High levels and good fishing
  |  First Published: May 2012

Despite the high river levels, anglers are still heading out with surprising success.

Tannin-stained water entered the Murray River from the Broken Creek after the waters had passed from the floods further upstream at Nathalia. As of mid-Autumn there had not been any reports of fish kills and I understand oxygen readings in the water were at safe levels.

With the rain and fresh water mixing with the dirty water and no Summer temperatures, the fish wouldn’t have been as stressed.

Back in March the Mathoura Fishing Classic was held but a dirty, high and fast-flowing river didn’t deter anglers or break the spirits of the organisers. With more than 900 entries, the family event again ran like clockwork with the rain easing off in time for the Saturday night meals and entertainment.

Fishing conditions were challenging with the heavens opening up in the afternoon and then clearing on the final day for around 20 legal cod and 10 legal yellowbelly caught.

Further downstream at Barmah the fishing hasn’t been too bad considering the river conditions. Murray cod up to 4kg and trout cod to 55cm have been caught on bardi grubs. Kris Stiglic also had success with bardi grubs, catching a 75cm cod.

We spent a few hours bait fishing and managed a bag of carp, silver perch, trout cod and yellowbelly to 43cm using scrubworms. Baits that were no more than 2.5m out from the bank in a bit of slack water gained the most attention while scrub worms cast out into the faster current barely got a look.

The Campaspe River at Echuca had been producing a few redfin on Nathalia Nightcrawler worms fished from the bank. This stretch fished really well last year when the rivers were running high so it will be interesting to see if it will happen again.

Kow Swamp, just out of Gunbower, has fired up again with some good-sized yellowbelly being caught. Wayne Smith from Moama had a bit of luck, landing 10 for the afternoon. Spinnerbaits with willow blades proved quite effective, as did the shrimp-and-worm cocktail on the bait rod.

We were able to pick up a few yellas to 45cm casting orange/brown 60mm Oar-Gee Plows in about 2m of water. Spinnerbaits in the same colour have also worked really well in the same area in past fishing trips.

It looks like we will have a high river for some time to come but hopefully the water will clear up so anglers can get their lures out and troll up some good Winter cod.

Cod to 75cm have been caught at Barmah on bardi grubs.

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