It’s all about the golden perch right now in the Mildura region.
As I write the perch are well into their spring migratory run upstream, and if you can’t catch a fish in the Sunraysia region right now then you may have to give the game away! With the recent ultra-high river levels, anglers do have to adjust their game a little and seek out a bit of the quieter water, with the edges, backwaters and eddies being prime hotspots to find a perch.
The water clarity has been marginal at best, proving baits of worms and shrimp to be the best option. Lures such as the vibrating metal blades and lipless crankbaits have been effective to date, testimony to the effectiveness of a bit of rattle and vibration is less than ideal water clarity situations. The good news is that the water colour is on the improve and traditional trolled and cast hardbodied lures and spinnerbaits are starting to prove effective.
Typically at this time of the year, most of the action is at the weirs. That’s not to say that the golden perch are not responding elsewhere, they just aren’t in the same high numbers.
If like me you prefer to be where the crowds aren’t, I have reports of good quality golden perch to bait anglers in the Red Cliffs and Nangiloc areas (but I’m fairly certain the fish are widespread). Worm and shrimp baits fished in the quieter areas of water flow are very effective.
Immediately below the Mildura weir is the place to be right now, with many golden perch of 1.5-2kg being taken in this area. Local angler Wade Vincent braved the crowds recently and in smart fashion took his bag of perch on his favourite bait of scrubworms. Most anglers are sharing similar results in this area.
Similarly, the perch are still eager downstream. The areas around Apex Park, the ‘Mad Mile’ and Merbein are all proving productive. The story is the same all the way through the Murray system locally however, seek out a little quieter water in these high flow times, and that’s where you’ll find the perch waiting.
Wentworth angler George Wheatley reports similar success in his area this month. He and his family are having a lot of success fishing below the Wentworth Weir, once again using worm and shrimp baits in the slower moving water.
The fish are of good quality, some going over 2kg in weight and in good condition. George tells me there have also been great numbers of perch to 60cm moving through the fish ladder: over 500 in one day recently.
It’s great to hear some of the fish at least are allowed free passage at this time of year. It truly is like shooting fish in a barrel under the weirs at times, and I encourage all anglers to show some restraint and maturity with the numbers of fish they remove from the system.
Whilst the current trend is ‘gold’, the outlook is all ‘green, green and green’. On December 1 the new Murray cod season will be open. Yes, it’s that time of year when we dust off the heavy artillery, break out the big, deep diving lures and the trolling gear. The Sunraysia region is something of a Murray cod ‘Mecca’ with the mighty green fish being quite widespread.
For your season opener, can I suggest the Nangiloc and Colignan areas, or out beyond Wentworth around Fort Courage as destinations of note. With the water clarity as it is, bait will be productive, however you’ll need largish baits such as bardi grubs, scrub worms and cheese to prevent them being picked off repeatedly by the perch.
With the water clarity poor, but on the improve, I suggest black or purple coloured lures with contrasting (white perhaps) bars. At this time of year I’d be trolling the shallower areas to 6-7m in depth. Oargee Plows, Goulburn Lures Old Codgers and the good old Stumpjumper in the large size are good lures to start with, reliable, and freely available in most tackle stores. Good luck!
I’m very happy to get your feedback. Please email me at --e-mail address hidden-- with “fishing” in the title, if you’d like to submit a report or a digital photograph of your capture. I’m also happy to field any fishing related enquiries you may have, send ‘em through and I’ll do my best! See you on the water, Darky.
Zac Wheatley displays a couple of cracking golden perch taken below the Wentworth Weir in recent times.Reads: 3017