Dusky flathead caught at Marlo, Steve Cooper

In the annals of Australian folklore, the Snowy River is one of the icons. Anglers know that most of the action is in the lower reaches downstream from Orbost to Marlo where the river flows to the sea. Marlo is reached via a turn-off from the Princes Highway at Orbost. The road closely follows the Snowy River for about half of its 14 km, and there are several fishing platforms.

The estuary takes in the Brodribb River, which feeds into the Snowy River, and Cabbage Tree Creek that flows into the Brodribb below the shallow Lake Curlip. Sought-after species in this estuary include bream, luderick, mullet, estuary perch, salmon, tailor, silver trevally and dusky flathead. During summer and autumn, prawns run in Frenchs Narrows on the new moon. If you want to put in some serious fishing time in the estuary you will need a boat to get to most of the places, particularly up the Brodribb River and Cabbage Tree Creek. A concrete ramp is located near the Old Marlo Road on the Brodribb and another ramp is situated at Marlo near the jetty.

Lake Corringle, north-west of the Snowy and Brodribb junction is another shallow lake similar to Lake Curlip. Both these lakes are shallow, up to about 2 m deep, and are best for luderick and mullet, but fish well for bream at night.

Anyone who has fished East Gippsland estuaries would expect dusky flathead to be a dominant species, however even though some are caught, they are not in great numbers and in my experience are best sought in Frenchs Narrows back to First Island.

In the freshwater, the Snowy River has a well-established reputation for brown trout and Australian bass. The Brodribb also carries some trout. Cabbage Tree Creek is reputed to hold Australian bass upstream where there is heavy growth but you may need a kayak to reach the best places. The Yeerung River to the east, accessed via Cape Conran Road and then Yeerung River Road, offers bream and estuary perch and is suited to kayak fishing.

My early memories of Marlo are of being on a newspaper assignment with photographer Mark Griffin and taking time off to wade the beaches, spinning for salmon and tailor with small chrome lures. It was a memorable introduction not because of the fishing, but because it was winter and I had no suitable clothing so I stripped down to underpants and proceeded to fish and freeze. Popular beaches are near the estuary entrance, and along the Cape Conran Road, which runs all the way to the Yeerung River. Gummy, school and seven gill sharks, flathead, yellowfin bream, salmon, tailor, silver trevally and mullet comprise the bulk of the fish caught.

Anglers who want to fish offshore can launch at West Cape, near Cape Conran, but the ramp is exposed to the vagaries of the ocean and it pays to seek local advice as to the likely weather conditions.

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