Backwaters produce
  |  First Published: December 2010

Fishing along the Murray River has been excellent in the past month with some great catches of golden perch on bait and lures.

Silver perch are starting to show and some thumping carp have also kept anglers busy, they seem to be about in numbers and size.

Anglers are still finding the majority of fish feeding in the shallower pockets of backwaters around the snags and weed beds, and scrub worms have been the most effective bait by far.

Another bait that has been working well has been the river shrimp and these are becoming more plentiful as the water temperature continues to climb.

Cod, too, have been about and those targeting golden perch have caught several large fish. These fish were all returned to the river to await the opening on December 1.

Fishing along the Murrumbidgee has dropped off a bit with fewer reports of golden perch in recent weeks.

However, a few small cod are starting to move in this area and where there are small fish there no doubt will be a few thumpers. So the ’Bidgee might be a worthwhile cod opening destination come December 1.

Some good goldens have been taken on lures in the less than perfect water conditions along the Murray and its smaller rivers and backwaters.

Water clarity is still poor but this has not stopped the fish from homing in on a range of fluoro-coloured spinnerbaits and hard-bodied lures. Pink, yellow and orange have been very productive skirt and lure colours, with gold blades working best on the spinnerbaits.


While we are on the subject of poor water quality, the Wakool River upstream of the Edward junction near Kyalite has experienced a massive fish kill.

This is the third time in the past five years a serious kill has happened in this general area.

It seems strange how such tragic events continue to occur in a regulated waterway.

Follow-up research has been done to assess the impact of previous kills but it seems nothing has been learnt and this latest event is the worst by far.

Oxygen-depleted water from low-lying bushland filtered along the course of the river, killing everything in its path.

It’s been described as a natural disaster and is the third of its kind in the general area in the past four years.

Local property owners who had seen in all before begged for water up to two weeks before the fish started to die. Their pleas fell on deaf ears as they were informed that the kills in the past were due to warmer water temperatures and because the water was still reasonably cold, a kill would not happen this time.

How wrong they were, with numerous giant cod and golden perch killed along many sections of the river. Some of these fish were so big it took three men to move them.

No doubt we will be hearing more about this because local anglers and farmers are up in arms about what they believe is a case of very poor management.

Other than the Wakool River being destroyed and possibly losing most, if not all, its Murray cod and golden perch, most other waters are fishing well.

I look forward to a great cod season that will see many big fish caught and released in the healthier waterways.

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