Conquer the cod in the change
  |  First Published: April 2014

The stinking hot summer paved the way for some fantastic Murray cod fishing through the Ovens and King rivers. The downside to this was that the trout fishing really struggled as it has all season in most of the catchments, rivers and creeks.

Murray cod

April can be a red-hot month for Murray cod fishing in the Ovens River catchment. At the same time, it can also be very quiet. The cod fishing usually becomes quite spontaneous at this time of the year, and the better bites are usually preceded by lengthy periods of stable autumn weather.

April in North East Victoria is known for its prolonged periods of fine sunny days and cool clear nights. These lengthy fine periods are usually broken up by unsettled weather, often an autumn deluge.

During these lengthy periods of stable weather is the best time to target the regions Murray cod, with the latter half of the stable weather leading up to a change usually being the best time to head out. This is just my observation and no doubt others will differ, however many seasoned cod anglers will support my theory that stable weather tends to lend itself to better Murray cod fishing, and the weather is never more stable than the autumn ‘Indian summer’ type weather systems.

As the water is cooling off quite nicely during April, the Murray cod may become a little slower than what they were in the warmer months. One of the best ways to combat this is to slow your lure right down. Whether it’s a spinnerbait, surface popper or hardbodied diver, a lure that is retrieved more slowly will stay in the cod’s face for longer. More time in the strike zone equals a greater chance of the fish striking your lure.

Another way to combat the fish, which may be a bit slower, is to make continuous casts into the one spot. In summer, many of us, myself included, tend to make 2 or 3 casts into a snag pile or log jam. In April, particularly the latter half of the month when the water is cooler, try making more casts, even as many as 8 or 10 into the one snag pile as a way of tempting the cod to strike.

April is a great time of the year to target the larger Murray cod. They seem to show up more often during the cooler months, and also seem to show up more often in the far lower reaches of the Ovens River from Peechelba downstream. The area around Bundalong is known for producing some truly epic sized Murray cod from time to time.


As mentioned in just about every one of my monthly fishing reports since September, the trout fishing has been quite poor in the rivers and creeks all season. This can be attributed to a number of reasons, including the excessive heat records each summer. Some call it global warming, some call it a natural cycle, but for whatever reason this warming climate is taking its toll on the trout fishing in this area.

By April the weather will be much cooler, and so too will the water. It is always hard to predict exactly what will happen with the trout in April as it is very dependent upon the weather. What is supposed to happen is that the trout are suppose to swim upstream in April in preparation for their annual spawning run. In the bigger rivers like the Ovens and upper King rivers this should happen without worry. In the smaller streams it is largely dependent on how much rain we get between now and then.

During this time, the trout can be a bit hit and miss as well, just like the Murray cod. I always prefer fluorescent coloured lures for trout in the autumn with the fluorescent orange Super Vibrax with a gold blade being my all time favourite trout lure in autumn.

The trout fishing has been tough, but there are still a few fish around so head out to a stream with a reasonably decent flow, such as the Buckland River, or the upper King River and try casting a fluorescent bladed spinner around.

Bait fishers love April as this is the best time of the year to use live crickets. Fishing with crickets can be great fun, and very productive. The best method is to fish a totally unweighted hook with a live cricket, and maybe even grease the last metre or so of your line to slow down the sink rate and prevent snagging, as well as making the cricket appear more natural.


I won't go too much into redfin here other than to say Lake Buffalo and Lake William Hovell are the two places to head during April. It can be a great time to fish either of these two lakes with beautiful weather, magnificent mountain scenery and an increased chance of catching a decent sized redfin. I usually use a soft plastic, such as a 3" curl-tail grub or small minnow at a depth of around 20ft with a jighead of around 5-7g.

If bait fishing for redfin in either of these two lakes, it is hard to go past tiny yabbies of about 1" long rigged with a paternoster rig and fished directly beneath the boat or kayak.

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