A black(water) outlook
  |  First Published: August 2001

We are now more than six months through the cod season and I have still seen only one photo of a Murray cod confirmed caught in our local waters since the blackwater event passed through a few months ago.

Sure, there’s no shortage of stories of Joe Blow getting six and good old Bob catching a couple but promised photos for over half a season still amount to one.

There is no doubt that some cod would have survived the flush but their numbers are few and catch rates betray the spoon-fed crap we are being forced to eat by those intent to play down this serious issue.

So on that thought, this month’s report will be brought to you the department of environmental mismanagement.

Introducing the honourable reporter, Mr Natural Event.

Forgive me if I seem a little condescending, but we are not in the business of conveying information, irrespective of its importance, even though you do pay our wages.

We find the need to clarify recent catch rates, or the lack of, and put them into simple layperson’s terms so you will be able to understand the situation more clearly.

In saying that, I will now speak slowly. Catches of Murray cod in the Robinvale area are still non-existent.

We believe the cod are simply not hungry and possibly won’t be for the next decade or so.

Many of you may have noticed as the blackwater passed through, numerous large cod could be seen riding the current on their backs. This is quite normal and nothing more than a migratory run to repopulate downstream locations with less fish density.

In fact, our research shows that blackwater has little effect on native fish. Why else would we be refilling the very areas it came from in the first place?

The flooding of and holding water in the Perricoota Forest is another project we are working on but you need not concern yourself with that as it is really none of your business.

Good news is there has been an explosion of other fishes, mostly carp, so you can’t complain about not catching anything now, can you?

We suspect that while the apex predator Murray cod are refusing to feed, carp numbers will continue to explode.

Other news is that a few golden perch are being caught on shrimp but you will have to gather these from a channel or dam because those in the river also migrated somewhere.

We cannot be sure on the exact whereabouts of the shrimp, partly because they are small and quite translucent, making them bloody hard to find.

Murray crays, too, are not biting and we suspect this is due to global warming and the fact that many simply went walkabout when the blackwater arrived. This is common of Murray crays as they often enjoy a bush walk and a chance to catch some rays.

We are expecting them to return any day now and once again take up residence in the river.

In conclusion, perhaps it’s you the anglers that need to refine your skills. After all, the river is full of fish and void of bait – how hard can it be?

As for those reports that say the fishing has been sensational above the blackwater event, just let me say that the fish are not all that smart in those locations.

Given the chance, we would happily give these fish a flush of blackwater intelligence that will make them much harder to catch. With any luck, this would put a stop to the barbaric practice of catch and release once and for all.

Thank god we are pulling the strings. Could you imagine the damage if we were to listen to you fishos on management issues?

Good fishing to all and remember we are just one idea away from the next bad decision!

Carp numbers have exploded along the Murray.

Upstream of the blackwater event anglers are catching heaps of quality cod.

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