It's mid August and again trout season for the rivers and streams is fast approaching here in Victoria. While the rivers are still closed for a few weeks yet there's still plenty happening on the trout scene for anglers to get amongst! Emma from the Women In Recreational Fishing group recently went up to Eildon to fish the lake, and although it was foggy, overcast and freezing cold she did manage to get into some lovely brown trout. Many of the browns from the lake here spend their time in the open water and take on a very pale brown/silver appearance, with not as many spotted markings as their river cousins. For those fishing the lake, the ever reliable tassie devils have still been producing, especially when upgraded with ultra-sharp assist hooks.


Customer Paul also got into some open water brown trout, although down at Blue Rock Lake. Paul was fishing from his hobie kayak where he slow trolled tassies around the drop-offs and timbered edges of the lake to land some trout to around 45cm. Paul found all of the fish to be actively feeding in the open water, and have the same pale silvery appearance. The best tassie on the day was the no55 pink, fished on 'Dancing Jack' assist hooks.


On the bait fishing scene, there have still been some nice stockies coming from the pondage. Customer Simon came into the store to stock up on the essential ingredients for successful fishing around the Eildon area. Simon found a bag of nice rainbows from the lower pondage using the coarse method and specialist trout dough for bait.

Down at Karkarook Park there have been trout on offer for those fishing the same methods. Customer Sarah and her son Harry fished the lake recently where Harry managed some lovely rainbow trout. The best method was again the berley/feeder cage method and a powerbait/trout dough bait concoction.


A fair bit further south in Tasmania, Matt Sheriff reports that the Tassie trout season has started off well. Matt has been using his Hawk 'sniper' hardbodied lures with great effect on some solid lake trout. Many of the colours were working well but the standout have been the gold 'spawn belly' models, with some of the fish really hammering the lures on a 'stop-start' jerking retrieve.

 


While the windy weather of late hasn't been great for the boat based fisherman wanting to get out in the bays, the local estuaries around the bay and further afield have been producing some good bream. The mixed freshwater in the local systems has stirred them up enough to get the fish fired up and give anglers a bit of cover. The Patto has been running hot with the bream of late, even though it hasn't been getting fished that much.

Customer Tony got down to the river recently and caught some nice sized fish among the canals. Tony was fishing small live freshwater yabbies on fine gauge hooks on light leader to fool fish up to 39cm. 


More anglers having success in the Patto have been using mixed techniques. Customer Tony fished the main river near the end boat ramps during the week to land bream to around 35cm. Tony was using shrimp and freshwater yabbies on a basic running sinker rig. The main river has been seeing a lot of attention for mullet fisherman of late, and a lot of the berley and commotion also brings the bream around for a feed.

Customer Jake has been landing some chunky fish on lures in the canals. Jake has been using a mixture of hardbodies and plastics to land the cunning fish, but his persistence and belief that the fish will eventually eat a lure is also a vital skill to employ on such tricky fish. If you're into your plastics and lure fishing, make sure you pop into the store and check out some of the new lures available.


Down the road the Gippsland lakes have been fishing hot-and-cold for the bream. Being such a large system, the fish can be at the complete opposite of where you're fishing - especially if you only fish a few locations. Generally at present most of the bream and lower in the systems, where they school up in preparation for spawning. They can be frustrating to tempt when in such a mood, but cycling through different lure and bait options will see you eventually gain success. Customer Paul was down in the lakes system recently and found the the fish were keyed onto his plastics, with the newest model UV loaded 'Squidgies' being the most effective.


In the same part of the world angler Pat got into some nice bream. Pat was fishing the 3 rivers out in the Gippsland lakes and caught his brace of fish on fresh sandworm.

 


Many land based anglers have been making the most of the pinkies lately with no shortage of excellent eating size fish about. Just about any pier, beach or rockwall along the eastern side of the bay with some reef nearby is worth having a look at, especially after a few days of strong westerly winds. Customer Steve has been getting a few around the traps with fish to 45cm pretty common place, and ideal for the plate!


