While we all know it’s cod season someone obviously forgot to tell the local golden perch, which have been on the chew big-time over the past month.
High flows down the Murray have been topped with tannin-stained water flowing out of the flooded Murrumbidgee.
And while the water looks great for lure casting, the fish have had other ideas with few if any reported on lures lately.
Bait fishing, however, has been a whole other story with good catches of golden perch along most of the Murray.
From Swan Hill through to Mildura it’s the same story, with anglers fishing from bank or boat able to catch a few fish on most outings.
On a recent trip angling from the bank near Wemen on the Murray we managed to land no less than a dozen perch in a few hours. While most were undersize, several were big enough to be kept for the table.
It’s no secret that carp numbers have exploded in our rivers but we did not land a single one among the natives. Perhaps the drop in water temperature has put a hold on their ravenous appetites for the time being.
The perch were quick to take the bait and most bites came within a few minutes of it splashing down.
With the river still up, most of the perch are feeding close to the bank or on the edge of the current line.
Fresh shrimp are excellent bait when they can be caught but their numbers have slowed in the cold water and only a few are finding their way into the bait traps.
Worms are a handy back-up bait and several pinned on the hook make a tasty treat for a hungry perch. Often perch swallow the hook and cutting the line close to the mouth is better than trying to dig it out with some form of hook remover.
While we did not encounter any cod during our session, other anglers have loaded their rods with green on a variety of different baits that include bardi grubs, yabbies and scrub worms. All of the cod caught this season have come downstream of Euston.
With the Murray set to drop pretty rapidly over the next month, it will be interesting to see how quickly it clears and whether the water clarity from the Murrumbidgee will have much effect.
With any luck the two will become a transparent mix, reigniting the chance to target the large Winter cod on lures.
This is my favourite time of the year to target the big ones, mostly on the cast.
In the Kerang lakes the fishing has slowed with just a few redfin and golden perch running in lakes Charm and Boga on bait and blades.
The Murray cray season opened in May to high expectations because the past few seasons have left anglers unable to fish in the high flows. This year, though, they are keen to drop the nets and see what’s left in our local waters.
It’s no secret that the Murray crays struggled in last year’s blackwater flows, with many walking clear of the river. Just what impact the flows had on local cray numbers will become more evident over coming weeks.
I am yet to hear of a single cray landed this season locally on the Murray. Hopefully that will change but I am not holding my breath.
With the river set to drop and stabilise, I think anglers can expect to see some good cod caught over the next few months.
Redfin will be an option in the lakes and if the golden perch continue to feed, it will be smiles all round with the good fishing on offer.Reads: 1580