This is the time of year to be out targeting cod and yellowbelly at places like lake Eildon. The warming and rising lake levels really bring these natives on the go, as they patrol the edges looking for the baitfish that push into the shallows. The cod of the lake are normally aggressive around this time of the year as they look fend off rivals and intruders from their spawning areas.


Customer Ash and his cousin fished lake Eildon over the weekend in search of a yellowbelly or possibly a cod. After trying a few options, large freshwater yabbies were deployed and they were the flavour. The guys fished the Big River arm and ended up with an 87cm cod and some solid yellowbelly in the 60cm size range. Not a bad way to spend a weekend!


Targeting the yellowbelly of the area or in other regions, you need a mix of bait options and also lures sizes. Yellowbelly can be very aggressive and inquisitive towards large offerings but also very finicky and shy away from all but the smallest lure or bait like tiny river shrimp. Like all forms of fishing, having a few different options to get you off the mark is the way to go!

 


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.

 


Although Murray cod season is not far from closing this year, Lake Eildon remains open year round - and is an excellent option if you want to come tight to a cod, especially a big one! While the fishing at this time of year can be hard going, the rewards are there for those putting in all those casts. EJ Todd Victorian Representative Mitch has putting in the time using swimbaits and big surface lures and has connected to some proper slob cod over the last week or so. Dobyns swimbait rods have been good to him in casting heavy baits all day long. 


Meanwhile, customer Will also stayed connected to a nice mid 70cm fish from the lake over the weekend. Will came in store to look at hook upgrades for his lures after having a fish roll off recently, and after some advice and a terminal tackle top up his first bite stayed on and made it to the net. Hook upgrades for chunky lake cod are a must!

In a different area of the lake, Nick also managed to get a real toad of a cod just under 85cm in the boat. Nick is the Victorian agent for Viva Fishing and Megabass Australia. Nick's favourite Megabass rod 'The Poker' made short work of this fish in around vertical timber.


The successful lure for Nick was the Megabass Vatalion in carp colour. The Vatalion is fast becoming a firm favourite for anglers wanting a smaller profile swimbait easily castable on lighter gear. They have a very positive body roll and tail kick at slow speeds and are getting the better of the Eildon cod. Pop in store if you want to check them out before they sell out!

 

We're really heading into trout time! The cooler weather and water means that the streams and lakes have been a bit more active over the last few weeks, even if water levels are lower and clearer than normal. If we get some decent rain draining into the rivers over the next month things will be even better as the larger fish move to spawn.

Customer Luke from Ace Adventures donned the waders and fished some of the small water above Noojee with a mate recently. Luke found there were plenty of fish willing to take a swipe at a well presented lure, with around 25cm being about the norm.


Customer Brendan also enjoys his trout fishing and more so stream trout fishing. Brendan has also been fishing the Noojee area, with the Latrobe, Toorongo and Loch rivers all getting a look at. Brendan found that small shallow running 'jerkbait' style hardbodies were the most effective, especially in foil sided flashy gold and natural colours. For most of these smaller rivers this style of lure is an ideal starting point as it won't dive too deep and snag up, and will also hold quite well in faster water. Using an 'aggressive-natural-neutral' colour range you will normally be able to find a lure that will get you the results on the day.


Brendan found the fishing really hotted up just before dark as there was a hatch of small caddis which really got the trout aggressive. The period just pre-dusk can see fish become active is holes and pools that you may have already fished with no result, so it pays to hang around sometimes and see just how many fish are in the deeper sections. If you're a keen fly caster, this period is when you will enjoy some success using larger dry flies up to size 10 or 8, especially in a 'stimulator' or 'elk hair caddis' pattern.


Just over the range, Eildon has still been producing fish from the pondage using coarse style methods, with the odd fish taking a long-cast spoon or hardbody from the banks. The weir itself is sitting at around 55% at the moment and has been rather slow on the trout front, with the normal response from anglers searching for trout being "Yeah a few small ones". Most of the fish being caught at the moment are coming from the main arm, from Eildon boat harbour through to just inside Big River inlet. Flat-lined tassie devils are definitely a good option to carry, with a larger 'spawning trout' pattern hardbody set a few metres down also giving you the chance at annoying a larger fish on it's way to spawn.

Customer Sam entered the Eildon Fishing Competition last week and didn't do too bad. Sam was fishing the main lake casually chasing the trout and he ended up with a couple of nice fish. Trolling lures around the timbered edge found browns to around 40cm for Sam, with assist hook rigged flatlined spoons and tassies doing the damage.  

 


The natives have been fishing well over recent weeks, with many holidaying anglers getting amongst the Murray cod and yellowbelly, from Nagambie on the Goulburn right up to the Murray around Barmah. Young guns Jayden and Lester fished with their dad up at Bonnie Doon recently where they landed 5 nice chunky yellowbelly. The most productive method was fishing a small freshwater yabby on a paternoster rig, with 2/0 'shiner' style hook the best choice.


Customer Steve was fishing up around Eildon just recently where he landed this ripper Murray cod on an Icon spinnerbait. The cod measured 84cm and was in excellent condition.


Customer Andy has been up on Lake Mulwala again recently where he loves to target the cod. Andy has found the fishing a bit slower of late, with water traffic probably a bit factor. Andy has still been getting a few smaller cod like this one later during the day and into the evening on surface lures, with this purple 'cod cracker' one of his favourites.


