The run of good weather came to a screaming halt in early Winter. T-shirts were replaced with warm jumpers and coats and the odd beanie.
In the lead-up to the cool change the water temperature was relatively high for this time of the year; the river level had dropped but water clarity had looked at its best for the past couple of seasons.
They say a drop in the river level can turn the fish off but in this case, with good temperatures and clear water, the fishing had been at its peak since the flood of a couple of years ago.
Bait anglers were still getting their share of cod using bardi grubs, scrubworms and yabbies, the shrimp in the river at this time of year being hard to come by.
But it was those who trolled or cast lures that got among the better fish.
Ben from Mathoura had a hard-luck morning after hooking up to a nice fish that pulled off a strip of line and gave a few good head shakes, only then to spit the lure. It seemed to get worse from there as the boat trolling the same run behind him got to the same area to where Ben hooked up and, sure enough, had a hit and a minute or so later a fisho had an 80cm cod in the net. Whether it was the same fish is anyone’s guess, but a fair chance it was.
Boonta from Moama spent a few hours trolling lures close to town and for his effort picked up three healthy cod in the low 70cm range. Further downstream towards Torrumbarry, cod up to 86cm have been caught on the troll.
The Oar Gee Plow in the GR colour (fluoro green) has been most productive with several anglers singing its praises. With the river so clear, this colour would be like a fish-attracting beacon in the water.
Keen local Darren has still been out catching above-average yellowbelly, this time trolling up a fat 53cm fish estimated over 3kg on a lure designed for big cod. You can see why they can get so big when they are having a go at lures 120mm long.
In the last issue I wrote about anglers gearing up for the new Murray crayfish season and then NSW Fisheries put in place restrictions in some areas and total bans in others. The new regulations are: It is now prohibited to take Murray crays from NSW waterways except in the Murrumbidgee River between the Hume Highway road bridge at Gundagai and Berembed Weir, near Ganmain, and in the Murray River between 130m downstream of the Hume Weir near Albury and the Newell Highway road bridge at Tocumwal.
The opening of the cray season in Victoria and NSW now begins on June 1 and the bag limit is cut from five to two. The minimum size limit increases to 10cm and a maximum size limit of 12cm has been introduced.
Some anglers say it’s a good thing bringing in restrictions and bans and they should have been done years ago to give the crays a chance to increase their numbers.
Others say in the past they have done the right thing by sticking to size and bag limits and feel they should be able to take a few for a feed. In the end, you will never please both parties and this will be a discussion heard around many a campfire or kitchen table for years to come.
On another note, due to new work commitments this will be my last report. I take this opportunity to give Fishing Monthly a big thank you for having me on board for the past four years and to the readers, hopefully my reports have helped you get a step closer to that fish of a lifetime.
Kris Stiglic had a good day at Barmah, landing this cod while fishing with bardi grubsReads: 964