For the holiday makers heading to any of the states' northern impoundments, the native fish are about as active as they will get over the summer months. Water temperatures in all but the coldest regions have warmed dramatically and this has sent species like Murray cod, yellowbelly and bass into overdrive.

Customers Jordan and Jinsu have done some work on the yellowbelly in recent weeks, and have caught fish to around 45cm in length. While yellas can take a bit of searching to find where they are holed up, normally once one is caught there is a good chance that a few more will be close by. Jordan and Jinsu found small profile vibes like the Daiwa 47S to be effective when hopped around likely rock ledges and fallen timber.

Customer Zoran also chased the yellas up towards Eildon with a mate and found some nice fish. Using modern sounder technology, the yellowbelly were able to be pinpointed and targeted using small plastics around fallen timber. Most of the fish were in the 45 - 55cm range which are chunky little fish.

The next couple of months should see the yellowbelly plateau off somewhat, with themselves and Murray cod still a good option for summer freshwater fisherman.  

 

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. 

 

 

Across at Sugarloaf Reservoir the yellowbelly have been going well up until the cold change. Customers Tyson and Chris have been getting into the yellas again with some double hook-ups for fun. Most of the fish have been around the 40cm which are good fun to catch. Small lipless crankbaits are the most productive lures, with 1/4oz spinnerbaits and small soft plastics not far behind. With the cooler weather moving across Melbourne at the moment, a good option for these fish is a suspending hardbody in the 60mm size range. The shut down fish can sit behind the paused lure and eat it while it is hanging in front of their face.

 

The spell of warm weather that we have had recently has kicked the native freshwater fish into gear, with fish like yellowbelly and cod feeding pretty actively. A neat local lake for targeting yellowbelly is Sugarloaf Reservoir, situated just North of the Yarra River in Christmas Hills. The lake contains yellowbelly and redfin, along with some large carp and the odd trout from stocking done in days gone by. It is an artificial bait and lure lake only, because it is part of Melbourne Water's water storage.

Customer Joel fished the lake just recently and pulled out this nice little yellowbelly using a small lipless bait in a juvenile redfin colour scheme. Joel was walking the banks and found that slow hopping the lure worked well.

Customer Shannon also fished the lake last week where he walked the banks casting. He caught some nice redfin and yellowbelly, and found that the redfin caught were decent size for the area.

 

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.

 

The local redfin have kicked in over the last few weeks, with the cooler months of the year a good time to target them.

Customer David had a fish for them last week at Karkarook Park where he caught some quality fish up to 35cm using Zman 3" minnows in the UV Chartreuse colour. David said that a 1/4oz jighead enabled him to cast right out over the drop off where he pulled most of the reddies from.

Customer Jordan caught a few reddies on a bigger spinnerbait aimed at a Sugarloaf Golden perch during the week. Redfin have a large mouth for their size so lure size need not be too critical. In fact to target the larger fish, a big lure is often a better approach, as a 1kg redfin will have no problems eating a 100mm lure.

 

If you're keen to catch some freshwater natives, now's the time to get ready! With the mild weather we've had over the last few days, native fish like yellowbelly and Murray cod will be starting to become more active. Local lakes such as Sugarloaf and Eildon are hotspots to target yellowbelly, and they also provide good bycatch of redfin too. Eildon Guru Andy McCarthy landed this ripping yellowbelly of 15lb just a few days ago at Lake Eildon on a spinnerbait. What a fish!

 

The Yellowbelly or Golden Perch are starting to move about a bit more in most Victorian lakes and also in the Murray River. Spring is normally a very productive time of year to chase the Yellas' as the rising water levels bring food into the system for them, and along with warmer water temperatures which make them a bit more active in searching for food. The best part is you don't need a boat to access them, which is handy when the strong spring northerly winds come up!

 

Lake Eildon has been fishing well, with quieter conditions and less water traffic keeping the fish going.  While the Natives can still be caught, the colder conditions have been good for the Trout.  Staff member Dylan has been fishing the lake recently, with mixed bags.  While the Murray Cod can be hard work, he has caught Cod more often than not while targeting them.  Spinnerbaits and Large Lipless Crankbaits have been the best.  There are plenty of small Redfin about, and the trick is to move about the timber until you find the slightly larger fish.  While having a break from the Cod, Dylan has been trying his luck for some larger Trout, with colder water temperature bringing on plenty of surface activity.  Casting Hybrid Lipless Crankbaits like Jackall Mask Vibs has been a good way to stir up the bigger Trout sitting deep along the timbered shorelines of Big River and Jew’s Creek.

Customer Marek and his son have been fishing around Sugarloaf and Eildon while having a break from the saltwater action, and they have caught some nice Yellowbelly fishing soft plastics.  Small curl tail soft plastics have been the best for them.
 

Customer Peter recently tried some new lures out on the Trout. After picking a few different colours of Waxwing Jigs, Peter took them for a test run on the Ovens River out from Bright. He caught plenty of fish on them, and some very nice size fish, up to 2kg. He also said that he lost a much Trout estimated around 3-3.5kg when it jumped off. Peter said that the best thing about the lures was how simple they were to use, with a constant slow wind working the best.

 

While summer is not generally regarded as the peak time to fish for Trout, there has been some good action lately in most rivers and impoundments.  Lake Eildon is fishing well for all species, Trout, Redfin, and natives such as Golden Perch and Murray Cod.  Many regular customers enjoy fishing the lake at this time of year, and most are catching quality bags of Trout from the main lake and pondage on a variety of techniques. 

Laszlo has been catching Trout up to 800g along with some large Carp fishing the Jerusalem Creek arm of the lake using Scrubworms and Powerbait Nuggets.  Danny has also been fishing the Lake, mainly trolling small 7g tassies tight to the shoreline from Big River up towards Goughs Bay, and is being rewarded with plenty of Brown Trout averaging 300-500g, and also a few larger fish between 1-1.3kg.  Most of the fish took bright yellows and whites and were more active earlier in the morning before the sun got directly overhead.

Up around Bonnie Doon, the Redfin fishing continues to be very good, with the average sized fish being around 300g which is good.  Most anglers catching the larger fish are fishing larger baits of yabby or scrubworm and by doing this you can also catch a Cod or Yellowbelly, as customer Jim did.  While he didnt plan on catching the 4lb Yellowbelly while fishing for Redfin he certainly wasn't complaining!

Closer to home, Sugarloaf Reservoir has been hit and miss for Redfin, anglers persisting with small spinners or soft plastics are still finding some fish.  The key is to work the standing timber thoroughly, and if a school is found then stay in the area.  Changing lure colour and profile can help in fooling the fish also.

The upper Yarra River around Warburton has been fishing well for Trout recently.  The small flush of rain we received has dirtied the water slightly, but conditions for lure casting are still good with plenty of wadable water.  Staff member Dylan has fished the area a bit recently, and recommends using hardbodies with gold or flash sides.  Some of the better lures at the minute have been Ecogear MW62, Pontoon21 Gagagoon and Strike Pro Pygmys.  With the warm conditions the Redfin have also become more active, and will hit the same lures.  For the fly angler, French and Olive Bead-headed Nymphs are catching a lot of fish in the backwaters and slower pockets.

For anglers wanting to fish an easier technique but would rather not have to use live bait, the Gulp! Alive Crickets have been very effective on summer Trout.  Simply fished with splitshot or using the aid of a bubble float, the Crickets work well drifting down through riffles and runs and also in the deeper pools of the rivers.  Normally Grasshoppers and Crickets are on the menu for Trout during the warmer months of the year, so why not give the fish what they are looking for!