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 western crater lakes and surrounding waterways have been fishing well of late with a good number of people interested in Bullen Merri in particular, which has been fishing well for the chinook salmon and trout. Many anglers catch both fish on various trolling methods, generally with the use of a downrigger as the lake is very deep. Fishing around the thermocline can produce good results along with actively searching for bait schools.


Friend of the shop John 'Mr Jinkai' has been out in the crater lakes recently where trout and salmon have been caught. John's most recent trip was last week where some big salmon were caught deep bait fishing. The bait of choice were pilchard strips, fished on a simple running sinker rig around the bait schools. Cubing with pilchards also helps tremendously to keep the schools of salmon around. Small metal 'flutter' jigs fished around the schools have been working well also.


Customer Ryan and mate Nick have been fishing some of the western lakes in search of some bigger redfin. The larger redfin seem to proliferate the western lakes, so if big redfin are your target - west is best! The guys have been fishing slightly bigger lures to weed out the smaller fish, with 4'' plastics and also yellowbelly sized vibes getting the interest of the larger fish. Some of the larger fish have been belting the lures as they are burnt back through the water as fast as possible, so it always pays to mix up your lure style and retrieve speed also.

 


There have been plenty of local freshwater options lately for anglers to catch on lures or bait without driving too far. Carp, trout, redfin and yellowbelly can all be caught fairly locally to the suburbs if you're will to put the time and effort in. Customer Ryan and mate Nick have been doing well on the redfin of late, with some chunky fish landed on lures. Ryan and Nick have been fishing various locations around the suburbs with all of them holding fish. Ryan has found that when the smaller redfin start to bite it is then time to fish a bigger lure. The larger lures have been getting the attention of the larger fish, with loud 'full tungsten' style lipless vibes really getting the fish going when worked back aggressively. 


Customer Mohd visiting from Malaysia enjoys his fly fishing and has been doing well lately. Mohd has been fishing lots of stocked urban lakes and catching trout on midge patterns just under the surface and also some big carp on wet style flies. Some of the carp Mohd has been catching have been around 10lb in weight, and they can be good sport on light fly or spin gear - and there's plenty of them to test your skills.

Customer Niroj has been fishing some of the local waterways lately too in search of yellowbelly and redfin. Niroj has found plenty of smaller redfin as bycatch while looking for yellas, and some of the yellowbelly he has caught have been very solid. Small gape spinnerbaits in 1/4oz fished with assist stingers have gotten the better of most of the short striking fish.


 

This is the best time of year to be chasing yellowbelly. As the water temperature warms up a bit the yellas go into feeding mode. If you're keen to catch a few, some hotspots for them at the moment are; Lake Eildon, Lake Eppalock, Murray River around Robinvale and also in the river near Lake Hume.

Customer Dave fished over at Lake Eppalock just recently where he got onto a few nice Yellowbelly. Dave landed 3 nice fish up to 52cm, casting small lipless lures in a redfin pattern from his boat. Small lipless lures that imitate juvenile redfin are a very good starting point as they can cover all areas of the water column.