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Conditions point to a good summer of fishing
  |  First Published: December 2014



River levels have dropped and continue to fall back into the banks. Flows have subsided after a flush just before Christmas, and water clarity is good enough to catch some nice fish in. It’s gearing up to be a fantastic summer of fishing around Mildura, particularly if targeting the iconic Murray cod in the mighty Murray.

Some very nice yellowbelly are being caught around here during these warm conditions, especially at Merbein. The fish have mostly been taken on lures, but bait fishos are enjoying bobbing shrimps and small yabbies. Downsized lures intended for yellas are working well around snags and clay banks, but recently they have been caught on larger lures as bycatch when targeting their much larger and more aggressive neighbours, the Murray cod. Most have been coming in at the usual 40-48cm range, typical of summer yellowbelly. The best smaller lure for specifically targeting them has been the 90mm Koolabung Codbait and the LED-equipped Balista Dyno hardbodies.

Large catfish are also being caught on bait around Fort Courage, and as far upstream as Euston. Reports from local anglers indicate that this species is still around in good numbers.

Murray cod have been on the chew also, with numerous larger models caught on trolled lures in multiple locations around Mildura. This season should be a ripper due to the appropriate water levels and clarity. Try trolling big lures like the 150mm AC Invader, Muldoon lures, and Koolabung Codzillas in various sizes. One lure that has dominated the cod season thus far is the 120mm Codzilla.

Running a combination of 50lb braid and 50-60lb leader seems to be the best result for targeting big fish. Lighter gear might see you land the big one, but with so much cover like snags and rocks to contend with, the chances of line breakage, probably with a nice fish on the end, are high. No angler wants that.

Up-sizing the trebles is also a good idea, because you don’t want to be left wondering what might have been.

Releasing Murray cod is a good habit to get into, so it’s important to have all the right landing gear available to make the release as smooth and as trouble-free as possible. A large net, lip grips, pliers for hook removal and gloves are just some of the important equipment anglers should possess.

Summer is a great time to fish for our special native species, but if you are heading out it is vitally important to carry the safety and first aid equipment appropriate for your crew and the size of boat. Maritime are going to be out in force over the summer break, and please make sure you understand the new cod slot limits for Victoria and NSW.

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Antonio Liparota from Euston with a nice catfish caught in the Murray River. This iconic species is still around in good numbers.
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