Freshwater Fishing

Freshwater angling has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity over the last few years, mainly due to the stocking of native fish into impoundments and rivers.

Most of our freshwater impoundments have now been stocked with Golden and Silver Perch, Australian Bass, Murray and East Coast Cod. Other fish like Spangled Perch and Eel Tail Catfish are present naturally and are very prolific. The average size of the fish you can expect to catch will usually exceed those of their saltwater cousins. Golden Perch of 1kg are common and fish of 3kg can be expected, a lot bigger than the average size bream. Murray Cod can reach 20kg plus, and bass along with Silver Perch are often hitting the 1.5kg mark.

All these species take bait and are very receptive to lures, which make them terrific all round sport fish no matter what angling style you use.

THE REEL

Alvey models 45 and 500 have sufficient recovery to swim most bibbed lures efficiently. These models also cast beautifully to allow you to place your bait or lure where you want it.

THE ROD

Rod 450 is a hollow glass 2m 1 piece

Rod 500 is a hollow glass 2.1m 2 piece

Both these rods are set up to cast efficiently with an Alvey reel and have open runners.

THE LINE

3-6kg line is ideal for this style of fishing. Platypus Lo-Stretch or Platypus Platinum is very suitable for use with your Alvey reel.

WHERE TO FISH

For the average angler taking the family freshwater fishing, using bait is often the best way to begin. On most dams, a boat is almost essential as it allows you to move around to fish the best spots. Native fish prefer some sort of cover including fallen trees, logs, rocks, weed beds or steep banks. Most boats have sounders to help pinpoint these areas where fish will be congregated. Schooling in one place is a common habit of Golden and Silver Perch and bass, while cod are a more solitary fish. A big cod can often take up residence in a prime feeding location, keeping competitors away. One important thing to remember is the depth of the water. Freshwater fish generally prefer no deeper than 10m and best results often come from around the 6m mark.

BEST BAIT

The best baits for freshwater fishing include earth worms, freshwater shrimp and crayfish which are all easy to obtain. You can dig your own worms and shrimp, and crayfish are caught with a simple fine mesh dilly net or with any sort of funnel type bait trap, either home made or you can choose from the many available in tackle shops.

LURE FISHING

Lure fishing can be either trolling or casting. Trolling is by far the preferred method in dams as it allows you to cover more territory and keep the lures down deep. The most efficient type of lure is a deep diving model that will wobble with a wide action at a slow speed. There are many different brands available, and some of the best ones are Aussie made. Bright contrasting colours are often the best including yellow, green or red with black markings. A sounder is invaluable when trolling. The secret is to keep your lure close to the bottom around the 4 to 5m level. Use your sounder to follow the bottom at these depths and look for any structure that might be holding fish. Troll as slowly as possible (2 to 3 knots) and if you get a strike or fish, go back and troll over and around that spot again as most fish will tend to school on a feature like a boulder, stump or log. Don’t be afraid of snagging your lure.

If you are not getting hung up regularly, you are not keeping the lure in the strike zone. The tackle for trolling should be a non-reversing star drag reel, 500C5 or 45BC matched with a fast taper rod, no longer than 2m. A 6 to 8kg line is adequate to handle the majority of fish you’re likely to catch. A vital piece of equipment for saving your lure is a Tackleback lure retriever.

BAIT FISHING

A common way to fish in freshwater is by “bobbing”. Rig up using a 2 to 2/0 French pattern hook with a 1 to 3 ball sinker on top of it and a small swivel a few centimetres up the line to stop line twist. Line size can be anywhere from

Anchor or tie up so the boat doesn’t swing around, it may be better to be secured bow and stern, then drop the bait straight down to the bottom, and start “bobbing” it up and down in regular motion. Lift the bait a few centimetres off the bottom then drop it again. Keep a tight line at all times and in contact with the bottom. The direct wind of an Alvey reel is ideal for this type of fishing. A fish will usually take the bait as the line is lifted. Stop and drop it slightly before setting the hook. At times, especially with Silver Perch and bass, lifting the bait up and bobbing at different depths will find them, especially in deeper water. Be prepared to shift regularly, if nothing happens in 15 to 20 minutes, move. Often moving only a few metres will produce results.

Bank fishing can be very relaxing. Cast out just past weed banks or near cover using the same basic rig and bait. Set the rod up in a rod holder and wind the slack out of the line. Simply sit back, relax and watch for your line or rod to move. You can use a float if the conditions are right, but make sure you have the bait set close to the bottom.

SEASONS

Freshwater fish can be caught all year round however summer tends to be the best season. In winter, fish activity drops off. In rivers, fishing often continues on through the colder months, especially west of the Great Divide. A rising barometric pressure is considered to bring freshwater fish on the bite.

As a result of fish stocking, bag limits and ethical angling methods, our freshwater fishery is improving and will play a big part as a recreational resource.

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