Still plenty of possibilities
  |  First Published: September 2006

From the start of this the closed season for Murray cod applies until the end of November and although this limits our options to a certain degree, there are still plenty of possibilities for us freshwater anglers. 

This time of year dams are our best options and they start to heat up this month. Wyangala, Burrendong and Windamere dams will be places I will head in September as the fish start to move. And it gives the cod in the rivers a break.  

Another option is to head to the coast, where now we have the perfect excuse try our luck in the salt. I recently had a trip to the South Coast with a few mates and had a fantastic time catching tailor, bream, snapper, flounder and salmon.    

It could also be time to just have a break from fishing, wash your gear, re-rig all your lines and sharpen your hooks or stock up on gear.

A final option is to really try to target yellowbelly if you must hit the rivers, which I don’t really recommend because there is a lot of data reflecting the effect of cod being caught during this time of year.  

To target yellas means downgrading your size of your lures, hooks and bait and leaving the cod to do their thing. Lures such as those from Deception, Viking, Rapala and small StumpJumpers are more specific to yellowbelly.

If I had a choice I would head to the coast for two months, buy a heap of gear and then pay for someone to wash my gear and get it ready for the start of the cod season, but I’m only dreaming.


Recent rains at the time of writing are looking good for when the cod season reopens, especially if there is follow-up rain to get the run-off and at least lift the levels of the catchment.

At this time of year around the Warren area a lot of yellowbelly get caught and this is a great area to target them. Shrimp are no doubt the best yellowbelly bait but are hard to get at this time of year.

Smaller lures cast among the snags will also work. If one yellowbelly is caught, cast in the same area for a period because where there is one yella there are quite often more.  


The Darling and Barwon remain murky and, with the recent rain, don’t look like clearing. If you are after yellowbelly, head between Walgett and Collarenebri because there are a heap of yellowbelly in this section and plenty of river access.


The Lachlan is also a great river to target yellas, especially around the Forbes area and even further out towards Hillston. This is a river that really needs some rain and a good flush.

A flush would also help the cod that are trying to breed in this system as it hasn’t had a lot of water for quite a while.

The Lachlan is also a great place to target carp. Take the kids out with some corn and let them catch a few fish and leave the cod alone for a few months.


These two dams are your best bet over the next couple of months as fish start to become active, especially if we get a couple of hot days strung together.

Wyangala has fished well in previous years, especially for yellowbelly at this time of year. They seem to bite on bait first, in particular in the shallower bays with weed or good ground cover that the water has inundated recently.  

Burrendong will also start to heat up with action over the coming months. Redfin and yellowbelly will be the first to come on the chew.

My father and I recently had success here using River 2 Sea soft plastic yabbies bobbed around the structure for a few redfin and a yellowbelly.


Dave Wickham with a solid golden perch caught after 10 minutes of hitting the same snag in the Macquarie down from Gin Gin weir.


A great way to beat the cod closed season is to head to the coast and try the bream on lures.

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