Customer Kien has been making the most of the large numbers of pinkies that have been about over the winter. Kien has been fishing Victoria Harbour or the 'Docklands' for his fish, with many fish around 40cm landed and some larger up to 2.5kg. The most effective bait has been the humble pilchard, fished on a running rig. Heavier leader has been useful when fishing the harbour as there are many barnacle encrusted posts and objects for the fish to break off against.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been having some fun on the school sized pinkies out in the bay. James has found the numbers of nice table fish to be very good, with plenty of happy customers taking home a feed of fish. Most of the larger fish have been found out from the reef a bit further, as the big schools normally hold tight to the reef for cover. Having a quality sounder to locate the small patches of fish is vital, and once found smaller baits of pilchard and squid on 2/0 sized hooks have been deadly.

While it may not seem it yet, snapper season is just around the corner. There have already been some scattered reports of solid fish around towards the southern end of the bay. Most of the southern land based spots - Mornington Pier, Mt Martha Rocks will be worth fishing from now on - especially for a 'trophy' fish. Regardless the fish aren't far away, so it's the time to get your gear organized for the season.

 


Even though the trout streams are closed it's not the end of trout fishing! The local lakes have some fish in store for keen anglers, and Eildon pondage has been fishing well. The pondage has been fishing well with dough style baits and coarse methods, just make sure you prepare yourself well for this style of fishing - simply throwing out powerbait on any rig and rod won't cut it! Some of the pondage trout are large and educated, and a tiny but strong no14 dough hook and light line is sometimes the only way to trick them. If you're not sure about how to rig up pop in store and grab the pieces you need, as it's a long drive home with no trout!


Customer and Eildon semi-local Zoran has been fishing the pondage during the week, and while things were slow for him he still landed 7 nice fish. A mixture of 'trout dough' and 'chartreuse' powerbait got the interest of the trout, which were all rainbows. The brown trout sound like they have moved into a spawn mode, but they can still be caught.

While the pondage is going well, many of the local family fishing lakes have just received a top up stocking of trout prior to the School Holidays - so it's perfect timing to get the kids out and fishing! Staff member Don has been taking his kids out to many of the local stocked lakes and they are producing plenty of feisty rainbow trout on both bait and lure!

 


Most anglers don't realize but the winter fishing for both pinkies and snapper can be excellent. While numbers of fish aren't as thick as say October, the rewards are certainly there for anglers braving the cold conditions. There have been fish scattered all over the bays bu the real hot spot for numbers of fish has been the top end of Port Phillip. The reefy areas from Black Rock further north right up into the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers have been the better spots to focus on.  Most of the fish have been from 35 - 50cm but ththere have been much larger fish about.

Customer Maresi caught a ripper fish from Lagoon pier recently under the cover of darkness. Not much details are known about the capture but either way landing a big snapper sure beats staying at home!


The typical schooling size fish from the Docklands region have been on the chew lately, with both bait and lures getting bites. Productive baits have been pilchard and salmon fillets, fished on twin snelled 1/0 hooks. If you are able to cast baits like this unweighted you will be much more successful, as the fish will aggressively take the bait as it slowly wafts down. The same can be said with soft plastics - heavily weighted jigheads might gain extra casting distance but they all snag up much quicker and don't attract as many bites on 'the drop' like lighter weights do. Small 3 inch grub and paddletail style plastics are proving very effective at the moment, especially through the afternoon into night.


Customer Ryan has been catching plenty of fish in the 40cm size range from the Docklands and nearby piers, on both lure and bait. Ryan's more successful bait lately has been small strips and fillets of Australian salmon, which have also been plentiful.

Customer Jake has also been catching quite a few good sized pinkies while chasing bream in the metro rivers on lures. The lower sections of the Maribyrnong and Yarra have been holding good sized schools which have been responding well to worm style soft plastics. As these schools have been moving with the tide, having a depth sounder capable of locating them without too much fuss s the best way to maximize your fishing time.

