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.

 


The natives such as Murray cod and yellowbelly have really been fishing well of late. The cooler weather has started some activity from the larger fish also. Many of the main lakes have been fishing well including Mulwala and Eildon. Customer Mario fishes for cod and yellowbelly regularly up around Cohuna on the Murray, however he fished lake Mulwala just recently for some nice fish. Mario did a bit of bait fishing and caught yellowbelly to 51cm using fresh shrimp fished around the willows.


Trolling stumpjumpers Mario also caught Murray cod to 57cm. Most anglers know of the popularity of stumpjumpers, with their tight sway and highly buoyant nature ideal for slowly knocking through timber to wake up the fish.


Customer Hendrik also fished around Mulwala just last week where he had some great cod fishing. Hendrik spent his time casting surface and subsurface lures around the timber in search of that big cod, with one he thinks may have been the 'metery' coming up for a look. Amongst this inquiry Hendrik caught and released a heap of smaller fish to around 60cm, with wakebait style lures proving to be the most effective and enjoyable. The Jackall 'chanwake' was his favourite, with prop tail and loud knocking internal ball calling the fish in.

Customer Clark fished Mulwala also just recently to land some quality fish. Clark fished with mates and found both cod and yellowbelly of excellent size. Clark is a proficient lure caster and found that constant lure changes were needed to get some activity happening.

Good size yellowbelly have been active in Mulwala as the water temperature has started dropping, with slightly smaller lures such as 3/8oz spinnerbaits and Jackall 'TN' style lures working very well.


Back at Eildon, there have been some quality cod caught but it's still a persistent man's game. Water levels in the lake are around 55% and there are some good fishable banks and the moment, with plenty of excellent structure exposed and waiting for a slight increase in water level. Staff members Dylan and George fished the lake during the week for a very quiet session, but did have a few inquiries from lethargic fish. 

Customer Michael also fished the lake recently but had better success. Michael fished the Big River area of the lake and landed 2 lovely Murray cod to 76cm using spinnerbaits. Michael was slow trolling these spinnerbaits along the timbered edges when he caught these fish. If you're going to troll lures such as spinnerbaits, be sure to troll them as SLOW as possible, as trolling them too fast will see them roll and blow out, and twist your line.

 

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.

 

It seems that many people have been fishing the inland rivers and lakes over the Easter break, with a few reports from various locations around the state coming through. The Autumn months can fish very well for both Murray cod and yellowbelly, though many people only associate these fish with the warm Summer months. Customer Jacques was up along the Goulburn River just recently where he did a spot of casual bait fishing. Jacques normally fishes the salt out in the bays and offshore, but managed to catch a few small Murray cod and trout cod in the river. Jacques released all of his fish safely back into the river for someone else to catch.


Customer Emilio has also been catching a few cod. Emilio has been fishing the Murray itself, around Cohuna. Emilio has been getting out on the water early, and suggests to start your fishing around 6am as these cod are most active around then. Emilio has been switching between bardi grubs and also freshwater yabbies to catch his fish, with a small amount of berley helping to get the activity started.


Not too far down the river, customer Long and mates have been catching Murray cod also. Long has been fishing the river around Echuca in a small tinny to land cod up to 65cm. Long has been fishing the dense snag piles using bardi grubs as bait for most of his fish.


Back towards Mulwala the lake has been fishing well. While the Easter ski and wake crowds have been tough to get around during the heat of the day, the fishing around low light has been good. There have been numerous cod over 1m caught by anglers casting swimbaits and surface lures around, although this fishing isn't for the easily bored. It can take 500 casts in a session to strike gold on these fish, and sometimes after all this casting you may not land a fish.

Staff member Dylan tangled with monster cod over the Easter weekend at Mulwala, only to have it earn it's freedom early as it broke 80lb leader on the snags. The big fish ate a big lure (25cm long) so it pays to go big when looking for a big cod! 

