Campaspe spills
  |  First Published: March 2011

The town of Rochester and low-lying areas around Echuca were flooded by water from the Campaspe River that spilled over from the already brimming Lake Eppalock.

With a good part of Rochester receiving severe water damage and to a lesser extent Echuca, residents could only wait to see if the rising water would cover the sandbags protecting their homes before receding back to the river.

Prior to the large volumes of water coming over the Eppalock spillway, a handful of Echuca anglers spent a few afternoons fishing the water coming over the wall.

Their efforts were rewarded with good mixed bags but at times it was a bit crowded once the word had got out.

Average-sized golden perch, redfin and the odd trout were all there for the taking. Most fish were taken on small hard-bodied lures and unweighted scrub worms cast upstream and let drift back downstream.

Before the flood had made its way to Echuca, the Campaspe had been fishing exceptionally well with frequent reports of anglers landing a dozen fish.

One young fella who got into the action was Brodie Dixon, 9, who caught his first legal Murray cod, of 66cm, while trolling a purple spinnerbait.

A short time later, Brodie upsized his PB to an impressive 72cm while casting his purple spinnerbait around the snags. That’s a huge effort to cast his lure tight into the timber and then manage to turn his fish clear of the snags.

Still bursting with enthusiasm, Broadie then landed a respectable 35cm yellowbelly.

For the rest of the day Brodie and his father Dale landed another 20-odd undersized cod. I don’t think Dale will have to look too far to find a fishing partner for their next day on the water.

At the time of writing the black water was still coming out of the forest at Barmah but it had cleared further upstream towards Picnic Point.

There had been only a few reports of Murray cod being caught with most under the minimum 60cm. The best bait has been a scrub worm and the preferred lure colour has been green and black.

Closer to Echuca, with the exception of a couple of good-sized cod, the fishing has been quieter since the flood stirred things up.

One lucky angler got a shock while trolling close to the bank just out of town towards Yarraby Caravan Park when a 91cm cod took a black and white AC Invader.

Back in the old port area in Echuca, a few kids on holidays also came face to face with a solid cod of 80cm while fishing with scrubbies close to the bank.

Over the past couple of months quite a few fish have been caught no more than 5m from the bank. Keeping the bait around the structure and out of the faster water has been effective.


Those after a feed of redfin have headed out to Waranga Basin at Rushworth or Lake Eppalock, a tad over an hour south of Echuca.

The Basin has produced good numbers of reddies on the old Baltic Bobber and ice jigs, which work with a more erratic action.

The fish haven’t been of trophy size but anglers are picking up enough for a meal or two.

Another hot spot for the reddies and yellowbelly has been Box Bridge at Kow Swamp, just out of Gunbower.

Good numbers of both species have been caught, especially on cast spinnerbaits with a touch of red, lipless crankbaits, hardbodies to about 75mm and the ever-reliable Hogback.

It’s now a waiting game for the Murray River to settle down and clear up; it’s just one of those things that can’t be rushed.

Until then anglers will be targeting areas where there’s a bit of fresh water coming through or heading to the lakes where they are nearly guaranteed a good day on the reddies.

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