With the Murray River returning to its normal level, it’s worth noting the changes left in the wake of the big flows.
Easter was a telling time with reports patchy along much of the river’s course. Below the Darling River junction at Wentworth, the Murray turned it on for visiting anglers with a good run of golden perch and more yabbies than most could eat.
Golden perch numbers have boomed in this area and it is common to lift a yabby net and have several small perch, from a few centimetres long to hand-size flipping amongst numerous giant shrimp and yabbies. Small carp, too, are about in numbers and invading the yabby traps at will.
Fishing around Mildura has also been quite good with several cod and numerous perch caught on bait and lures.
Mumblers cast and worked close to the snags out of the main flow have accounted for cod to 18kg.
Golden perch have preferred crankbaits and scrub worms or shrimp.
As the water continues to cool, more anglers will start chasing big cod on lures. Trolling will once more become popular as large hard-bodied lures are dusted off and sent to the depths.
With the big flows along the Murray, it’s been a while since our local cod have seen lures so they should be quite responsive.
While the water is still quite dirty, recent catches show that clear water is not the be-all and end-all of lure fishing. If cod and goldens ate baitfish only when the water was clear they would most certainly go hungry most seasons.
Some of our best and biggest cod have been caught on lures in water that had very little clarity.
Further upstream at Wemen, golden perch and carp have been the staple catches for bait anglers. Yabbies are few and far between and shrimp are all but non-existent along this section of the river.
The blackwater most definitely left its mark, decimating the lower order food stocks.
Robinvale was wake boat central over Easter with few fish reported. The fishing in this big cod mecca has been sullenly quiet all season, with little word of any cod being caught.
A few good-sized golden perch have been reported upstream around the Tol-Tol area on bait.
The Murray River above Boundary Bend back to Swan Hill has turned up a few cod to 65cm on bait and lures. Golden perch have been hit and miss with most fish caught on bait in the backwaters.
Again, shrimp are noticeable by their absence in these areas.
The Wakool River has been producing golden perch to 45cm on bait but no cod as yet.
In the Kerang lakes, Boga has good numbers of redfin on lures and bait and in Kangaroo Lake, a few large golden perch have taken bait and lures.
All up, there are plenty of places to wet a line and catch a fish. But if it’s cod you are after then the Murray River around and downstream of Mildura is your best chance.Reads: 2007