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A waiting game
  |  First Published: April 2011



Dirty water and fluctuating river heights have made fishing in the Murray River at Echuca a frustrating task as anglers are still waiting for the river to settle and clear.

At the time of writing you would be lucky to see 30cm into the coffee-coloured water due to the recent inflows.

On a positive note, there has been very little blackwater around the Barmah area with only a slight colour change noticeable due to the fresh water mixing in and diluting it.

Neil Hore of Echuca had a memorable day on Barmah waters with mate Brian Hinson.

After picking up a nice yellowbelly on the troll and having their lures regularly belted but unable to hook up, Neil's green Bidgee lure stayed connected to a solid Murray cod stretching the tape out to 106cm. Neil was stoked: he had cracked the metre with his very first cod caught on a lure.

The Campaspe River at Echuca has started to settle after the floods and anglers trolling with darker lures along the timber-lined banks from the junction back to the Warren Street bridge have caught cod to 68cm.

With the water higher than normal, many snags are still out of sight below the surface, making it difficult for anglers looking for structure to cast their lures to.

Echuca's Dick King and John Hannon had no problems finding the fish on a recent evening on the Campaspe, casting up a couple of nice golden perch in a short period.

In the slower moving backwaters another method that's proved effective has been bank fishing with worms and medium yabbies under floats.

KOW SWAMP

The fishing around Kow Swamp-Box Bridge has been hit and miss with the fish on the bite one week and totally shut down the next.

When they have been on the go, the bite has been sensational with reports of anglers landing 30 yellowbelly, cod and redfin in a session on spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits.

Quite a few fish have been caught below Box Bridge but the majority have been in the channel and the swamp. Trolling small StumpJumpers and 12’ Oar Gee lures along the cumbungi-lined banks and casting to the bases of the rotted trees in Kow Swamp have successful methods.

Lure colour hasn't been a problem with reports of fish being caught on darker and lighter lures; they don't seem to be too fussy when they are on the go.

REDFIN

With plenty of water in the Waranga Basin and Lake Eppalock, these nearby destinations have been handy for a day out chasing redfin.

Eppalock has turned up huge numbers of reddies with captures of up to 160 a day but most have been small.

Ice jigs, bobbers and small yabbies have worked well, while over at the Waranga Basin, shrimp and nightcrawler worms have been a hit.

Anglers casting Squidgy Bugs from the boat and bank have had consistent results by twitching the lure through the water column all the way back to the rod.

Some switched-on anglers have gone to the trouble of rigging up a soft plastic about a metre above their lure or ice jig, making the presentation even more enticing. The reward is a double hook-up.

The best of the reddies would have to be a 50cm thumper weighing around 3.5kg taken on a soft plastic was allowed to sink a short distance before being worked back to the boat.

With hardly a tree in sight and no obvious structure, the Basin can be a difficult place to find fish. Anglers have located most schools in about 5m of water. Keep an eye out for the seagulls; wherever there are birds you'll find fish.

All going well, the rivers should have settled by Easter, enabling fishos and campers time on the water over the extra-long weekend. And before we know it we'll be getting organized to head out to chase the Murray crays.

A very happy Neil Hore with his first lure-caught cod, a 106cm model caught at Barmah.

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