A conversation with a mate over a beer quickly turned into a solid plan and accommodation was booked for a three-day stint up at Tyers. Having never been before, I was keen to chase a big dusky and with reports of 90cm+ fish being caught at the previous weekend’s flathead challenge, excitement was high.
We left Wednesday morning driving through to Bairnsdale where a quick stop was made at the bakery and then on to Lakes Entrance. We stayed at the Lake Tyers Camp & Caravan Park with easy access to the boat ramp, but you could easily stay in one of the many spots on the main strip in Lakes Entrance.
Good to knows
- Phone coverage is pretty sporadic (on Optus at least) we took vhf radios to keep in contact on the water.
- Google maps won’t load in much of the area so load the maps in town and take photos to refer to in the state park and out on the water.
- Most of the tracks are passable in a 2wd but check if there’s been rain before hand. There are a couple of big potholes on the Trident track that require careful navigation.
- Lots of wildlife on the trails in the Tyers State park, watch out for crossing wallabies!
- The fork on the Trident track- the campground is on a cliff with no water access, take the right hand trail to get to the water.
- If you need to top-up during the trip, The General Store up from the Waterwheel Tavern stocks both Munroe’s soft plastics and Jigman jigheads.
- The boat ramp isn’t signposted from Lake Tyers Beach Road, so look for Gully Rd instead, it is right across the road from the caravan park.
I opted for a 2000 reel on a 2-4kg graphite spooled with 8lb braid and an 8lb fluro leader (two rod-lengths).
Mozza my offsider went with a 2500 reel on a 2-5kg graphite again spooled with 8lb braid and 8lb fluro leader.
I elected to fish the trip exclusively on sp’s. I visited Munroe’s Soft Plastics to stock up. (No affiliation, just supporting another local small business) I bought three new types of plastics from to add to the collection in the tackle box and have play with for the trip:
- ‘fools gold’ 76mm c-tail minnow
- ‘black gold’ 3.75 inch paddle tail aka the Wokka special
- ‘smelt’ 3.75 inch paddle tail
Mozza brought a mixed collection of vibes, prawnstar hardbodies, keitech plastics as well as the same collection I had from Munroe’s.
In terms of jig heads we ran 1/8oz with 3/0 and 1/16oz with 2/0 hooks
Day 1 – Long Point
It was lunchtime by the time we reached the caravan park and unloaded the gear. We opted to hit the water for an afternoon session with a plan to fish up to dark. We decided to try the Upper Reaches first, with the theory that the main lake areas might have had more fishing pressure over the competition weekend just gone. For the first session we made our way in the Long Point Track. It was passable with the two skis on the roof of the wagon, but a kayak trailer might have been hard work. A couple of the bigger holes required careful wheel placement at an angle across the road and you would be doing well to get three sets of wheels to follow the same path with trees tight to the edge of the track. Near the end of the track we found a steady slope down to the water making for an easy launch. Easy in a 4wd, but doable in the wagon with dry ground underfoot.
There was soft mud at the waters edge but luckily it doesn’t take much water to float a Stealth so launching was pretty straightforward. A stroll along the shore before launching revealed an abundance of small mullet in the shallows so the ‘wokka special’ and ‘smelt’ paddletails were rigged to give the same dark top, light bottom silhouette in an attempt to match the hatch.
We had left the sounder back at the cabin so we covered a bit of ground around here trying to find out the depths and setting up suitable drifts with the wind picking up at times. It proved slow on the fishing front with only two duskies each for the tally in the 30’s range for 3 hours fishing, despite various retrieves and many, many casts. On our return another vehicle had joined ours on the bank with a tent set up behind and two kids fishing land based on the shore. Our enquiry if anything was biting was met with the response that they had caught one trout, a claim quickly corrected to a bream by their father. We packed everything inside the skis ready to go in the morning and made our way back out the track in the fading light. On our return to camp, we left the wagon and strolled down the road to the Waterwheel Tavern for dinner and a frothy with an aim to form a plan for the morning. Unfortunately the data coverage put paid to those plans but the food hit the spot.
Day 2- Main Lake
After breakfast on day two we headed back towards Lakes Entrance to get some phone coverage to load new maps for the days adventure. The plan was to launch from one of the boat ramps in the main lake and do some exploring. When we got close enough to town to load google maps we discovered that access to the boat ramp was down Gully Rd, across the street from the campsite we had left 10 minutes earlier!
