Short days and cool nights condense fishing effort
  |  First Published: May 2013

With the days getting shorter and the nights getting cooler; you get the feeling that winter isn’t too far away.

For anglers on the Murray River this usually means catching larger size cod (hopefully!) and chasing a feed of Murray crays. It’s this time of year that families and groups of the boys get together to spend a few days on the river where they can fish through the day and check the cray nets during the night and get back to the warmth of a well stoked campfire.

It’s known among cod anglers that the bigger fish are caught during the cooler part of the year but its also the time of the year where the average angler packs the gear away until the warmth of spring kicks in. Dedicated guys chasing cod will spend hours if not days trolling their lures in their favourite stretches of river while watching their sounders to find the bait balls of bony bream to help locate a trophy size fish.

The fishing can be slow to extremely slow but those who persevere are generally rewarded for their efforts.

They say the Murray crayfish are more active of a night time but after speaking to a couple of anglers last season they reported that they had their bag limit of five per person after dropping the nets in at 8am and were off the water by lunchtime; unfortunately you don’t always get your limit this quick and more time is required to get enough for a feed.

In the rivers the crays are often found along clay banks and the depth of water that the nets are in doesn’t seem to matter as we’ve caught them in 1-7m of water.

Baits for the crays include pieces of dead carp, ox liver, and split sheep heads just to name a few. It should be noted that all females with eggs must be returned to the water as well as any undersize crays. All good tackle stores will give you advice on how to measure the crays as well as a booklet on the size and bag limits

At the time of writing there has been some good size cod with 82cm the biggest for the month. Bardi grubs have been the pick of the baits for one angler after landing one at 63cm and another at 78cm while anchored in the middle of the river. Another cod also measuring 78cm was caught by another angler while fishing towards Torrumbarry with an unweighted yabby from the back of his houseboat.

Fishing downstream from Torrumbarry Weir has been up and down but when it’s fired, the fish have been on the attack. One angler spent four days camping on the river for a total of twelve cod ranging from 54-82cm and surprisingly no carp.

On one of the days they couldn’t get a bite on their baits or a hit on a lure and the following day the weather started to change with storm clouds approaching and things started to look up with three cod trolled up within  250m. It goes to show that even a slight change in the weather can be enough to switch the native fish on.

Redfin and golden perch have been on the quiet side in the Campaspe River between Echuca and Rochester while further upstream at Lake Eppalock there has been some good sized reddies, yellowbelly to 1.75kg and even some Murray cod to 56cm. Trolling small hardbodied lures up to 70mm in size with a red or green colouring along the rocky points and shoreline has been a good place to target these fish.

 So as the weather becomes more favourable to those sitting on the couch in front of the telly; round up some good mates and give the fishing and craying a go for a weekend and you might be surprised with how much fun can be had and if you don’t get a fish or a feed its got to be better than mowing lawns at home or being at work.

For more information on what’s biting around Echuca and Moama, drop into J.T’s Fishing & Camping, opposite the Border Inn Hotel, Moama, or phone 0354 803 868. 

Nick Adams has had no trouble finding redfin in the Campaspe River. Casting red skirted spinnerbaits amongst the fallen timber was enough to entice this one from the snags.

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