Good quality water improves the fishing experience
  |  First Published: February 2013

River levels have dropped and are back in their banks; flows have subsided and water clarity is as good as it has been since before the first lot of flood water a few years back.

This year is gearing up to be a fantastic summer of fishing around Mildura, particularly for the iconic Murray cod in the mighty Murray River.

Some very nice yellowbelly have been caught all around Mildura during the warm conditions, especially around Merbein. The fish have been caught on lures mostly, but bait fishos are having a great time as well bobbing a shrimp or two. Down-sized lures intended for yellas have been working well around snags and clay banks, but recently the fish have been caught on larger lures, as by-catch to their much larger and more aggressive cousins, the Murray cod. Biggest of the yellas of late was 56cm, which is a great river fish. Others have been coming in at the usual 40-48cm range, typical of summer yellowbelly.

Murray cod have been on the chew also, with numerous larger models being caught on trolled lures in multiple locations around Mildura. Several of these fish have been in excess of the magical metre mark, around 50lb in the old scale, with one coming in at 125cm recently. Other models caught on 120mm trolled hardbodied lures were between 10-20lb, but just as aggressive as the bigger fish.

Running a combination of 50lb braid and 50-60lb leader seems to be optimum for targeting big fish. Lighter gear will also see you land the big one, but with so much cover in the river, like snags and rocks, to contend with, the chances of line breakage, probably with a nice fish on the end of it, are high, and no angler wants that.

Large catfish are also being caught on bait around Fort Courage. Reports from local anglers indicate that this iconic species are still around in decent numbers.

The best smaller lure, which has been working the best lately to specifically target yellas, has been Koolabung 90mm codbait and the range of LED Balista Dyno 75mm hardbodied lures.

Larger lures have done most of the damage to the large Murray cod. One lure which has dominated the cod season so far is the Koolabung 120mm Codzilla in the holographic range.

The next month should see the continuation of one of the best Murray cod seasons ever, due to fact that old river is getting back to normal.

Safety should also be on the minds of weary anglers when out on the water, where anything could happen, fast.

Summer is a great time to fish for our special native species, but it is vitally important if you are heading out to carry the appropriate safety and medical gear appropriate to your crew and size boat being fished from. Maritime are also going to be out in force over the summer break, so do everyone a favour and do the right thing.

This summer is set to be a cracker of a season, so get out there and wet a line; you may be surprised what puts a bend in your rod.

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