Awaiting the ebb
  |  First Published: August 2001

The fishing over recent weeks has been pretty hard with anglers up against a dirty river about 3m higher than normal due to inflows from the Goulburn River and Lake Mulwala.

However, the water above Torrumbarry Weir has settled, making the visibility much better than the stretch of river closer to town.

This particular part of the river has been extremely quiet this season for those chasing a feed of Murray crayfish.

Some anglers believe the oxygen-deficient blackwater at the start of the year has affected the population, while we’ve found in the past that when the river has risen the crays have shut down.

So until the river gets to a more stable height we can only guess how the crays have been travelling.

One area that has been productive is upstream of Mathoura. With picture-perfect weather over the Queen’s birthday weekend many campers were able to get a few crays for a feed.

It was also good to see a few cod being caught as well, with a fish of 93cm taken on a trolled hardbody and a 72cm taken on the cast.

Brighter lures with a touch of white or silver have been the pick, worked in the deeper parts of the river.

Anglers are also keeping their trolling runs very short, making sure their lures are regularly bouncing off sunken timber.

Spinnerbaits in blue/black and purple have been effective but constant casting, probing every part of the snag, is a must for results.

Further downstream towards Barmah, anglers fishing with yabby tails and scrub worms have landed cod to 64cm.

Only the odd yellowbelly has been taking trolled orange/black lures.

With the Murray cod season coming to a close at the end of August, anglers have only a few weeks before the fish are left alone to breed.


The Campaspe River at Aysons Reserve, just out of Elmore, has turned up a few undersized golden perch.

Geoff from Moama spent a couple of hours fishing from his kayak, casting and trolling small StumpJumper lures. With minimal current he was able to quietly manoeuvre his way around, getting his lures in close to the snags.

Throughout this stretch of river there’s also a good population of redfin among the timber and weeds. You can see why this is such a popular fishing and camping destination in warmer weather.


After talking to a broad range of fishers with skill levels from wetting a line three or four times a year to those who fish weekly, it’s surprising the number of people who don’t use a leader on their braided line.

The most common reason is because they can’t tie a leader knot. Taking the time out to learn a new knot isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but there is a few that are fairly straightforward and easy to remember once they have been practiced a few times.

Knots such as the slim beauty and improved albright are quick to tie and fine enough to be cast through the guides without making a clunking noise. The double uni knot is also popular.

The advantage of a leader is that it has a lot more stretch than just braid, providing that shock absorber effect when playing a fish.

Most braided lines have only about 5% or 6% stretch and if fighting a good fish without a leader the hooks can pull or straighten because there’s no give in the system.

Another advantage is that a leader will wear a lot better than braid around timber. When trolling lures through snags and even rock bars, the leader can handle being rubbed against any structure whereas braid wears out pretty quickly.

And you would be forever stripping off line because the worn line would part once a good fish put some weight on it.

All of these knots are strong and reliable if tied correctly. Knot and rig expert Geoff Wilson has several books available with step by step instructions and illustrations and there are many websites with movies and animated diagrams. Why not practise them over Winter?

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