Geoff’s Fishing Report

Rob Rees with his 5.68 kg chinook salmon from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Rob Rees with his 5.68 kg chinook salmon from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

Fishing Lake Purrumbete with clients Rod Rees and Reg Mallet last week, Trevor Holmes of Inland Fishing Charters counted their redfin catch at 49 during a lull in proceedings, and decided on fifty before going in; but the bite had obviously finished.

Then Rod, who was jigging a J Huddle Fish Arrow just above the bottom, hooked something much bigger than a redfin: And, it took quite some time for him to bring the protagonist, a chinook salmon that later weighed 5.68 kg, alongside.

On Friday evening, Gordon Thompson – who was also fishing on the lake – picked up an even bigger chinook of 7.7 kg that took a glassie (sandy sprat) suspended just above the bottom.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that flathead and whiting have been on offer with Graeme Gittens, along with Matthew and Peter Drayton, picking up flathead to 35 cm off Point Wilson, while Ryan Grinter caught 20 whiting to 40 cm off The Springs.

On Friday morning, Andrew Johnson and David Walder, eventually found a pod of good size of whiting in five metres of water off the first set of jetty ruins to the right of the Clifton Springs boat ramp and caught 30 using squid for bait.

The were followed in by Corey Laux and Aaron Butters who’d gone to the trouble of pumping a good supply of Bass yabbies for bait, with a similar catch from Curlewis.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that although whiting have been scarce, client Gerard Rapinett and his friends caught 30 fish to 40 cm using pipis for bait over the weekend.

Martin de Lange with a sample of his bream catch from the Barwon estuary.
Martin de Lange with a sample of his bream catch from the Barwon estuary.


Barwon estuary

With last week’s rising tide trickling in on dark, Harley Griffiths and Stanley Owen where soaking strips from the fresh squid they’d caught earlier that day, hoping for a mulloway from the Sheepwash: They caught two as it turned out, both around the 6 kg mark.

Also successful on the Barwon estuary was Martin de Lange who was rewarded with four bream to a kilogram or so and several mullet, all being taken on sandworm.

Patrick Dangerfield and Aaron Habgood with Patrick’s bronze whaler (Picture Aaron Habgood)
Patrick Dangerfield and Aaron Habgood with Patrick’s bronze whaler (Picture Aaron Habgood)

Offshore

Aaron Habgood took some great catches of whiting in 6 metres of water off the Swan Island grass beds last week, but he also spent some time fishing offshore from Port Phillip Heads. Out here, he rounded up a couple of bronze whalers well over the 100 kg mark, one for Geelong Cat’s champion Patrick Dangerfield who also enjoys fishing.

A sample from Bob McPherson’s whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
A sample from Bob McPherson’s whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Bob McPherson reports that several medium size kingfish were caught from the Lee Breakwater near the tug platform last week, a welcome addition to the variety of fish, including snapper that have also been taken from here.

Tuna still provide the main attraction offshore, said Bob, with recent catches coming from 26 metres of water in the vicinity of Julia Reef. However, Bob fishes for whiting these days and sent a photo of his catch.

Campbell asks:

Geoff, I’m from Modewarre and used to fish the lake which is now almost dry. Can you tell me why the water was diverted and if there is any chance of it becoming a recreational fishery again?

Campbell; both you and I now have a detailed reply to this question from Donna Smithyman, Catchment Manager, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Colac which is as follows:

Thank you for your inquiry into the diversion of water to Lake Modewarre. This has been a long term issue in the community and is acerbated by the continuing dry conditions across the region. I have made some inquiries myself into the historical situation with the lake.

“In 1969 Lake Modewarre was very low and the then Geelong Water and Sewerage Trust (GWST) supplied water to the Lake which was repeated periodically in the ensuing years. In 1976, a further request to the Geelong Water and Sewerage Trust on behalf of the Lake Modewarre Reserve Committee was made, requesting that water be provided to Lake Modewarre. This was denied, citing low storage levels in the Barwon system. Further to these specific requests up to 1976, the Geelong water supply system previously included a section of open channel that passed through the Lake Modewarre catchment, carrying water harvested from the Barwon River catchment. This water was used to supply the Pettavel Basin and was transported via the Pettavel channel. To protect the channel from failures or prevent overflows to abutting private properties, at times excess flow was diverted out of the channel into Lake Modewarre.

The channel was replaced in the early 1990s with a pipeline to improve potable water quality and reduce water losses. As part of this modernisation, the channel and associated easements were transferred from Barwon Water to the private landowners. Therefore, the opportunity to transfer water from Wurdee Buloc Reservoir to Lake Modewarre cannot occur due to the fact that there is now no infrastructure in place for such a transfer. Further, the Wurdee Boluc reservoir is managed and not part of a natural filling cycle, so if Wurdee Boluc was full and excess water was present in the Barwon River system, then under Barwon Water’s Bulk Entitlement it is required that any excess water is released to the Barwon River system.”

Also worth reading is EPA publication 1108, March 2007 http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/~/media/Publications/1108.pdf It’s reference to Lake Modewarre is significant; the first paragraph containing the statement that “Between 1803 and 1832 William Buckley had described the lake as being perfectly fresh and abundant in eels …” Since then however, Lake Modewarre has ranged from being completely dry to being flooded, and that may well remain its ongoing destiny.

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