The freshwater reports have been overshadowed a bit by snapper but there has been a bit on offer in the sweet water. Murray cod season has just opened up and is looking good for the Summer ahead, there have been yellowbelly and redfin caught locally and the trout fishing has been excellent still.

Eildon pondage has again been the standout if you're chasing a couple of nice trout and not fussed on either lure or bait fishing. Customer Zoran has been fishing the pondage and has been catching fish to around 2kg on a mixture of dough and powerbait. Long rods fished with mono have been the go in setting the hook on subtle bites and pickups where shorter rods simply can't.


Eildon pondage received a top up of ex brood fish averaging 4kg last Thursday, with plans for another top up before Christmas, so it is well worth a trip up. Customer Jozef helped release some of the fish into the pondage which has baited him to get back up and try to catch them. Jozef did witness some large fish caught on small hardbodies as they cruised through the shallows as they hunted for small minnows and insects. Having a spin rod rigged with a small hardbody or plastic is a good idea while you're bait fishing.


A bit further north many anglers tried their luck fishing for cod over the opening weekend. Mulwala had a large field of anglers for the Cod Classic, with some lovely fish to over a metre caught. Customers Shane and Sue Brown fished the busy lake over the weekend with tough fishing but did manage a couple of small cod casting spinnerbaits at the timber.


Customer Steve also tried his luck for the first time on the cod, fishing the Murray up around Cobram. Steve and mate Ev camped in the area and tried a few techniques on the cod, with Ev landing a 57cm fish on a large yabby. Steve tried out some lures he purchased in store and nailed a nice 60cm fish on a spinnerbait. Steve has since purchased a baitcasting outfit to get into them even more.


Reports from Sugarloaf reservoir around Mebourne's outskirts is that it has been fishing well for yellowbelly. The dam is normally reasonably quiet for anglers but can be a good spot for a walk around the shoreline casting lures. Of late the yellowbelly have been active, with warm water bringing the fish on to the edges to look for food. Customer Ryan has been catching fish to around 40cm on a mixture of vibes and soft plastics. The vibes have been a fast way to 'search' the banks for a school of fish, while the weedless rigged soft plastics can be fished back slowly and thoroughly to make the most of the patch of fish.

 


With some warm weather coming through the freshwater reports haven't been as thick - as many stream trout anglers stay away from some of the snake infested rivers. But there has still been on offer if you are out and about! Down at Blue Rock Lake the redfin and bass have been getting caught by angler casting lures. Most of the redfin have been in the 25cm size range with big numbers moving about in the bays and coves. Many of the bass have also been on the small size but there are some big fish in there for those persistent enough. Customer Jordan has been catching a few on deep diving crankbaits along the edges of the timber with lures like the Daiwa Spike and Yakamito Devil Edge both working well.


Staff member Dylan has also been catching some fish to around 30cm size range in the lake, with small swimbaits and crankbaits working the best. The new Megabass Vibration-X Vattalion has been a very good addition to the box for this area, as the fish have really been hitting it.


The yellowbelly have been fishing well in most of the dams and impoundments around the state, with Lake Eildon producing some nice sized fish. The fish can be tricky to locate in such a big waterway but once they are found normally you can catch a couple. Fishing the vertical timber with plastics has been a good method on sounded schools, along with casting and trolling crankbaits on the rocky edges. Customer Jason has been catching some solid fish to 55cm on hardbodies from the shores of the lake over the week.


Among the yellowbelly some good sized redfin have been getting in the act. Fishing a bit larger lure has been one method of catching slightly bigger fish than normal, with small lures simply getting pestered by fry sized fish. The larger fish are happy to eat a bigger lure and you may catch a yellowbelly or two by upsizing lure.


Around the pondage there have still been some quality trout being caught, especially early during the day. The low light bite has been good for both lure and bait fishers here. Customer Frank has been landing some nice trout of both species on both methods, with coarse feeder fishing one method, and casting 13g Tassie Devils in colour 55 his other successful method.


