Go with the flow
  |  First Published: December 2010

A deluge not seen in a decade or more has swelled most inland waters to bursting point.

The heaven-sent bounty continues to revitalise a system that was long overdue for a good drink.

With the Murray spilling into countless low-lying billabongs and creek systems, it seems the breeding season for our native fishes could not have been orchestrated any better.

The fruits of this will no doubt show in the next few seasons as a multitude of smaller fish take up position in the rivers, growing fat on an explosion of life courtesy of the good flows.

Yabbies are breeding in numbers not seen since the last good flows and fish and anglers alike are munching their way through a good number of these tasty crustaceans.

I don’t know how many yabbies the fish are eating but on our last trip to the river we ate our fill, to the point we walked out of the bush backwards!

We were also lucky enough to catch some very good golden perch on scrub worms and shrimp fished in the shallow backwaters around the snags. It seems the goldens were grubbing out the freshly covered ground for an easy meal.

Several small cod were also caught and released, most in excellent condition.

Mosquitoes have also bred up in the abundant backwaters, with numbers so thick that they could cart you off in your sleep. Make sure to cover up as they carry a number of viruses, some of which can make you very ill.

With open cod season, anglers are struggling to come to terms with all the water. Heaps of flow and big rivers have shifted the fish and altered what was becoming to many a routine approach to cod fishing.

Trolling deep divers in the tranquil pool waters is a little different this season and anglers running the same old plays are struggling to put a bend in a rod.

Casting lures to the backwaters and working the visible timber are far more productive when the fish are spread and lying in wait out of the main flow.


In dirty to tannin-stained waters like those at present, we have found that loud, bright lures and patterns are the most effective.

Surface lures are also worth a try because any big cod sulking in the shallows will no doubt be aware of the substantial amount of duck and other waterfowl hatchlings that adorn the surface of the rivers and backwaters this season.

These feathery fluff balls would be an inviting and regular temptation under the current conditions.

Bait fishing will also tempt cod in the shallows, with bardi and or grubs the most effective.

The oily juices these tempting baits emit can draw fish from a good distance and with much of the low-lying bush inundated, no doubt Murray cod have been feeding on them for a while now.

Scrub worms also work well and other less natural baits, like cooked yabbies, also tempt a fish or two.

If you are using cooked yabbies as bait, beware that Gus and other yabby aficionados are not mouthing your bait on the backswing!

All up, some nice cod will be landed over coming weeks if anglers are prepared to change the way they fish and adapt to the high water.

Once the river recedes back into the banks and finds a settled level, lure fishos can return to the ease of old trolling habits and score a few good fish if luck should have it.

Until then, go with the flow and reap the rewards of fishing the excellent high water.

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