 


The river around the bay have been fishing well for bream and mullet over the week. Conditions in the rivers have cleared up somewhat compared to what they were earlier in the week, and subsequently the bream should become a touch more fickle, but they can still be caught. The mullet have been responding very well to fine mist berley if you're fishing Patterson river or Mordialloc creek, and a little bit of surface chop will definitely help as well.


Customer Ryan has been fishing the Maribyrnong river during the week where he has landed some nice bream up to 35cm. Ryan has been finding the most productive method for him is very slowly 'grubbing' a small soft plastic along the bottom. Scent has helped turning small bites and knocks into solid hook up on shy fish also.


In the Patto customer Jake has been catching some excellent bream on lures. Jake has been fishing a mixture of lures and recently tried out some Yakamito sinking stickbaits with great success. Jake managed some quality fish on the 2 different colours that he used  with most fish eating the lure as it fell slowly towards the bottom. Fishing these stickbaits on a tight line will ensure that any subtle bites are detected as soon as the fish knock them.


Small freshwater yabbies have accounted for good numbers of fish from the Patto recently, especially when fished with  as little sinker weight as possible. For a lure to imitate small yabbies the Megabass bottle shrimp have been very effective when fished on 1/32oz beat roller jigheads.

 

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Not that many people realize, but the snapper in the bay have been worth fishing for whether you're landbased or from the boat. Winter sees some snapper hang around, but many angler associate Spring with snapper fishing. At the moment there aren't as many fish about as in Spring, but they are generally good size and there to be caught in you're willing to target them. Many of the piers along the Eastern side of the bay have been worth a shot, with customer Kong claiming a nice 4kg fish for himself just a few nights ago from Mordi.


The piers with heavy reef nearby have been the go, as the fish will graze over the reef and onto the sand and mud nearby during rougher weather, especially during the night or low light periods. Piers worth a look at the moment have been; Mordialloc, Beaumaris, Black Rock, Brighton, Kerford Road and the multiple structures at Williamstown and right up into the Yarra itself. If boat fishing is more your thing, the extensive reef from Ricketts through to Brighton has been good, along with Victoria Harbour, or better known as 'Docklands'.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has recently been having a ball on school sized snapper and pinkies from Black Rock all the way north to the docks. James has gotten stuck into the schools of fish that have been hanging about in the harbour, with fish to 4kg coming out. Baits of fresh squid or small pilchards have been excellent when fished on smaller 2/0 suicide style hooks and very little weight.

 


There have been some squid masters in town during the week! Eisuke and Taro from Yamashita Japan were in Melbourne for a few days and we were lucky enough to host a Squid Information session at the store with the guys. Although they were literally in Melbourne for around 48 hours, they managed to find the time to sneak some fishing in at our local rock ledges, and their in depth knowledge didn't disappoint!


Over 80 keen squid anglers came to the info night at the store, and plenty of expert information was passed on. With giveaways including limited edition Yamashita squid jigs, caps, stickers and even rods everyone walked away with something!


With insightful knowledge of what jig to use and where, Eisuke managed some nice squid from the rocks down near Mornington. The Yamashita 'K' series jigs were the most effective choice in this location, and caught him squid when many other anglers around were struggling.


Staff member Don has also been fishing for squid from the rocks around the same areas, from Mt Eliza through to Mt Martha. Don has been finding the squid size to be a bit smaller than average but numbers overall have been pretty good, and a perfect area to try during calmer weather and clean water. The most successful jigs for Don have been size 2.5 Yamashita '490 glow' patterns, with sunset bringing out the best bites from the squid.


A bit further down the peninsula customer Angelo has been catching squid and cuttlefish from the pier at Flinders. Angelo had been finding the squid fishing alright before the rough weather, but brighter colour jigs were working the best once the water colour changed a bit. At present the Flinders has been very discoloured, so if you're thinking about heading down south - better options are Sorrento and Portsea.

