, while there’s plenty of small cod in the Broken River and Ovens River.
Each year I get hammered with yellowbelly fishing reports right throughout spring, and then as soon as Murray cod season arrives the yellowbelly reports slow right down as many anglers shift their focus from yellowbelly to Murray cod fishing.
I have however had a few reports of yellowbelly being caught though.
My friend Patrick Horne and his friends from the Tatong Anglers Club caught some nice yellowbelly (And a few cod) at Lake Nillahcootie last week. So the yellowbelly are still on the chew there.
I have also seen some photos of some big fat yellowbelly caught at Lake Hume in recent weeks.
There has also been quite a few yellowbelly caught in the Broken, Campaspe and Loddon River, mostly by anglers targeting Murray cod.
Just like Murray cod, this is a great time of the year to target yellowbelly and any waterway with yellowbelly in it will be worth fishing throughout the Christmas/New Year period.
Summer time is redfin time for many anglers, myself included.
I will start with Lake William Hovell as I know that usually fishes quite slowly for redfin around Christmas time. A few get caught, but it’s usually not until February that we start seeing the best redfin fishing in Lake William Hovell.
Waranga Basin usually fishes very well for anglers chasing redfin around Christmas time. Shore based anglers usually catch mostly smaller redfin. In fact, most redfin caught at Waranga Basin are usually small, however anglers in boats or kayaks are far more likely to find the larger fish as they can get out much further into deeper water.
Any waterway that has redfin in it is worth fishing at Christmas time.
The best tip that I have for Waranga basin (and any redfin fishery dominated by small redfin) is to keep on moving around until you find a school of larger fish.
There are school of redfin in Waranga Basin that are up around the 35-30cm size. Not monsters, but nice fish big enough to rip a couple of fillets off.
Small soft plastics will work very well for angler wading the perimeter of the lake, casting out and retrieving. So too will bladed spinners and small minnows.
Blades and Lipless Crankbaits (vibes) will enable you to catch much further, out into the deeper water.
Waranga basin is very big and can get very rough. On a calm day anglers can catch a lot of redfin fishing from the bank or in the boat. It is a great redfin fishery.
I am unsure how Lake Eildon is fishing for redfin as I have not had any reports for a long time, but I do know from 1st hand experience that the redfin are already biting like mad at Lake Hume. I managed to catch around 20 small redfin one morning just last week, casting a small Strike Tiger Bug (Lave Lime colour) while wet wading around the lake.
Basically anywhere that has redfin is worth fishing at Christmas time, however some of the more alpine type lakes that are a bit colder may fish a bit more slowly.
There’s no need to go into too much detail about the trout as I wrote a whole feature on summer trout fishing in this very Trellys fishing report last fortnight.
What I can say though is that the streams are all currently in excellent shape for this time of the year.
They’re carrying a lot more water than they were at this time last year and that water is significantly cooler, so I am expecting some great trout fishing to be had by many over the Christmas period this year.
My best advice is to stick to the larger, faster flowing rivers like the Ovens, Howqua, Delatite, Jamieson etc… as the smaller, more rural streams will be starting to get quite warm.
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