Winter is here
  |  First Published: July 2013

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: winter is upon us.

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 last couple of seasons. They say a drop in the river levels 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 water a couple of years ago.

Bait anglers were still getting their share of cod using natural baits like bardi grubs, scrubworms and yabbies (the shrimp in the river at this time of the year are hard to come by) but it was those who trolled or cast their lures that were amongst the better sized fish.

Ben from Mathoura had a hard luck morning on the water 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 there was a hit on one of their rods and a minute or so later an 80cm cod was in the net. If it was the same fish is anyones’ guess , but a fair chance it was.

Boonta from Moama spent a few hours on the water 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 Oargee Plow in the GR colour (fluoro green) has been the most productive colour with several anglers singing its praises. With the water being so clear this colour would be like a fish attracting beacon in the water.

Mad keen local Darren has still been out catching his above-average yellowbelly, this time trolling up a fat 53cm (estimated at 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 edition I wrote about anglers gearing up for the new Murray Ccrayfish season which was due to open on May 1. Two weeks before the start of the season NSW Fisheries put in place restrictions in some areas and total bans in other areas. The new regulations are as follows: 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 instead of May 1st and the bag limit will be reduced from five to two. The minimum size limit will increase from 9cm to 10cm and a maximum size limit of 12cm will be introduced.

Some anglers say it’s a good thing bringing in restrictions and bans and should have been done years ago to give them a chance to increase their numbers while others in the past 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 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 for Victoria and Tasmania Fishing Monthly. I’ll take this opportunity to give Fishing Monthly a big thank you for having me on board for the last 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 after landing this cod while fishing with bardi grubs

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