Customer Steve has been fishing further along the Murray near Barmah, where the fishing has been patchy. Steve recently caught a few nice silver perch like this by bobbing live shrimp around the snags. Steve has been catching the shrimp in bait traps along the edges of the river, with gum leaves or aniseed scent attracting the shrimp in.


Customer Chris has recently come back from holidaying along the Goulburn River at Nagambie. Chris sent us these photos of his sons Flynn and Atticus both with their first ever Murray cod caught just downstream of Nagambie. Both the boys are well and truly hooked on fishing and are well aware of catch and 'live to fight another day' fishing.

 

With the Murray cod season opening in less than 2 weeks, now is the time to stock up and get yourself prepared! Make sure to check over all of your lures, hooks, leader and terminal gear along with your rod guides and main lines. You don't want to lose that trophy fish through something that could have been prevented!

Murray cod season looks to be a good season this year with river levels slightly down and clearer at the moment. Most of the main lakes such as Eildon, Mulwala and Nillahcootie are looking good also. Customer Kevin fished a mate's dam just recently where there were rumored to be a couple of decent cod, and he found out exactly what sort of cod were in there! Kevin's fish ate a small Jitterbug surface paddler.

 

Even though this time of year isn't really known as being the most productive time of year to target Murray cod, they can still be caught if you're willing to brave the cold and put in the time. During the cooler months of the year Murray cod cod generally slow their metabolism down and don't actively hunt as much, but they can still be caught. Between the lure vs bait debate, lures come into their own for triggering a strike from a cod during cooler weather. Even though they might not actually want to hunt for food, by repeatedly casting or running a lure over a likely looking snag you can tap into the cod's 'territorial' nature - whereas they are virtually annoyed into striking the lure.

Staff member Ian took his kayak up to Eildon just recently in search of a big winter cod. Ian spent a bit of time looking for likely cod water and then strategically worked these areas over to be sure he maximized his chances. After a long day on the water, Ian managed to land a 93cm 'barrel' cod from around the Frasers area. Ian landed the fish on a size 1 Stumpjumper in a redfin pattern.


Customer Ivan also had a taste of Eildon native fishing recently. Ivan caught this nice little cod from the timber in the background on a purple Yakamito lure. Fish of this size are very common to catch in the lake this days, and will only get bigger with plenty of prey items available for them. 

 

 

Lake Eildon has still been fishing well for most species, and will continue almost into the depths of winter. At present the lake level is sitting at around 55% and has been steadily dropping since summer as water is diverted down the Goulburn for irrigation. What this means is that there is more structure exposed and the fish are continuously moving to new structure, so a bit of searching around is always necessary. Never the less, fish like redfin, trout and golden perch have still been caught on a variety of methods. Customer Trevor came into the store after fishing with a group of anglers up towards the Bonnie Doon end of the lake, where there were a few nice goldens caught. A few were caught almost in front of the Peppin Point caravan park trolling deep running hardbodies. Customer George also caught nice goldens like this 61cm model on scrubworms recently in the lake.

 

 

The local freshwater fishing has still been reasonable for anglers interested. The local family fishing lakes and urban lakes have been producing trout, redfin and some big carp - with different techniques for each. Powerbait on a suspended bait rig will produce the trout, redfin have been active on troutworms and small plastics, and the carp have been taking maggots fished under a small sliding float. Rowville lakes has been one of the better spots to catch all 3 fish.

Further afield around Eildon, the lake has seen some good numbers of yellowbelly caught up the top end around Bonnie Doon. Most of the fish caught have been taken while lurecasting, but the odd fish has also been caught by anglers fishing scrubworms and small yabbies around the timber also.

Eildon pondage has been producing some nice size trout for persistent anglers using bait, lure and fly methods. Baitfishing with both powerbait and maggots has been a good method or catching some quality trout.Fly anglers fishing the margins have also been picking up a few decent fish. Steven and Tony along with other members of the Southern Fly Fishers had a crack at some margin trout on the pondage recently, where some nice fish were caught. Trout to 5lb were caught, with most around the 2-3lb mark. Wet flies such as Wooly Buggers and Mrs Simpson type patterns were the best performers under bright and still conditions.

 

With the recent warm weather the freshwater species have come on the bite locally. Trout rivers are now warmed up with plenty of insect activity, which stirs the fish up. Redfin and yellowbelly in the lakes and impoundments are also very active. Customer Jordan went for a mid week session on one of the local rivers outside of the suburbs, and in a couple of hours landed 4 trout between himself and a mate. The small stream was at perfect flow and temperature and produced 2 nice size browns on small minnow imitation hardbodies, while 2 smaller rainbows rose to take dry flies. 

The yellowbelly and redfin have been active in lakes such as Sugarloaf and Eildon. The northern end of lake Eildon has been producing some very nice yellowbelly, with fish to around 6kg getting caught. Most anglers are targeting the fellas with lures, with the odd one caught while bobbing small yabbies around standing timber for redfin. Small to medium floating hardbodies have also been good when trolled or cast against the banks and standing timber, along with lipless crankbaits in the 60mm size. 

At Sugarloaf reservoir the redfin and yellowbelly have been caught on smaller soft plastics and hardbodies fished along the banks. Warm afternoons have been the go, just be on the lookout for any legless company slithering around nearby grasses. A reminder that you can ONLY fish artificial baits and lures in sugarloaf, natural baits such as worms and maggots are prohibited.