Yellowbelly, yellas, golden perch, or callop (to our South Australians) are a great sportfish of the west. Being receptive to a wide variety of techniques, including bait, makes them prized as a sporting proposition alone. When you consider that for a freshwater fish they fry up pretty well, you can see why people from all walks of life appreciate this fish. There are three strains of yellowbelly: the Murray-Darling strain, the Lake Eyre-Cooper Creek strain, and the Fitzroy-Dawson strain. Each strain behaves similarly, and will respond to all the same techniques.
Yellowbelly are a very seasonal fish, usually at their best for fishing during the warmer months and almost shutting down completely in winter.
In spring, they are at their best, often seeking out the sunlight shallows in the morning to warm up for the day. In rivers and lakes, they can often be seen sitting motionless on the edges, and a cast with an appropriately small presentation should elicit a strike. The Taylor Made Baby Nugget Hard Body Lure, Storm S-1 Spinnerbait, ZMan Crosseyez Power Finesse Jig or Berkley Powerbait Power Grub 2.5IN are all great presentations for shallow water goldens.
As the water warms up over summer, fish will usually move out deeper where the water is a slightly cooler and more to their liking. Often they will relate closely to structures such as timber and rocks, however in dams they may also school up in open water. In any case, fishing small presentations down deep is a great way to fool these fish.
Trolling is also a very productive technique for these fish, with snaggy runs the preferred arena for this activity. The Morry Kneebone Handcrafted 70mm Mid-Diver 4-6MTR Deep and Taylor Made Blood Hound 80mm Hard Body Lure feature the slow, wide wobble that this species (as well as other natives species) just love. Trolling your lures close to structure and occasionally making contact with it is the best way to draw a strike from these fish. And don’t be surprised if you score a double hook-up, as these fish like to hang out together.
There’s much to like about yellas: they hit hard, look good, and taste great! If you haven’t caught a yellowbelly before, make sure you add it to your list and make use of this great resource!
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