Best cod fishing in memory
  |  First Published: March 2012

The current summer has seen some of the best Murray cod fishing I can remember seeing.

I have been fishing the Ovens and King rivers for over 30 years since I was a young boy and cannot remember seeing it fish so well. I have been sneaking out at sunset for an hour, and in two 1 hour sessions I have managed to land six Murray cod, all from a stretch of rather mundane looking water about 50m long at a very popular river access point on the King River.

They have all been undersize, however that is a marvellous sign of what’s to come in the next few years. That’s just 50m out of about 50-60km of Murray cod water on the King River. The river is absolutely teaming with naturally recruiting juvenile Murray cod, and if everybody does the right thing by the law and releases the undersize fish, in the next few years we are bound to see some truly spectacular Murray cod fishing.


In the Ovens and King rivers the Murray cod fishing tends to become a little more erratic as everything cools, with some days producing many fish and memorable experiences, and other days producing next to nothing. The further into autumn we go the more erratic things tend to become on the cod front. In saying that if you get one of the good days you are likely to remember it for a long time.

Murray cod are not like trout which cruise the water column and pick of small amounts of food all day, they are more like myself and prefer a big meal so that they can fill their stomachs and then lay under a log conserving energy while watching your lures swim past.

By tying on a larger than normal lure, you are presenting the Murray cod with just that, a decent sized meal that will fill its stomach. While using these larger lures you are also increasing your chances of tangling up with one of the monsters that do live in the rivers. As the water cools I like to start using more vibrantly coloured lures also, like fluorescent orange and hot pink. I’m not really sure why but personally I find they work better as the water cools.

Another thing I look forward to in March is using surface poppers to target Murray cod. Surface poppers will work all season, and I know a few people who have already caught a few cod on surface poppers this season, however I prefer to do most of my surface popping in autumn, as the rivers are usually at their lowest levels.

The water is flowing much slower and the popper can leave a bubble trail on the water. I use the large Koolabung codwalker surface poppers and find the low light periods of the day to be the most productive.

Trout and redfin

The trout fishing really starts to pick up in March in many areas. During summer as the water warms the trout can become inactive, especially during the hotter parts of the day. By the time the water begins to cool in early autumn many trout have lost a fair amount of condition and can start to go on a bit of a feeding binge to fill their stomachs and regain their lost condition before their spawning run starts in April and May.

As with Murray cod, I love fluoro colours this time of year, and my favourite lure is the fluoro orange Super Vibrax bladed spinner with a gold blade. I have had incredible amounts of success with that spinner on redfin and trout.

If bait fishing, the best bait to catch a trout in North East Victoria during March is a black cricket. They are usually plentiful and easy to obtain by searching under streetlights on damp balmy evenings, or under logs and rocks during the day. The best way to fish a cricket is with light 4lb monofilament line, totally unweighted. Just cast it upstream and let it drift back towards you and you should catch fish.

All of the rivers in the Ovens and King catchments should fish well for trout in March, but if your drifting a cricket in the King River upstream of Cheshunt you can’t go wrong.

For redfin, Lake William Hovell is my favourite place to head in autumn. Both lakes William Hovell and Buffalo should fish well for redfin in March, but as a kayak angler, the use of speedboats on Lake Buffalo usually makes the decision of which lake to fish quite easy for me!

Using small yabbies anywhere in either lake at a depth of around 6-8m should see you onto a fish, and if you’re land-based, wade out to your waist and cast soft plastics with a heavy jighead.

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