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.

 


While the stream ans river trout season has closed up for 2018 there have been some nice fish caught, and the lakes both local and out of town are producing trout. During his last session on the Goulburn before close customer Dennis had some excellent fishing. Dennis managed a few smaller trout while spinning bladed lures in the river but the cherry on top was a lovely big rainbow on fly that weighed 1.5kg. Dennis managed the rainbow on a small dry fly on the edge of a fast run just behind Thornton.

The Eildon pondage has been worth a fish for many anglers, with some large brood stock fish just recently released. Store owner Glenys was up along the pondage over the weekend with friend Greg where a few fish were caught. Greg and Glenys caught trout from the Bourke Street end of the pondage on both bait and lure. The smaller rainbows took a liking to only the 'chunky cheese' powerbait amongst all other flavours, and the Yakamito trout spoons also worked well when cast and worked back on a slow retrieve.


A bit closer to the suburbs the local stocked lakes have been fishing well for many. Customer Nathan was fishing Devilbend just recently where he caught a mixture of both brown and rainbow trout using Yakamito trout spoons. Nathan has been casting them long and wide from the first jetty, and letting them sink down a bit before starting a medium paced wind.


Customer Tommy has just recently gotten back into freshwater fishing, and has been super keen to get out there after purchasing a new light lure casting outfit. Tommy has been honing his lure skills at local lakes Devilbend and Karkarook with good results. From Devilbend Tommy has been catching some nice trout and redfin on soft plastics, with small paddletails like the Zman slim swim the most effective, while the redfin are in very good numbers at Karkarook. The same soft plastics along with small blades and vibes have been doing the job when very slowly moved along the bottom.

 


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.


 

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.