Young angler Flynn fished down at Karkarook after coming into the store with his dad, and caught his first trout. Using the suggested dough and feeder cage rig suggested by the guys in store was the successful method. The locally stocked lakes can be quite productive at this time of year if you pay attention to the small details in rigging and fishing methods.


 


For anglers thinking about trout fishing over the long weekend, reports are still good! Whether you're going to stay local or head up into the high country the trout have been active enough to get into a few. Around the local stocked lakes there have been enough fish to catch both on lures and bait. Customer Scott came in to the store with daughter Pheonix to set themselves up for some local trout fishing, and after their first session young Pheonix managed to land her first fish, a nice little rainbow trout.


Customer Manny fished locally in the upper reaches of the Yarra to land nice brown trout to around 400g. Manny was fishing small shallow running hardbodies in a good black and gold contrasting colour. Being that the Yarra is silted and darker coloured water the flash of the gold gets attention while the dark silhouette gives a solid profile for fish to attack.


Up at Eildon the pondage has been fishing well again with some freshly released fish really getting in on the action. With a long weekend coming Eildon is the ideal location to try your luck on these freshly stocked fish, but ensure that you have the correct specialized tackle and bait. If you are unsure swing past the shop and talk to the guys who can get you set up.


While the smaller trout have been getting amongst it, there are still some thumpers to be caught. Customers Jozef and Margaret fished the pondage during the week where they landed some ripper trout on both bait and lure. Powerbait and dough fished well in the coarse berleying method while a couple of fish also took 7g tassies. Brighter coloured tassies and spoons are effective on the pondage and can trigger a reaction bite from the fish, so make sure you have bright as well as natural colours in your box.


Customer Zoran has also been getting amongst the solid trout on the pondage, with his last trip being early this week. Zoran mentioned that there is no shortage of smaller aggressive fish and good numbers could easily be caught if you are using the correct methods. Zoran did manage a few big fish on top of the smaller fish, with his best rainbow going 12lb and taking the specialzed trout dough fished on a feeder cage rig.

 

 


 


There has been a fair bit of action happening on the land based fishing front. All along the shoreline of the bay there has been activity from a few different options. Squid and salmon have been plentiful and the landbased pinkies and snapper have been good.

Customer Brett took his young fisher mate Walter down to the local piers on the peninsula where some big salmon had been spotted. Casting small metal lures around the current lines and drop offs resulted in some super fat salmon hitting the deck of the pier. Some of the locals were even getting belted on large squid jigs, so the competition between fish is fierce. Keep an eye out for the bait schools if you are fishing the piers, as large numbers of pilchards and small anchovies are in the bay at the moment, as these fish are gorging themselves on them.


The peninsula around Mornington and Frankston has been producing some super-sized squid over the past few weeks, which have been much bigger than usual. Size 2.5 jigs and small squid are the norm in the area, but at the minute there are plenty about that area a kilogram or bigger, and size 3.5 jigs have been the go. Staff member Don fished Mornington pier during the week to land some of the bigger squid, using bigger jigs. Staff member Dylan also caught some similar sized squid in the area over the weekend, with size 3.5 jigs in UV lemon and pilchard patterns getting the job done.


On the land based snapper front, there hasn't really been a standout spot - moreso if you have a location that has produced for you it is worth fishing at the moment, especially with some strong wind forecast over the weekend. Customer and APL local ninja Cipto fished from a couple of the piers around Black Rock during the week to land a ripper school fish just before dark on bluebait. 


While normally an early season location, customer Frank has been catching snapper from the rocks on Phillip Island. Frank has been catching fish to over 70cm on pilchard on the surf gear, with some solid fish getting back in to the reef. If you are fishing the local rocks just be mindful of the swell and tide conditions, and fish heavy mono instead of braid if you can. Mono will give you a bit more resilience around the rocks and a some more shock absorption during those final headshakes and lunges.


