February 26, 2021
By Robbie Alexander
February has started off different to most summers. It has been mild to warm and very wet in many areas. This will be a very good thing for some types of fishing, and maybe not so good for others.
One thing that is for certain is that there will always be fishing options here in regional Victoria no matter how much train and flooding we get.
Murray cod reports have been ticking over at a steady rate for the last few weeks. The cod have been consistently slow in the Ovens River. Cod have been caught, and there has been a few great catches however the general consensus from most anglers is that the cod fishing has been quite slow.
The Goulburn River around Shepparton has been fishing very well all summer with some very large cod over 100cm being caught on what appears to be quite a consistent basis.
The Broken River downstream of Benalla has also fished exceptionally well all summer.
As a result of recent rainfall, some of these rivers may rise quite a bit and become quite dirty over the coming week or so. How fishable the rivers remain will be determined by just how much rain fell in each individual catchment.
Where I live in Wangaratta, as I type I am expecting the river to get very high and dirty, making lure fishing less appealing.
In any river, if the water is high and dirty, try using bait to target Murray cod. Cheese is a sure bait for cod, so too are bardi grubs. Scrub worms work well too and also increase your chances of catching something else such as a yellowbelly or redfin as a by-catch. If you insist on using lures, then thankfully the many lakes in the region have great options.
Lakes Eildon, Nillahcootie, Eppalock, Cairn Curran and Mulwala will all be fishable with lures, even after the summer deluge.
A nice yellowbelly caught in the old Lake Mokoan outlet channel in summer 2010/2011 aftersummer flooding.
Stomach contents from a yellowbelly caught where a flooded paddock was draining into the old Lake Mokoan Channel in summer 2010/2011
Yellowbelly love a warm water flush, or a summer flood and will often really switch on during these types of conditions.
The rise in warm water may even trigger a few yellowbelly to swim upstream and spawn, or at least attempt to spawn.
Any waterway that has yellowbelly, and is experiencing a flush of fresh water will be worth fishing over the next couple of weeks. Areas where fresh water is entering a river such as seasonal creeks, and even storm water drains can be real hotspots as the yellowbelly will often wait there for food wo wash in.
I remember back in 2010 when we had a warm water flood in December. The Winton wetlands filled up and overflowed, causing the old Mokoan outlet channel to flow and the channel quickly filled with yellowbelly from the Broken River. I found one spot where a flooded paddock/swamp was draining into the channel, and that particular spot produced some of the best yellowbelly fishing that I have ever seen. If lure fishing, small lipless crankbaits can be dynamite on yellowbelly. Trellys have a variety of options on this Lure Page
If bait fishing try using worms. Worms are always a great option in fresh running water after decent rain. I remember gutting a yellowbelly from the above mentioned spot, and it it’s stomach was 1 small carp, 1 frog, 1 yabbie and a whole heap of mudeyes. So that should give you an idea of what bait or lures to use.
This is one of my favourite times of the year to fish for redfin. Regardless of how much rainfall we get, some of the regions lakes will still fish very well for redfin.
Waranga Basin, Lake Eppalock, Lake Buffalo and Lake William Hovell are just some of the many lakes in northern Victoria that are worth fishing for redfin at this time of the year. Small lipless crankbaits, small diving lures, soft plastics and bladed spinners will all work. Your choice of lures needs to be made based on the type of water that you are fishing more than anything because the redfin will take them all in late summer. From a boat, try bobbing a soft plastic, or even an ice jig. From the bank of a lake, try casting a soft plastic or bladed spinner. Even trolling a small diving lure will work very well.
Lake William Hovell is just 1 of many lakes in northern Victoria that will be worth fishing for redfin over the next few weeks.
I fish Lake William Hovell a lot because it is close to where I live, and my favourite lure to troll up there is the RMG poltergeist 50mm. It is small and compact, and dives to 8 meters.
The redfin just love them. RMG Poltergeist Page
If bait fishing, worms are always the best place to start. Worms and small yabbies, or live shrimp if you have them.
The regions trout will benefit from this recent rainfall more than any other fish. The huge volumes of fresh water will freshen up the streams, possibly even cool them down a little bit and deliver a smorgasbord of food to the fish.
Furthermore, decent water levels in the streams in early autumn can set the trout up for some fantastic spawning opportunities later in autumn.
All known trout fishing techniques will work in the streams as long as the water is clear. I like to use black coloured lures at this time of the year as there are a lot of black food sources around, namely crickets.
Trout lakes such as Lake William Hovell and Lake Eildon most likely wont fish well for trout yet as the water is a bit too warm. Unless you use a downrigger.
I prefer to stick to the streams for now and then target trout in lakes later in the autumn when the water cools.
Dark natural coloured lures such as this Strike Tiger nymph in “coffee” colour are agreat place to start if trout fishing late in summer.
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