Once we found the boat ramp we saw that you can drive right to the waters edge 100m up the shore and unload and launch there. Immediately at the launch there is a short trough followed by a sandbar to cross to get to the channel.
We made our way up the channel towards the point at the end of Hendries Lane. I hopped out of the Stealth and parked it on the point to wade back in and cast into the drop off at the channel. Mozza followed suit and this proved a good idea with the first of the day coming from there again on the wokka special. Not quite the big girl we were after but definitely a start!
We proceeded into the inlet to explore over towards Fisherman’s Landing setting up long drifts to the far shore before resetting and going again. There were a few boats fishing the same area but we all seemed to be managing fish in the 30-40cm bracket. A few more were caught here on a mix of caramel eclair minnows, worms and the good old wokka special. Lunch was beckoning so we headed back to the ramp and packed up for a trip back into Lakes Entrance to load more maps, find a bakery and make a plan for the afternoon session.
After recharging the batteries, and re-applying the sunscreen, we hit the water again launching from the boat ramp area but this time pushing further up towards Mill Point. It didn’t take long to get onto more fish but again we were struggling to get size. Mozza tested out a few scents and pulled in a few fish in the late 30’s and early 40’s.
The best I managed was a 50cm model. We set up on a drift on a very fishy looking drop off when splashes could be heard in the shallows. Small bait fish were jumping clear of the water and skitting along the surface. We figured they had to of been chased by something so we headed that way and began casting into the action. It wasn’t long before the tailor made themselves known with spectacular ariel displays and fighting hard on light gear. Tailor are spiteful buggers -one of them managed to bite a nice hole in Mozza’s environet, but then refused to open his mouth for the lip grips.
We chased the tailor for a little while before pushing up to Mill Point and also trying a few drifts past a very fishy looking snag on the point opposite but it had again gone quiet. We were running out of daylight at this stage so made our way back down towards Hendrie’s picking up another couple of fish on the way. One last stop off on the point where I got my fish early in the morning, but the channel was devoid of life this time round. Last casts were made in the fading light and then we proceeded to track our way back to launch in the dark trying to navigate around the sand bar in the process. We packed up in the headlights of the car and made our way back to the campsite for a quick shower before hitting Lakes Entrance for dinner at the Sports Club Good coverage meant plans were made for the upper reaches with maps sorted for a crack at the Trident Arm the next morning. The wagon was packed for morning checkout with Sam Newman & Co providing a soundtrack then it was a welcome kip after a long day on the water.
Day 3 -Trident Arm
Day three saw a half hour hike around the lake to the other side to explore the Trident Arm and upper reaches. Again the tracks were navigable in a 2wd with only a couple of larger potholes to navigate. Plenty of wildlife on this side of the lake with large reptiles and frequent wallabies crossing the tracks. The waterside is busy too with pelicans, black swans and crimson rosella making their presence known. I’m not much of a bird watcher, but a few days in a spot like this is good for the soul!
After a fair drive we hit a fork in the trident arm track. We elected to hang the left following the sign for the campground assuming it would be on the water’s edge, but a few minutes later we found out that it is in fact on a cliff with a very steep track down to the water – not doable with a kayak. We tracked back and took the right-hander which turned out to be a trail right down to the waters edge with a where a nice easy launch awaited us.
A change in the water clarity from the other launches led us to a change in tactics pulling out the ‘fools gold’ and ‘smelt’ plastics from the tackle box. The opposite shore from the launch got a few duskies on the board early but again we couldn’t find the big ones. The bream were around in good numbers in the shallows in the inlets with silhouettes scarpering forwards with every stroke of the paddle. Some were hungry though not deterred by 8 and 10lb leaders and they were more than happy to have a crack at 3/0 hooks as they passed, even if they couldn’t grab hold. This one did manage to hook up on a 2/0 jig head.
We explored further afield with Mozza out-fishing me on the duskies. Same lures, same leader, jig head and retrieve so it must have been his wasabi scent that made the difference. The smelt paddletail was his go-to lure for the day while I managed to land both duskies and bream on the fools gold. Overall it made a nice change to explore a new spot and it is safe to say we’ll be back to explore again as we only covered a tiny portion of the whole system.