Floodwaters relentless
  |  First Published: March 2011

Sometimes things are sent to try us, and try us they surely do.

Last month I wrote of the impending ‘black death’ of the black water event moving through our Murray River system, now it is the flood of truly epic proportions eclipsing any that the region has endured in the past.

Recent torrential rain in Central Victoria sees all storages full to capacity, which is wonderful news for that region. Unfortunately the run-off and overflow that has traversed the Loddon and Campaspe river systems has been relentless with the resulting bottleneck around the Kerang and Swan Hill regions causing much damage and despair to all affected people.

Whilst a recreation can never claim to be anywhere near as important as peoples lives, homes and livelihoods it is nonetheless a significant event that has certainly affected the recreational pursuits of many on the Murray River.

In early February the black water was slowly moving through the Mildura region. As expected, there has been a lot of carnage in the river of fish of all sizes and species. The Murray crays and yabbies similarly have been struggling, with many found around the edges removing themselves from the oxygen-depleted water.

Experts predict the black water will not project far past Wentworth, which is wonderful. The inflow of the Darling River system at this point will hopefully dilute the ‘black death’ rendering it a non-event.

We are now waiting for the wall of water to move through the Murray River system and until that happens it’s difficult to imagine the Murray River fishing conditions being particularly productive. That said, by March I’m hoping that all the river conditions have reverted to some normality and we can get into some of the seriously good fishing the region has to offer.

Recent Reports

The fishing of the region has without a doubt been very sub-standard, since the spring perch run anyway. The ultra-high Murray River has meant that the successful anglers of the region are employing similar techniques; soaking baits in the eddies and backwater areas of the river where the resident fish are sitting, waiting for an easy meal.

Baits such as scrubworms, yabbies, shrimp and cheese are all working well in this manner, but the bait must be kept from the fast flowing main part of the river. The areas of Nangiloc and Colignan have some great areas for fishing in this manner, as does the Red Cliffs region.

Prospects for March

Many of the region’s other water activities have been diverted to Lake Cullulleraine and the fishing out that way is a viable prospect with the river being so recalcitrant.

This picturesque little lake is out the Sturt Highway toward the South Australia border, and has a great population of redfin and golden perch, with even the odd Murray cod turning up at times.

The lake fishes similarly to the shallow lakes of the Swan Hill region, meaning the schools of fish are often located by trolling, then taken by other methods such as jigging or bait fishing. Shallow diving lures such as the 10” small Old Codger, number 3 Stumpjumper and the smaller of the AC Lures range are ideal. Once a school is found, drifting over them working ice jigs and your favourite rubber tails should see a few fish hit the floor of the boat.

I’m truly hoping that by March our wonderful Murray River will have returned to some sort of normality. This being the case the trolling and casting lures should resume and be as fruitful as it normally is. At this stage it really is a waiting game.

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.

Redfin perch are prolific in Lake Cullulleraine. This pretty example nailed a brightly coloured Stumpjumper lure.

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