Last weekend a bunch of us Aussies camped out on the shores of ‘Timberlake’, a private native fresh water fishery south west of Winchelsea in Victoria, Australia (1 1/2 hours from Melbourne). The lake was stocked with Murray Cod, Silver Perch and Yellowbelly some 15 odd years ago. In those years the fish have grown… And there has been some natural recruitment.
Murray cod can grow to 150lbs – fish have been caught in Timberlake around 40-50lbs – you know when you get one!
Silver Perch have grown large and are bastids to catch – very fast take and sharp gill rakers. Lucky to land one… We didn’t!
Yellowbelly also grow large, but have small mouths – so you have to use small flies to catch them. In Timberlake most people are after cod, and use larger flies. Again, none came to hand.
Here’s the pics:
Early morning mist heralds the start of a new day…
A Murray Cod posing prior to release.
Note the thumb guard – Murray Cod have very abrasive lips and will make short work of your thumb without protection.
Timberlake has a floating dock and a variety of small boats powered with electric motors.
When the early morning mist rises and the wind dies down, you can hear a pin drop and see the reflection.
Foambergs work well on surface feeders. Murray Cod feed by implosion, leaving a hole in the water that can leave your pants soiled…
Even the little tackers are fun.
The reason for the name – half the lake is drowned timber – ideal natural habitat for Murray Cod, and a real challenge for weed guards!
Rob Meade (on the right), creator of Timberlake, discussing fly selection.
Looking back towards camp at sunset. Lodgings are tents pitched on the lake shore, with a communal shelter for cooking/dining/campfire yarns.
Ideal tackle is #7 outfit for smaller flies and a #9 or #10 for larger flies. Best flies are bid woolly buggers, olive rabbit matuka’s, foambergs/dahlberg divers, large surface frogs/mice/rats, Rob Meade Huntsmans and ‘Gutless Frogs’. We used floating lines a lot, but sink tips like the SA Streamer Express were useful for getting down deep in the middle of the day. Leaders at least 16lb, 25lb plus is better if you hope to land a large cod.