Spring yellowbelly frenzy
  |  First Published: October 2012

River levels are still high around Mildura making lure fishing very difficult. Unfortunately the river will remain high heading toward the end of cod season, which will dampen the spirits around a popular time of year.

Yellowbelly activity has been slow due to the cold water temperatures. But as the sun shines some decent fish have been caught on lures around Lock 11 and below Mildura Weir. It is unusual to see yellowbelly activity at a high this time of year, but the constant changing levels and water temperatures are contributing factors.

Fishing with bait around the weir structure in Mildura has been a good method to pick up a yella or two lately. Baits that are working the best are a cocktail of shrimp and worm. However, live shrimp are still difficult to find.

Johnsons Bend has been producing some good yellas, particularly in the slower moving back waters and in eddy currents. A well-cast lipless crankbait or small hardbody has seen five to six yellowbelly caught in no time at all lately.

Tying up to a snag to throw lures into the bank and slowly retrieve has been the best method.

There haven’t been many reports of Murray cod being caught. What little I’ve heard, it seems the most success has been on the smaller models caught on the troll against the current. Hopefully once the water starts to fall back into its banks, after cod season opens, we should see Murray cod activity really heat up.

Casting large lures into snags for Murray cod is usually the thing to do at this time of year. However, even in quieter stretches of river, the flow has been too intense to keep the lures in the strike zone long enough.

The pick of the spots to target yellowbelly on bait is around the Mildura Weir and Merbein area; close to the banks tight up on most structure. Lipless crankbaits have been working a treat in the shallows around Johnsons Bend, just below Apex Park.

Luring for yellowbelly from the bank is also best around the new rock structure at Lock 11, particularly at the point where the lock gates open on the down side.

Murray cod have been most active around Fort Courage but water clarity is still poor below Wentworth. Big lures with plenty of vibration are needed to catch good cod in this water, with dark colours producing the best results.

Spring will see yellowbelly activity pick up a bit more around Mildura’s hotspots. It is a great time for targeting yellowbelly as they make their way upstream and start to school up below the weir structures.

Redfin should also come on the bite and are fun to catch on light gear using soft plastics and blades.

Most anglers around Mildura will be waiting for the cod season to officially open again. By then, waters should be back in their banks and we should see a Murray cod season like no other.

In the meantime Mildura anglers are gearing up for a spring yellowbelly frenzy in the beautiful sunshine Mildura has to offer.


Darcy Scherger from Mildura with a thumper of a yellowbelly caught on a lipless crankbait around Mildura.


A decent yellowbelly caught out of the main river displayed on a bragmat.


The author holding a 90cm+ Murray cod caught on a 120mm Koolabung Codzilla in the Mildura Got One custom colour.

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