The gippsland estuaries have been starting to warm up and the fish are on the move accordingly; with bream and flathead the main targets. With the water starting to warm up fish like flathead are starting to move into the shallower water where they can be targeted using shallow running hardbodied lures or more finesse soft plastics. Some small prawns in the shallows are easy picking for the big fish, and by imitating these you are giving the fish what they are looking for. That being said, weather changes can move the fish about – so covering the water and trying multiple options until you find the fish is always the go. Staff member Don had a similar scenario over the weekend fishing out in the east gippsland estuaries with mate Sam. After a slow initial start targeting bream along the river edges, small patches of ducky flathead were found. After some tackle and lure changes, good numbers of flathead to around 80cm were landed to save the day.


Customer Mark fished around Bemm river recently with his two sons to land some nice bream. The boys fished the lake and found that fresh prawn and sandworm were getting the most hits.


Customer Ange has just returned from a fishing trip around the gipplsand lakes at lakes entrance and Kalmina. Ange has been kayak fishing of late and has found his stealth has really helped on fish like bream.


Ange lure fished the area for a few days and found that small shrimp imitation plastics were very effective on the local bream, while small and durable grubs like ‘Zman’ and ‘Bungy Baits’ also caught both bream and flathead. Natural shrimp and motor oil colours were the pick during the trip.

 



Some nice snapper have been slowly making their way into the catches of local anglers.With some warmer weather on its way the fish should be making their presence felt around the Eastern shores of the bay. The top end around Brighton and Port Melbourne have been holding good numbers of school fish running up along the edge of the main shipping channel. Rough weather brings these fish in close around the vast grassbeds and mudflats of the top end where they can be picked off by using baits of fresh squid, pilchard and even large prawns. Customer John has been fishing the top end of the bay and has seen some nice fish to 4kg from the piers. Pilchard and squid have been the best baits for land based guys, with this particular fish falling to fresh squid.


Around the top end of Westernport the fish are starting to come on also, with anywhere from Warneet through to the back ‘finger’ channels worth a really good look for a red or two. Customer Joel had a fish close by to Joes’ Island during the week to land fish to around 4kg on fresh baits. Freshly caught couta was the pick of the baits, and good because they are normally about in numbers through the top end at this time of year.


 



Plenty of trout have still been caught by anglers fishing both local and further away. The trout fishing in the Eildon region has still been excellent with the pondage and Goulburn both producing fish, whether you choose to lure or bait fish. Some of the large rainbow trout are still being caught in the river with deep running plastics and heavier spoons finding their way down to the fish. The deeper runs will normally hold the best fish, and these runs normally go unfished by many anglers with their standard shallower running trout lures.



The pondage has been the go if you’re fishing dough-style baits and powerbait, but remember for this method to work as well as it should you must make up a berley mix consisting crushed trout pellets. Customer Jozef and his wife Margaret fished the pondage over the weekend and caught some lovely fish using this exact method.


While it’s not all bait fishing at the pondage, it still is the more consistent method. If you’re anything like customer George you will like casting lures about. Luckily the big rainbows that George has been catching are still quite partial to a hardbody lure.



Around the suburban stocked lakes the fish have been active since their recent school holiday stocking. Customer Cipto and Ariff fished Karkarook lake over the weekend and found a few nice little rainbows. The best lures for the boys were the Yakamito trout spoons and bright coloured ‘tailbenders’.



Staff member Dylan has been up around the NSW alpine region fishing the snowy lakes while on holiday. With idyllic conditions, not much wind and bright sunshine the fish were always going to be skittish. Targeting rocky points and wind-blown bays was the most effective, with rainbow trout to 3lb hitting hardbodies and yabby imitations. Whether lure or fly fishing the area, it pays to imitate the main food source with small yabby, goldfish and minnow copies your best bet.


 


Squid reports have been good over the past week, with clean water in both bays. The southern end of both bays has been the most productive with both numbers and size, with the rye – Portsea are very good, along with Flinders and Shoreham in Westernport.



Customers Damien, Carlo and Thao have been fishing around Portsea and Queenscliff. Some of the better squid from the area have been up to 50cm in hood length, which are proper calamari! The jigs that have been producing have been size 3.5 Haramitsu and Yamashita in blacks, greens and also natural green baitfish patterns.