From the local Port Phillip piers there have been some varied size snapper caught. There have been some large fish caught, with customer Peter reporting fish to 5kg from Mordi pier. These fish are not uncommon and it is just a matter of persistence and picking the conditions for them. Customer Connor also caught some nice pan sized fish from Mornington pier. Connor has been out early braving the wind and rain to catch his fish, which have taken bluebait. One thing's for sure, you won't catch fish like these sitting at home!


The school snapper have even been hanging around some of the piers in the southern end of the bay. While not normally a common catch from the piers around the Rye and Rosebud area, customer Eisa reports of some nice table sized fish from Dromana pier. Fishing with pilchard and slimey mackerel Eisa caught 5 nice fish to 46cm and a good flathead. The first few hours of night were the most productive during the incoming tide.

 


Local lakes Karkarook and Devilbend have been producing quite a few rainbow trout for lure fishing anglers over thw past week. Rowville lakes has also reported some trout coming from the main lake but Karkarook and Devilbend have been doing the best. Young gun Ariiff has been catching plenty of trout down at Karkarook using some of his new lures, with the 'tailbenders' his go-to lure for here now.


Staff member George has been down to the lake and has also been catching the trout. George has been trialing new lures and testing some on the fish to see how they respond. George has had a few successful lures including the 'Nano Vibration' from Megabass. This tiny lure has been representing a small yabby very well along the clay and sandy shorelnes and the trout have been racing in to nail it.


Staff member Don has been catching rainbow trout from Devilbend during the week, with the fish active right into the early evening. Don has been seeing a lot of rising fish around the open water and these fish are generally trout eating 'midge' or small emerging insects. These fish can be tricky to catch but quick accurate castiing with a small 'buggy' style soft plastic or small gudgeon patterned hardbody will normally see a hook up. Don has been casting lightly weighted soft plastics at the cruising trout, with slim swims going well among other small mudeye patterns. While these fish can be frustrating to follow around and cast to, catching them can be rewarding.

 



Plenty of trout have still been caught by anglers fishing both local and further away. The trout fishing in the Eildon region has still been excellent with the pondage and Goulburn both producing fish, whether you choose to lure or bait fish. Some of the large rainbow trout are still being caught in the river with deep running plastics and heavier spoons finding their way down to the fish. The deeper runs will normally hold the best fish, and these runs normally go unfished by many anglers with their standard shallower running trout lures.



The pondage has been the go if you’re fishing dough-style baits and powerbait, but remember for this method to work as well as it should you must make up a berley mix consisting crushed trout pellets. Customer Jozef and his wife Margaret fished the pondage over the weekend and caught some lovely fish using this exact method.


While it’s not all bait fishing at the pondage, it still is the more consistent method. If you’re anything like customer George you will like casting lures about. Luckily the big rainbows that George has been catching are still quite partial to a hardbody lure.



Around the suburban stocked lakes the fish have been active since their recent school holiday stocking. Customer Cipto and Ariff fished Karkarook lake over the weekend and found a few nice little rainbows. The best lures for the boys were the Yakamito trout spoons and bright coloured ‘tailbenders’.



Staff member Dylan has been up around the NSW alpine region fishing the snowy lakes while on holiday. With idyllic conditions, not much wind and bright sunshine the fish were always going to be skittish. Targeting rocky points and wind-blown bays was the most effective, with rainbow trout to 3lb hitting hardbodies and yabby imitations. Whether lure or fly fishing the area, it pays to imitate the main food source with small yabby, goldfish and minnow copies your best bet.


 


The local bream population had gone a bit quiet with the clear green water in most of the estuaries and lakes, and bream reports were quite low. The fish get cagey in the clean water and go off the bite a little bit, or regulate their feeding to low light times or when there is strong winds. With the recent small bit of rain we have received the fish lower their guard and bit a bit easy-'er' to tempt. Not that the weather mattered much to customer John. John and mate Bashir fished the Tambo river in Gippsland to land some nice clean bream. The guys found that live shrimp and fresh prawn were the most effective when fished along the river bank drop offs.


