Opinion

Chasing yellowbelly is the go for spring

By Shepparton News

Wow, what a doozey of a week weather-wise!

With spring knocking on the door, winter was not giving up without a fight.

It wasn't the best for going fishing but you can bet money on the fact that some people have braved the conditions to wet a line, with the exception of myself.

I must admit the warmth of the heater won out over the desire to go fishing.

At this time of year I would be chasing yellowbelly as they become active doing what girl and boy fish do at this time of year.

That is, getting busy at keeping the population of yellowbelly on the rise.

After all, we are coming up to the end of winter and the start of the spring season, officially just a couple of weeks off.

I place yellowbelly fourth on the list of freshwater fish I like to eat behind redfin, trout and Macquarie perch, but they must be free of fat.

The taste of fat on larger fish is enough to put me off a slab of yellowbelly although I have heard that if you chill your fish, the fat can be trimmed off, but make sure you remove all of it.

Yellowbelly are a fussy biter, and will drop a bait if it feels any weight.

You need to fish with as small a sinker as possible.

Visually a running small ball sinker fished in a backwater where the current is not strong, fished around structure, a yellow belly will suck the bait into its mouth rather than gulp it down like a cod.

Lure fishing is also another way to catch a yellow; a Jackal lure with a rattle in it is one of the preferred types of lures to use, but once again they must be fished around structure.

The method of retrieval is important, it will vary from fast to slow and even a twitching.

The lure all have to be considered depending on the mood of the fish at the time; you will need to try them all until you tempt a fish to bite.

Yellowbelly range all around our region, from rivers and dams as well as irrigation channels.

Speaking of which they are just starting to be filled in readiness for the start of the irrigation season, but the weather may cause a delay to the start of the season.

They will take a range of baits from worms, yabbies, shrimp, even cheese and chicken just like cod, to a lesser extent, but it all comes back to using as little weight as possible and fish the structure.

With just a couple of weeks left to the close of the cod season, reports of anglers still landing an occasional keeper are reaching me.

No spot in particular, but generally falling to bait rather than lures as most rivers are flowing higher following the rain and that water is muddy.

The Goulburn River upstream from Shepparton to Murchison is one area worth trying, although the river around the cemetery and golf course is also worth a try.

I have not heard a lot from the Broken River; it is running high and dirty and the banks are wet and slippery.

You might like to try it from the lawn cemetery to Gowangardie Weir.

The major spot still appears to be Lake Eildon, where the river arms are most productive, early morning for trout and among the tree line for redfin.

Fish the rocky ledges for yellowbelly and the area around The Fraser National Park is one spot that keeps getting a mention.

Cod are biting in front of the wall using large deep diving lures during the day and surface lures in the river arms on dusk.

Redfin are starting to become harder to find at Waranga Basin, but they are still worth chasing there.

Be prepared to catch mainly small fish but there are some larger ones to be had if you are patient and keep up working for them.

Bounce your bait or lure along the bottom for the best results.

I have been receiving good reports from Lake Dartmouth on trout being caught, but due to stage three restrictions on staying away from home overnight it might be just a little to far to travel.

Anglers have been reporting brown trout taking worms trolled behind a fender mainly in the early morning.

Best spots have been in the bay around the wall and boat ramp as well as Larson’s Cutting and also the eight mile.

Once again let me say to all, stay safe. We are winning the battle against the virus but let us also win the war. Keep up social distancing, washing and sanitising our hands and wearing face masks,

I don't like it but it must be done. Once again, stay safe.