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Upper Murray magic in dry times
  |  First Published: March 2007



Lake Hume is presently at its lowest level in 40 years. In late February, Lake Hume was sitting at about 2 percent of capacity and was dropping fast. By the end of March, it is more than likely that Lake Hume will be empty, with only the old river remaining.

There have been very few boats seen on Lake Hume, particularly south of Bethanga Bridge where there is still a 4-knot speed restriction. With Lake Hume dropping so fast the water edges are very soft which is causing difficulties when attempting to launch trailer boats. Due to these difficult conditions, I would not recommend attempting to launch a trailer boat without a 4WD vehicle.

As the water has been so low and dirty, the fishing has been poor with few reports of good redfin catches. There have been a few reports of the odd brown trout being caught at dusk by anglers baitfishing from the bank with worms for redfin. As the weather gets cooler the trout should become more and more active.

For anglers wishing to have some fun, I recommend targeting European carp. There are heaps of them around and with the water so low they are easy to find and great fun on light gear. Carp are also great fish for kids to catch as they can learn how to handle and play larger fish. Corn is probably the best bait, followed by garden worms.

My favourite technique for carp is to target them with a fly rod; a 6wt rod is ideal. You can spot carp feeding and cruising in the shallow water simply by walking the banks. Although they will take just about any wet fly or nymph that is placed in front of them, my favourite flies for this type of fishing are large nymphs or matukas.

Murray below Lake Hume

The Murray below Lake Hume has been fishing very well of late with Murray cod and golden perch caught between Lake Hume and Howlong. Most fish have been caught using bait, with the most popular baits being bardi grubs and cheese. The river around Howlong has been fishing particularly well with many reports of good numbers of Murray cod.

The amount of water being released from Lake Hume will be dramatically reduced this month. Therefore, the river will drop and river currents will ease, which will in turn assist lure fishers. Murray cod should become much more aggressive and willing to take lures or spinnerbaits. Over the next month or two there should be some monster Murray cod caught in the area.

If trolling against the current, I recommend using larger lures such as Cod Seekers, AC Invaders, No.1 StumpJumpers, Custom Crafted Hammerheads or Mud Eye lures. When trolling with the current, try using smaller lures such as Predatek Boomerangs, Oar-Gee Plows, Halco Poltergeists, No.2 StumpJumpers or Custom Crafted Extractors.

Every angler has their favourite lure colour. For those starting out or fishing the area for the first time, I recommend starting with the most popular lure colours – red/black, black/white, purple/black and green/black. These colours work successfully for many anglers in the area.

Murray above Lake Hume

With Lake Hume being nearly empty and Lake Mulwala being taken hostage by ski boats and jet skis, the Murray River above Lake Hume has been a very popular destination for anglers this year. There have been a lot of good reports coming in from both native and trout anglers. The fishing in the area is usually at its best during March.

Anglers using various techniques have caught trout. There have been some good catches of trout on drifting grasshoppers, while flyfishers have reported some exciting dry flyfishing with trout rising to various hopper fly patterns.

If flyfishing the area, I recommend carrying different sized hopper patterns to match the grasshoppers that are in abundance along this stretch of the river.

Native fishers have been reporting some good catches of cod in the area with some Murray cod reaching 80cm. The most popular techniques have been baitfishing or casting spinnerbaits. Bardi grubs, cheese and large yabbies have been the most successful baits.

Spinnerbaits have been the most popular lure in the area so far this year and they will continue to account for many Murray cod and golden perch in the next two months.

Lipless crankbait type lures are becoming increasingly popular around the country and are well worth a try in this stretch of water. These lures have accounted for several nice cod and a couple of monster golden perch already this season.

If you have any reports of fish being caught in the Albury-Wodonga region or any photos, please feel free to email them to me at --e-mail address hidden--

Captions

1. The author with a 59cm Murray cod caught in the Upper Murray casting a 1/2oz Double Colorado Murray River spinnerbait.

2. Brett Castles with a small golden perch caught in the Murray above Lake Hume casting a 1/2oz Murray River spinnerbait.

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