Customer Angelo regularly fishes Flinders pier and this week he has done exceptionally well. Angelo has been catching a load of grass whiting from the weedbeds under the pier, with pipi and trout worms being the most effective when suspended just above the weed. The best way to rig these up is by using a paternoster rig with long sinker dropper and small size 6 circle hook. Amongst the grass whiting the squid that Angelo has been catching have been quality, with many over a kilo. The most successful jigs for him have been the size 3.5 and 4.0 Black/red Clicks jigs.

 


The snapper reports are starting to filter through, not that we have had ideal weather for many anglers to get out. The next 3 or so weeks will see an increase of anglers on the water as the AFL finishes up, so the bays will be a bit quieter traffic wise until then. There are still anglers getting out amongst the fish now though, as customer Chris has been. Chris has been fishing the top end of Westernport, which is known to be more productive early in the season. Chris was searching around for a larger fish in water where they are known to be caught at this time of year. A short 15 minutes after marking a good fish, Chris had a rod on and landed a cracker that weighed 9.1kg clean. The big fish was a sucker for a fresh bait near Joe's Island.

HOT SPOT: The top end of Westernport is the place to be. The area from Joe's Island around to Spit Point is a good area to be looking for a BIG snapper. The fish in the area will be grazing over the mudflats looking for crabs, mantis shrimp and whatever else they can find. While this area of the bay can seen a bit daunting with it's extensive 'high and dry' regions, if you plan your venture around a neap low tide you should be fine. Fresh baits are king here, with their scent trail wafting through the discoloured channels.

 


The local bream population had gone a bit quiet with the clear green water in most of the estuaries and lakes, and bream reports were quite low. The fish get cagey in the clean water and go off the bite a little bit, or regulate their feeding to low light times or when there is strong winds. With the recent small bit of rain we have received the fish lower their guard and bit a bit easy-'er' to tempt. Not that the weather mattered much to customer John. John and mate Bashir fished the Tambo river in Gippsland to land some nice clean bream. The guys found that live shrimp and fresh prawn were the most effective when fished along the river bank drop offs.


Back in the Patto, customer Tony has been catching a few nice fish. Tony has been fishing early morning around first light and this is when he has been catching most of his fish. Small live freshwater yabbies have been effective, but they must be fished on ultra-fine gauge hooks and light leader, with little or no sinker. The fish will sense if the yabby is impeded by a heavy hook, thick line and 'anchor' of a sinker stopping it from acting natural.


Customer Ange has also been catching a few bream in the Patto with some mates. The guys have been lurecasting from their kayaks, which off the ultimate stealth approach to these flighty fish. The most effective lures of late have been 'ned-rigged' soft plastics, and small slow sinking hardbodies. These lures are best fished with very small 'pops' of the rod tip to create a kick but not scare the fish. Most bites will come as the lure or plastic has stopped or settled on the bottom.

HOT SPOT: The Patto will continue to fish well after more rain this week, especially around the first flood gate. Just remember to scent up your lures and baits as the water turns murky.

 


The trout fishing has really turned it on for anglers over the past few weeks since the opening, and there have been plenty of fish caught in the lakes during the week. The Eildon region is still well worth a drive to either fish the lake, pondage or rivers.

Customer Adam caught an absolute cracker brown from Lake Eildon recently, from the Jew's creek area. Adam caught the fish on a Yakamito 'slim minnow' in brown trout colour. This particular lure is nearly 10cm long, which shows that trout are not afraid to hit larger offerings, especially in rival trout patterns.


Also fishing the Lake, customer Mick had a weekend away with some mates and while the fishing was relatively slow there were still some nice fish caught. Mick managed a couple of browns around 1kg on the troll. Mick tried a few different options but the ever-faithful pink Tassie Devil got the job done. Something about a bright coloured lure, especially pink really gets the attention of the trout. One of the trout was hooked in the pec fin so the fish may still be running a late spawn and showing aggression towards anything in their space.


The pondage at Eildon is still fishing well for the large rainbows that have been lurking since opening weekend. These big fish will eat a fairly big lure if you are spinning, so don't be afraid to tie on something big, bright or just different to what you would normally use. Customer Nicole fished the Burke Street end of the pondage recently to land a thumping big rainbow around the 10lb mark casting lures. Fish of this size are capable of eating a lure or soft plastic 15cm long or so, and often the large 'main course' offering will get a more aggressive strike than the 'appetizer'.


