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 at Nathalia further upstream. As of mid autumn there had not been any reports of fish kills and I understand oxygen readings in the water were at a safe level.

With the rain and fresh water mixing in amongst the dirty water and not having hotter summer temperatures, the fish wouldn’t be as stressed out. Back in March the Mathoura Fishing Classic was held and despite the river being dirty, high and fast flowing due to the recent rain it didn’t deter any anglers or break the spirits of the organisers. With a turnout over 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 up on the final day to see a total of around 20 legal cod and 10 legal yellowbelly caught.

Further downstream at Barmah the fishing hadn’t been too bad considering the river conditions. Murray cod up to 4kg and trout cod to 55cm have been reported by anglers using bardi grubs. Kris Stiglic also had success with the bardi grubs to catch a nice cod measuring 75cm.

We spent a few hours bait fishing and managed a mixed bag of carp, silver perch, trout cod and yellowbelly up to 43cm while using scrubworms. Baits that were no more than 2.4m 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 of water 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 a total of 10 golden perch for the afternoon. Using spinnerbaits with a willow blade proved to be quite effective, as did the shrimp and worm cocktail on the bait rod.

We were able to pick up a few yellas up to 45cm while casting 60mm Oargee Plows in the orange/brown colours 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 up to 75cm have been caught at Barmah by anglers fishing with bardi grubs.

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