Written by Marc Ainsworth. Come 1st September this year, Lake Eildon is going to be something special because it’ll be open, for the first time, to Murray cod fishing during spring.
That’s right, the 3-month Murray cod closed season of September, October and November won’t apply for the 2016 spring at Lake Eildon.
Fisheries Victoria have also changed the rules for golden perch, lowering the bag limit for all lakes from 10 to 5. That’s unlikely to worry most sportsfishers at Eildon and will mean plenty more of those big, bruising goldens will be around for years to come.
So if Eildon sounds appealing this spring, here’s a few tips:
- Pack the lipless – lipless crankbaits are a must for goldens at Eildon in spring. And they can catch cod too! You can cast them along shorelines, fish them through submerged tree tops and hammer the points. Many people even troll them nice and slow using electric motors. Whatever your method, have at least one rod in the boat rigged with a lipless. I like the natural colours in Eildon given its water clarity. Daiwa’s Vibration Woofer 106S and Tournament Baby Vibe 47S should be amongst your collection.
- Use braid – whether you chase goldens on spin gear or with a baitcaster, make sure its spooled with braid. Given the growing cod fishery in Eildon following the licence-funded ‘Million Murray cod’ stocking program, I lean towards 15lb and even 20lb when fishing the shorelines, but lighter when fishing the tree tops further out where goldens are more likely encountered than cod. I suspect there will be several metre-plus green-fish caught at Eildon this spring so fishing under-gunned in terms of line class has its risks.
- Embrace trolling – especially if you’re new to Eildon, trolling helps you cover ground. Anywhere between 10 and 40ft is good because sometimes the fish can be in tight over flooded grass and sometimes they’re out wider, holding mid-water. Regardless, use your sounder and keep an eye out. Once you’ve found a few, and they stand out on the sounder, there’s always the option to cast at them then. Daiwa’s RPM Crank Mid 10 is a good trolling option, as is the Tournament Spike 53SP and the newer Silver Wolf Monster Crank 40F.
- Spinnerbaits – a great way to target cod along the shoreline at Eildon. Fish smaller models if you want to keep goldens in the mix. I prefer natural skirt colours in the clear water and lean towards heavy heads to stay deep on the steeper banks. Cast them into any bankside snag and you’re in the game for an Eildon native.
- Persistence – catching native fish can be tough, especially in lakes, and there can be days when they just won’t play. Eildon is intimidatingly large, but has been stocked extensively with goldens and cod. Keep moving, keep casting, use trolling to explore or when you need a break from casting, and don’t give up. You’re only ever one cast away from a 10lb golden or a trophy cod at Eildon!