Back in the Patto, customer Tony has been catching a few nice fish. Tony has been fishing early morning around first light and this is when he has been catching most of his fish. Small live freshwater yabbies have been effective, but they must be fished on ultra-fine gauge hooks and light leader, with little or no sinker. The fish will sense if the yabby is impeded by a heavy hook, thick line and 'anchor' of a sinker stopping it from acting natural.


Customer Ange has also been catching a few bream in the Patto with some mates. The guys have been lurecasting from their kayaks, which off the ultimate stealth approach to these flighty fish. The most effective lures of late have been 'ned-rigged' soft plastics, and small slow sinking hardbodies. These lures are best fished with very small 'pops' of the rod tip to create a kick but not scare the fish. Most bites will come as the lure or plastic has stopped or settled on the bottom.

HOT SPOT: The Patto will continue to fish well after more rain this week, especially around the first flood gate. Just remember to scent up your lures and baits as the water turns murky.

 


The trout fishing has really turned it on for anglers over the past few weeks since the opening, and there have been plenty of fish caught in the lakes during the week. The Eildon region is still well worth a drive to either fish the lake, pondage or rivers.

Customer Adam caught an absolute cracker brown from Lake Eildon recently, from the Jew's creek area. Adam caught the fish on a Yakamito 'slim minnow' in brown trout colour. This particular lure is nearly 10cm long, which shows that trout are not afraid to hit larger offerings, especially in rival trout patterns.


Also fishing the Lake, customer Mick had a weekend away with some mates and while the fishing was relatively slow there were still some nice fish caught. Mick managed a couple of browns around 1kg on the troll. Mick tried a few different options but the ever-faithful pink Tassie Devil got the job done. Something about a bright coloured lure, especially pink really gets the attention of the trout. One of the trout was hooked in the pec fin so the fish may still be running a late spawn and showing aggression towards anything in their space.


The pondage at Eildon is still fishing well for the large rainbows that have been lurking since opening weekend. These big fish will eat a fairly big lure if you are spinning, so don't be afraid to tie on something big, bright or just different to what you would normally use. Customer Nicole fished the Burke Street end of the pondage recently to land a thumping big rainbow around the 10lb mark casting lures. Fish of this size are capable of eating a lure or soft plastic 15cm long or so, and often the large 'main course' offering will get a more aggressive strike than the 'appetizer'.


Back in the local lakes, most of the suburban stocked lakes will be receiving a top up stocking any day now - just in time for School Holidays. Down at Karkarook Park, customer Ismail tried his hand at 'coarse' style baitfishing and caught a couple of small rainbows. While these fish can bite their heads off when they are berleyed into a frenzy, incorrect tackle and rig setup and the lack of a mixture of dough style baits will see most go fishless. There are plenty of anglers who catch consistently in these stocked lakes, through proper setup and persistence.

HOT SPOT: If it's trout luring you're after - the Eildon region is hard to beat. For a nice casual fish with the kids, Lakeside in Pakenham has just been stocked with 500 rainbow trout which will respond well to the coarse angling methods.

 


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.

 


As many keen trout anglers would know, the Victorian river season opens up after midnight THIS Saturday. While it's been a long close for those keen to hit the streams, there have still been some fish caught. The rivers are running at fairly consistent levels and with a bit of snow melt yet to come they should stay cool and favourable for the fish for a long while yet.

For lake based anglers, some nice fish are still coming from Eildon pondage.


Friends of the shop Greg and Mark fished the pondage recently and while conditions were cold there were some stocky trout caught. Casting lures from the Bourke Street section of the lower pondage resulted in some nice rainbows to around 1.5kg. Spoons and small tassie devils have been effective with retro-fitted with ultra sharp assist style hooks.

Around the local lakes, customer Chris took his two sons down to Karkarook Park in the hopes of catching them a trout. Chris stopped by the store for all the stocked-lake essentials and soon after young Atticus had his first trout on the line. The successful method was to fish a mixture of trout dough and powerbait, with specialist trout pellet berley. Both of Chris's two sons have placed birthday present orders of new trout rods since!