River levels have fallen and are back in their banks. Flows are to a minimum and water clarity is good enough for catching good fish on lures. 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 the Merbein and Wentworth areas. These fish have mostly been caught on lures big and small, but bait fishos are having the best time with some cracking fish being caught upstream of Mildura on grubs and worms.
Trolling with smaller lures, intended for catching yellas, have been working well around the timber and clay banks, but quite a few anglers have reported catching large Murray cod on these small lures. There is no doubt, however, that bigger lures are one of the keys to catching big fish.
Biggest of the yellas of late has been around the 55cm mark, which is a great river fish. Others have been coming in at the usual 40-48cm range, typical of summer yellowbelly. A lot of yellowbelly have been full of eggs and catch and release should be practised where possible. The yellas have been hitting the large lures very hard, which is indicative of their aggressive behaviour at this time of year.
Quite a few Murray cod have been caught on grubs up stream of Mildura but lure casting and trolling for this species is a bit far and few between at the moment. Some fish have been up to 25lb caught on bait; others caught on 120mm trolled hardbodied lures have been between 15-20lb with the odd one coming in at over 50lb.
Running a combination of 50lb braid and 50-60lb leader seems to be optimum for targeting big fish at this time of year. 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.
Good-sized catfish are also being caught on bait around Mildura in multiple locations, even on large lures intended for Murray cod. Reports from local anglers indicate that this iconic species are still around in decent numbers.
The best smaller lure lately has been the Koolabung 90mm Codbait. But larger lures have done most of the damage in catching and releasing large Murray cod. One lure that has dominated the cod season so far has been the Koolabung 120mm Codzilla in all colours.
The next month should see the continuation of one of the best Murray cod seasons ever, due to the old river getting back to normal; flows at a minimum and levels normalised.
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.
Jack Menhennett, 5 years old from Mildura, with a lovely river yellowbelly. Fish around this size are plentiful in the Murray River during the summer monthsReads: 598