Best Murray cod in years
  |  First Published: February 2013

It's funny how things seem to go in cycles.

Last summer my reports were all about redfin, and big ones. The summer before was all about trout, and lots of them. Both summers have been remembered for their poor cod fishing in this area.

This summer has seen a complete turnaround with some of the best Murray cod fishing ever seen in this area.


In February I would expect the trout fishing to still be tough as the water temperatures remain a little on the high side. The best spot to head to chase a trout would be the upper Ovens River, upstream of Bright where the water is always nice and cool and has a decent flow. The high country would be a great place to venture as well, particularly the Mt Buffalo plateau where there are two lakes and a whole heap of small-mountain streams with icy cold water teaming with small wild brown trout. Fly fishers love these high country streams as targeting these small trout with a light 1-2 weight fly rod can present quite a few challenges.

Lake Catani is the main lake on Mt Buffalo. Canoeing and kayaking a very popular, and in February, the best part is that the day time temperatures rarely, if ever exceed 30C even on the hottest summer days.

Towards the end of February as the nights start to get a bit longer and cooler some of the smaller streams may start to pick up as the water temperature drops. A little bit of late February rain will certainly help this cause. Recently I fished the Rose River and found the trout were very slow and docile, and reluctant to strike at anything. But they were there, so when the water cools a little they will be hungry for a feed and in late February this small river just may be worth a try.

Murray cod

As mentioned earlier the Murray cod fishing has been outstanding in the Ovens and King rivers this summer. I have taken quite a few people out cod fishing this season, many of whom have landed their first ever Murray cod. They have experienced the excitement of the strike when a cod hits the lure, had their photos taken and best of all have been taught firsthand the importance of practicing ethical fishing techniques such as catch and release and correct ways to handle the fish.

Both the Ovens and King rivers have been fishing very well. The Ovens River upstream of Wangaratta seems to produce a lot more fish than the King River with the average size being a bit smaller. The entire Ovens and King River system is known for housing a lot of undersize cod and is often seen as a nursery system for Lake Mulwala and the Murray River. Every once in a while a larger cod is landed though.

Of the many Murray cod I have caught this season I have only managed one legal sized fish which was a magnificent 64cm Murray cod from the King River which fell to a Mudguts spinnerbait. I have been doing well with spinnerbaits, soft plastics and surface poppers.

My best mate Sandy Hector has been mainly fishing the Ovens River and has been catching all of his fish on medium sized hardbodied lures. The Ovens River downstream of Wangaratta continues to fish quite slowly as it has been for the last couple of years with just a few reports popping up here and there but nothing spectacular.

I have had a few reports of some large cod up over 80cm being caught in the far lower reaches of the Ovens River around Bundalong where the river is backed up by Lake Mulwala and boating access is much easier.

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