Murray cod don’t mind the May weather
  |  First Published: May 2017

May rolls in and we notice the drop in temperature as the seasons prepare for the change into winter. This drop in temperature can slow down some styles of fishing, but it’s also the recipe for some of the best freshwater fishing conditions in the region!

As the water cools off the smaller natives begin to go dormant but the big Murray cod become active. When you mix active fish with low water levels you have the perfect recipe for success.


The Murrumbidgee River is a magical place to be at this time of year. The nights are cold with foggy mornings rolling into beautiful crisp days, meaning clear and low running water and big Murray cod. The fishing at this time of year can be both tough and rewarding. You will have to work hard for the fish, but the effort is worth it with the larger size of fish. It’s not uncommon to find fish between 80-100cm. The big logs become exposed with the low flowing waters.

The largest fish in the waterway will always hold on structure that will be covered even in the lowest of flow. This means that when the river is running high with irrigation flows the large fish are too far down and we can’t get our lures into the strike zone. With the lower flows during May there is less current and depth, which allows our lures to get right down in front of the fish.

As long as we don’t receive any rain, the river will be clear. This means you need to keep your distance from the structure (if you’re fishing from a boat). This is to ensure you don’t spook the fish. They will be a little more on edge in the clear water and can be easily spooked.

Casting spinnerbaits is my favourite and preferred fishing method at this time of year. Try to target the larger logs and leave the smaller twiggy ones alone. You want to cast tight in against the structure, targeting the key areas like the root ball, any crossovers and forks in the logs. When there is little to zero current make sure you let your lure sink down near the bottom (to the bottom is even better), before starting your retrieve.

My favourite spinnerbaits are the Mud Guts 5/8oz and at this time of year when you’re targeting bigger fish it pays to add a larger tail and a stinger hook. PowerBait Rib Shads and a 3/0 stinger hook are worth a run on your lures.

Tumut River

The Tumut River will also be a spot that you can’t go past if you’re a keen trout angler. Flyfishers love the lower flowing waters, and swinging nymphs are the preferred method. I covered this technique in detail in the previous report. It’s definitely a technique worth using throughout May while the river is low.

Spinning with a range of spinners, small hardbody lures and soft plastics will work wonders. If you’re after larger brown trout, target the deeper, slow flowing bends and under willows tight in against the shadows. If you are after some of the smaller fish and hard fighting rainbows, target above and below the rapids. The feeding fish will sit in these areas and wait for food to flow past.

The easiest technique is to stand on the bank and cast across the river. Use a medium to fast paced retrieve back and the aggressive rainbows won’t be able to resist. It’s a great technique that has previously caught us plenty of trout during May.

This month will bring great fishing as long as we don’t receive large amounts of rain. If we do get rain like we did last year, the fishing in the Murrumbidgee River will probably be ruined due to high and dirty waters. We just have to hope that the rains hold off until late May. Light patchy rain won’t disturb the flow of the river.

Remember, May is the time for big fish. Grab some spinnerbaits, bulk them up with big plastics and start casting at the large red gum logs!

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