Back in the local lakes, most of the suburban stocked lakes will be receiving a top up stocking any day now - just in time for School Holidays. Down at Karkarook Park, customer Ismail tried his hand at 'coarse' style baitfishing and caught a couple of small rainbows. While these fish can bite their heads off when they are berleyed into a frenzy, incorrect tackle and rig setup and the lack of a mixture of dough style baits will see most go fishless. There are plenty of anglers who catch consistently in these stocked lakes, through proper setup and persistence.

HOT SPOT: If it's trout luring you're after - the Eildon region is hard to beat. For a nice casual fish with the kids, Lakeside in Pakenham has just been stocked with 500 rainbow trout which will respond well to the coarse angling methods.

 


Many keen anglers relish the start of the spring weather, as with the warmth comes the multitude of species waking from a winter docile state. Anglers in the know will out looking for freshwater natives such as bass and yellowbelly as they become more active. This is especially true with the yellowbelly, and generally the very best fishing for them will occur over the next 8 or so weeks.


Customer David has been on the lookout for the 'yellas' around some of the stocked lakes and has been catching fish to around 2kg on lipless crankbaits. Yellowbelly really hone in on these lures and the spring 'vibe' bite can be red hot when you find a patch of fish hungry and hunting. 


Customer Ryan has also been catching some nice yellowbelly over the past week, with the biggest weighing around 4kg. Again the lure of choice for Ryan has been a lipless crankbait, but there are also plenty of other successful options for the thinking angler to try; Small spinnerbaits and jig spinners, floating crankbaits with 'double' hooks, swim-jigs, and carolina rigged soft plastics to really fish in the heavy stuff.

HOT SPOT: The best spot around for trophy yellowbelly is no doubt Lake Eildon. The northern end of the lake around Bonnie Doon is worth a good look as snow melts slowly floods the gradual edges and gives the fish plenty of food to find, and this is generally where you will find them. The next 5 or 6 weeks are the prime time, especially if we get a string of milder days.

 


The trout season continues to provide action for many, especially for those fishing the Eildon region. The talk has been the Goulburn, with plenty of solid trout still being caught. Customer John fished the river in the Thorton region and caught some solid fish on a mixture of coarse angling methods and different colours in Berkley powerbait.


Customer Zoran also fished the Thornton area of the river to land fish to around 7lb. Zoran has been catching on a mixture of 'specialist trout dough' and hatchery berley pellets. The coarse method is very effective on recently stocke fish as the addictive berley trail is what they are used to feeding on. Customer Jay caught a couple of monsters from the river earlier in the week on lures. Jay tried a few different lures but the most successful were the Megabass Hazedong shads fished heavy and deep in the fast water.


Customer also Cipto caught some cracker trout while fishing the same area. Cipto found the Megabass X70 and X80 were the best performers, especially in natural colours. With the water being clear the more natural patterns can be more effective on heaviily pressured fish.

HOT SPOT: While the Goulburn is still producing monster rainbows, things will start off as the fish acclimatize and become more wary. Many of the fish should push downstream somewhat, so the mouths of both the Rubicon and Acheron rivers will be worth a look in tangling with a few fish. Small, 'buggy' soft plastics and floating hardbodies in bright colours are worth packing, especially with slightly dirty water conditions of the past few days.

 


Snapper season is apon us! No, the fish aren't going red hot but they are out there to be caught! Water temperatures in the bay are hovering around 11.0 - 11.7C, so things are happening but not as mental as they will be! A few weeks of milder weather should start to run good and proper.

Captain Bill from Mornington snagged a nice fish around 4kg during the week fishing out wide off Mornington. There have been patches of fish sitting around 19 - 20m in this area as they come in.


The northern sections of the the bay have been producing snapper for keen anglers, as the water feeding from the Yarra brings a slight warmth to this end of the bay. Customers John and Bashir fished out from St Kilda during the week to land a few nice 5kg using fresh gars.

Across in westernport there have been a few fish caught in the normal 'early season' locations. The port holds a bit more warmth, especially in the north-eastern sections. Customers Johnny and Thao got out a few nights ago and braved the wind to score a nice fish from the top of the north arm around Yaringa. The boys fished in 11m of water and scored the fish on frozen squid.

HOT SPOT: If you're keen to try for a snapper either the top end of Port Phillip, 12 - 15m around St Kilda is worth a shot. For the westernport angler the northern Corinella mudflats are worth a good look. Stay under 11m. Squid and pilchard are the choice for early baits.