Customer Long also managed a fish in around the Bundalong section of the lake to land some nice yellowbelly to around 2kg on medium sized freshwater yabbies.


Staff member Dylan and mate Daniel took a long drive over the Easter weekend up to northern NSW in search of big cod at Copeton dam. While the Easter crowds were crazy with jetskiis, wakeboats and family cruisers all over the place, the guys worked a lot of the lake in search of a fish. Daniel managed a nice yellowbelly on a swimbait slow rolled around a pile of submerged rocks which at least got them off the board.

 

 


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.

 


The Murray River is a popular family holiday location, with nice serene bushland flanking a lot of it's banks and a large amount of famliy friendly camping areas. The fishing on the Murray itself can vary but over the warmer months the cod and yellowbelly can be caught on bait and lures. While on family holiday, 16 year old Jaxson caught his first Murray cod out of the river near Barooga, on his second day fishing. Jaxson got some great advice from the Compleat Angler guys and was wrapt with his fish. Great work Jaxson!


Further down the river, young Levi caught this nice 38cm yellowbelly around Piangil. The yellowbelly in the area should stay active until around May, so there's plenty of time to catch yourself some like this one!

 


While most trout fisheries go a bit quieter during the heat of Summer, Eildon stays pretty steady. The trout can still be caught in the weir if you're fishing down a bit deeper targeting thermoclines and focusing your efforts around low light conditions, but with other natives to catch like cod and yellowbelly the lake trout get overlooked a little during Summer.

Eildon pondage on the other hand is a more consistent fish producer year round - especially if you're using the correct methods. The pondage has been RED HOT lately, so if there were ever a time to go for a casual drive by yourself or wit the kids, now would be it. Customer Zoran fished the pondage with mates last week where some nice solid browns were caught. Using pellet berley, long light rods and a mixture of dough and powerbait, the boys cleaned up.


On the subject of getting to Eildon - Fisheries Victoria have only just pumped the Eildon pondage full with another stocking of solid trout, stocked on Monday just gone. 300 solid ex brood fish with rainbows to 4kg and browns to 3.5kg were stocked into the pondage, so make sure you stock up and get up there ASAP for your chance at these trophy trout.


Staff member George snuck up to the pondage earlier this week where he found that the trout were going nuts! George coarse fished the upper pondage and caught and released nearly 70 fish, with a few methods working the best for him. Open ended feeder cages let the correct amount of scent out to fire the fish up, while loose feeding sinking trout berley pellets also kept the fish active. George found that powerbait in pink and rainbow colours were dynamite when fished on a size 8 'mosquito' hook, along with a new specialist trout dough that is in the trial stages, and hopefully in store soon.

 

 

If there were ever a time to be up at Eildon, now would be it. Apart from fishing the weir itself for Murray cod, yellowbelly, redfin and trout - the pondage is producing some lovely trout. While the banks of the pondage have been lined more than usual with anglers this hasn't deterred the fish. Some quality trout have been caught on most methods including persistence, but coarse style baitfishing has been the silver bullet for these chunky trout.


Customers Zoran and Adam fished the pondage just earlier this week to land some nice fish, both browns and rainbows. A mixture of various coloured 'powerbait', trout dough and correct berley mixture brought these fish undone. Last week customer Zoran (different Zoran this time!) fished the upper pondage with his son to land trout to around 6lb using powerbait in the 'sherbert' colour and a fine mix berley. The guys also caught a couple of fish casting spoons around as well, with brown trout and gold colours both working.


Customer Gordon has also been giving the pondage trout a good nudge recently with very similar methods to those mentioned above coming up trumps. Along with 'spoons' Gordon has caught his share on soft plastics and also the deadly powerbait/trout pellet berley method.


The coarse fishing/pellet berley method is very effective on all manner of stocked trout, from Eildon pondage to local stocked lakes, so if you're unsure of exactly what is used talk to the guys in store as the results really do speak for themselves!

 


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.