 


While the reports haven't been coming in thick and fast, the land based action at this time of year can be excellent. Depending what you want to catch and how far you wish to travel, there are normally plenty of options.

Down along the shores of Westernport customers Matt and Brendan have been having fun with some nice table sized gummies. The areas such as Stockyard point and Tenby point have been good as has the Somers region. Freshly caught salmon, pike, yakka or squid has been excellent, otherwise pillies and frozen squid or cuttlefish have also been doing well with fish averaging around 4kg. Tides will depend on location you choose, as you won't be able to access some areas on high tides, others you will want to fish as the tide reaches it's peak.


The surf beaches have started producing some numbers of salmon, with no huge schools present at the moment but as always the larger fish seem to come through before the smaller school fish do. Peninsula beaches such as Gunnamatta and St Andrews have had some solid fish to just shy of 2kg, with early morning or late afternoon high tides the hot times. Bluebait and squid have been the best baits, but there have been a good number of fish caught on unbaited 'flasher' style rigs and surf poppers. Remember whenever you fish the beaches these types of rigs will stand out to the fish much easier than a normal rig, and increase your chances of a bite.

Customers Mark and Darren fished the beach down towards Venus bay, which has been producing better numbers of smaller school fish. The guys fished beach no.5 where they caught salmon to just under a kilo, and a couple of flatties to around 35cm. The guys found that bluebait and pipi were the best baits, with a number of fish taking the red surf popper also.


The pinkies have been fishing very well from most of the shore based locations around Port Phillip bay recently. The many rock groynes and points, along with the piers have had schools of fish anywhere from 25cm through to around 3kg. Fishing first or last light is the prime time to catch a few, but right through the night they have also been fairly active. First light has seen some better sized fish come through, with customer Sergio catching some lovely fish to nearly 2kg during the morning.


Sergio has been fishing a few different locations around the top end of the bay, with nearly all of them producing fish. He has been finding pilchard or salted mackerel fillets to be the best baits lately, with pinkies, flathead and small gummies all taking the same baits.

 

 

 

While a lot of anglers wouldn't think it, many 'swamps' in and around the outer metro suburbs can produce an array of fish, if you know how to look for them. In any given system you can catch redfin, rainbow trout, brown trout, carp, roach, tench, eels, blackfish, silver perch, yellowbelly and murray cod. Not all locations hold these fish, but some most certainly do. The main culprits you'll come across are of course carp, redfin and eels - especially if you're bait fishing.

In a local wetland customer Daniel has been throwing the newest Aussie colour 'bent minnows' to attract the attention of some XL redfin. Daniel has been catching some chunky fish, with 40cm+ the norm in some systems. Because of the reeds and shallow weed Daniel has been fishing the shallow surface lures and spending less time fouled up and more time hooked up!


A typical series of 'wetland' or swamp lakes is somewhere like Berwick Springs. Now anyone can simply open up their default mapping app on phone, or a melways if you're old school and find these sort of locations. Many are overlooked because of their proximity to housing estates or 'un-glamorous' look, but virtually all of them will hold freshwater fish of some sort. With many interconnected lakes and drains, Berwick Springs is a large habitat for these fish to move around in, and plenty of vegetation to support food for these fish. With carp to over 10kg in here, some of these systems can hold some serious fish!


Speaking of carp, customer Jordan has been catching school sized fish on the fly rod in these sorts of lakes. Jordan knows that there carp in almost all of them, and they are a very good fish to hone your lure and fly fishing skills on. Jordan has found plenty of carp sunning themselves and cruising just under the surface in search of food, and a well executed cast and presentation of fly has gotten the interest of a few. If you're more a bait fisherman then these fish will still test your skills - but you certainly need to rig and gear up for them accordingly. No 4/0 snapper hooks and heavy lines here, most of the time fishing without any finesse will see you go home without a bite. If you're interested in fine tuning your fishing on these readily available species talk to the guys in the shop to make sure you're gearing up correctly, and giving yourself a good chance at catching something.