Cooler weather fires the big cod up
  |  First Published: May 2015

Grab your jumpers and beanies as we head into the cooler parts of the year. It’s a magical time for big cod anglers though. We all look forward to this time spent fishing, then sitting around a nice red gum fire on the banks of the river, telling yarns about the fish that got away.

At the time of writing this report, the Murray River around Mildura is at pool level and the air temperatures are cool, signifying yet another change in Nature’s course leading into the winter months. Water clarity has been very good given the time of year.

Some good-sized Murray cod have been caught, but they have been a bit few and far between. Most of these have been hooked early in the morning or late afternoon, and usually when barometric pressure has been at its highest point or moving around. Cod have also been most active when the barometric pressure has fluctuated in rapid spikes.

A lot of smaller cod of 70-90cm have been caught lately on lures around Mildura. These are coming as a result of targeting larger fish using substantial sized lures. Cod well over the metre mark have been caught, mostly below Lock 11.

Spots for successful fishing have varied recently, but Wentworth has been a great area to troll and cast for both cod and yellowbelly over the past month.

Nice sized yellowbelly are being caught in good numbers still, with some in excess of 50cm. Anglers are reporting catches of yellowbelly everywhere from Hattah to Lake Cullulleraine, which is pleasing, particularly since the colder weather has settled in.

Catfish seem to have slowed down with the temperature drop, in comparison to what was being reported a month or so ago.

Of course, carp are still being caught in their hundreds all around Mildura and Wentworth. There have been a couple catch-a-carp style competitions around Mildura of late, which is great for the river health and the community in general.

Recent catches of Murray cod have been mostly on the 120mm Koolabung Codzillas and the great range from Gidgee Lures. These lures are considered the ultimate cod fishing tool and they have picked up a lot of the larger yellowbelly also.

Trolling them in 6-7m of water has been a very successful tactic of late. Time on the water has also been the key, with keen anglers putting in 10-13 hour days, but with good results.

River levels and water clarity will fluctuate over the next month, especially leading up to Easter and the Mildura ski race, which usually makes fishing conditions tough. Yellowbelly activity will drop off at this time of year, and trolling techniques employed throughout the summer will now need to be adapted to suit the cooler conditions when Murray cod begin to dwell in the shallows. This is where casting into snags and rock piles comes into a world of its own.

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