Local spots the key during stage three lockdown | Reel Life

By Shepparton News

A week can be a long time during a pandemic; so much change in such a short space of time.

We in rural Victoria are under stage three lockdown — but, unlike lockdown mark one, this time we are still permitted some outdoor recreation such as golf and fishing.

However some restrictions still apply. It can only be you and one other, and social distancing must be maintained at all times.

There is no camping, no staying at holiday homes or second homes and no non-essential travel. In effect, it means that if you go fishing you must stay close to home and be able to get back home the same day.

Around here, that means we can still fish the Goulburn, Eildon, Waranga Basin, the Broken River and all other local spots.

At this time I'm hearing plenty on how well the basin is fishing; good hauls of redfin are coming in and there have been some good-sized fish among those being caught.

The best spots have been around Harriman's Point, the old quarry and near the Kite Flyers boat ramp.

The secret is to drift a bait or troll a line but it must bump along the bottom. There are a lot of small fish, but you will be rewarded with a larger fish if you persevere.

The tree line at Eildon is also worth trying for redfin. Areas of timber around Bonnie Doon, Jamieson and the like are all worth a try.

Drop a bait alongside a tree about four meters or so; if nothing happens in 10 minutes, move to another tree until a school of fish is located.

A tip: If you hook up with a fish, don't pull it straight in, instead drop another line to the same spot and turn one fish into two, or several more.

We still have three weeks left of this year's cod season and quality fish are still being caught in the Goulburn River around Toolamba to Murchison and Nagambie.

They are also biting at Eildon, and when the cod season closes at the end of this month you can still fish for and keep cod from Eildon, with the usual bag and size limits still applying.

Yellowbelly are also on the move and they are being caught in both the Goulburn and Broken rivers, also at Waranga Basin and Eildon.

You might also get lucky fishing for them at Nillahcootie. One spot opposite the boat ramp along the rock wall used to be a redfin hotspot, but is now a place to target yellowbelly.

A Jackal lure cast to the wall, using a slow retrieve, and allowing the lure to sink and then flicking it into life, just might attract some action.

If you are angling for a yellow, a running sinker is a must. Let it run down your line to the hook and cast to a backwater were the current is slower.

Yellowbelly are picky feeders and so using as little weight as possible is essential.

Unlike redfin, which charge from their hiding spot to devour their prey, a yellowbelly is a lot more dainty and will drop it the moment it feels excess weight.

I know some people who leave their reel's spool open so there is even less resistance when a fish picks up the bait. But remember to close it when the fish strikes, otherwise the only thing you will catch is a great big bird's nest of fishing line.

Trout are also being caught at Eildon, and trawling a Ford Fender along the tree line in the river arms is the best method. Early morning is the best time and a bunch of worm or mudeye trailing behind the Fender should get results. Lures are also worth a try including bladed lures, hard body and Tassie-devil-style.

The trick with trout is to locate the depth they are feeding at. A good fish finder will provide this information for you.

With stage three lock down restrictions now in place, it is up to all of us to do the right thing to fight against coronavirus. This is the only way we will be able to get back to enjoying the pleasures that we had before the outbreak.

Don't be selfish, do your best, stick to the rules and keep your distance.