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A shift in angling dynamics
  |  First Published: September 2016



Good rainfall has transformed dry arid landscape to one of carpet green. It’s a great start to the cropping season, and one that has more promise to come. As the wet continues, many smaller creeks and rivers have swollen and the good flows have carried into the main body of the Murray River.

The Murray will continue to rise over coming weeks and much of the water clarity will be lost to anglers using lures, but it doesn’t take much to change the dynamics of fishing. Anglers need to adjust in order to catch their quarry. Dirty water and good flows have many angling positives. If the flow gets high enough, yabbies will scurry free from their hidden chambers and begin to feed en masse. There’s nothing better than a good yabby session, other than the chance to dine on these delicious crustaceans.

High flows also aid the future recruitment of native fish, especially if the waters run into spring, when both Murray cod and golden perch breed. Research shows the best years of native fish recruitment coincide with good flows and high water levels. The good flows will see the Darling River get a long overdue drink. Forced into holes, the numerous cod and perch will be free, swimming the course of the river for many years to come.

Bait fishing is now the most effective way to tempt a fish. If you’re chasing Murray cod, a large grub or yabby will often draw them from cover. Fish your baits on the top side of the snag, as this allows the current to drag bait juices and aromas down along the structure. Once cod have picked up the scent, they’ll swim out of the snags to grab your bait, into open water. Large scrub-worms and cheese are good baits for cod in dirty water. Murray cod are particularly fond of cheese, but it’s a matter of getting it to stay pinned on a hook.

Perch will often bite well when the flow is up and dirty. Some of our best captures have been taken under similar conditions. Large scrub worms fished on the edge of eddies and backwaters will tempt a bite. Perch tend to take bait slowly and mouth it for a minute or two before they eat it. Catfish seem to feed in dirty flows, and while they fight well on rod and reel, they are a protected species that must be returned to the river.

In the pool water at Robinvale, fishing has been slow with only a few cod landed on bait. The perch have been cooperative and biting well, when the barometric pressure has been on the rise. Below the inlet at Euston, downstream to Wemen and beyond, it’s a similar story with all the fish taken on bait. High dirty flows provide new angling opportunities and favourable conditions for future native fish recruitment.

1

Dean Norbiato landed this fantastic cod in the Darling River on a Bassman spinnerbait. Good rains should see long overdue flows in the Darling River over the coming months.

2

If the dirty flows get high enough, perhaps the yabbies will run.

3

In dirty water conditions, yabbies and grubs are great bait for Murray cod.

4

Several reports of cod have come in from around the inlet at Euston, since the dirty water arrived.

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