Along the Murray River it’s business as usual, with the river producing great numbers of golden perch on bait. It’s a seasonal recipe that never fails. Just mix a month of warm weather with a high spring flow and you’ll get a run of golden perch that are relatively easy to catch.
Numbers of shrimp in the Murray have begun to increase and a cocktail of these translucent crustaceans mixed with worms will tempt perch from their hiding places every time. The bite in along the Murray has been consistent on bait with Tol Tol, Robinvale, Euston and Wemen all producing good perch. The cod have sparked this last month and accidental captures lay the foundation for the open season yet to come. Water clarity along the Murray has been poor and has seen anglers shift to bait. With the river currently falling the Murray should begin to clear over the coming weeks and lures will once more come into play. All up it’s a typical spring bite with plenty of gold on offer in the eddies and snags for anglers drowning bait.
While I don’t mind catching a few perch, the closed Murray cod season seems to have dragged on longer than those of previous years. While three months may not seem long to your average Joe, it’s more like an eternity to those afflicted with green fish fever. So a few weeks back, a chance to wet a line and scratch the itch saw us crammed in the ute for the twelve hour drive to Copeton Dam.
Located in the New England region of Northern NSW, Copeton Dam is roughly three times the size of Sydney Harbour and its crystal clear waters act as a magnet to those who fish for Murray cod. There is no closed cod season at Copeton Dam as it’s believed the Murray cod do not breed in this large waterway.
Copeton is regularly stocked with Murray cod, and the diverse size of fish from small to large in the dam shows that this stocking program is working well. Copeton’s banks and islands are made up of numerous granite boulders some larger than the family car and they provide the perfect cover for some absolutely thumping Murray cod.
Our introduction to the Copeton cod population came on the third cast from the bank. It was mid-morning and the long drive had all but taken the sting from three keen anglers. With camp set, a quick kip in the swag was interrupted as Jamie Stewart informed me that our fishing mate Bryden Whitfield was on the fish. I climbed out from the swag just in time to see Bryden wrestle a striking coloured cod of at least 15kgs from the water. Not a bad introduction to Copeton cod and a ripper catch from the bank! The fish had inhaled a large soft plastic fish imitation that looked as lifelike as any lure I had ever seen in the water. Over the next few days we scored numerous cod from this excellent fishery including several large fish on surface lures during periods of low light.
During our stay we camped by the waters edge in the Copeton Waters Caravan Park. There are several different locations throughout the park that have shower and toilet facilities for those wanting to camp right on the waters edge. The main campground has a kiosk, powered sites and cabins. There are quality meals available on site at a great price and the park has numerous activities for all the family. With a great atmosphere not to mention the chance to fish for Murray cod during the close Copeton Dam is one location I will most certainly be returning to at least a couple of times a year.Reads: 1965