Time to chase some gold
  |  First Published: October 2006

Springtime along the Murray and its adjoining rivers is a time of plenty and at the other end of the spectrum, it’s also a time of none.

Over the next few months our beloved Murray cod are protected under a blanketed closed season. There’s a zero bag limit and zero tolerance shown to those who continue to target them, even if their intentions are to release their catch.

Let’s give these iconic fish a fair go; after all, doesn’t every creature, fin, feet or fur, deserve a little lovin’ every now and again?

In the case of old Murray, he or she has three months of full-on fraternisation and child-rearing before they fall once more under the sights of anglers. It’s not long to be at peace, get to know someone, raise a family and, once again, commence the life-and-death business of dodging bait and lures. And we think we’ve got it tough!

While the cod get a little down time, golden perch are not so privileged. They are forced to keep at least one eye open as they go about their reproductive business.

Having spent the cooler months on a lean diet, the first of the warm weather sends these fish into overdrive in more ways than one. Bait or lure is of little consequence; as their metabolism rises, the need to replace fuel sees them less selective than normal.


They are quite predictable in their whereabouts as the water begins to warm. They favour the shallow pockets and still recesses of the river. Just one or two degrees is enough to draw and hold fish and, likewise, your angling attention.

Minimal current allows you to fish with little or no sinker weight. Fish close to timber if it applies to these areas and use large baits that provide plenty of scent; worms are particularly effective at this time of year. A prime snag can, and most often does, hold several fish.

When working lures, target similar locations and use as small a lure as you can comfortably cast. Shrimp and baitfish are small at this time of the season so try to match the hatch where possible.

Smaller rivers like the Edward, Wakool and Murrumbidgee all fish well at this time of year, as do the shallow stretches along the Murray River. Swan Hill, Boundary Bend and Wemen are all top destinations providing plenty of action on the goldens, be it from bank or boat.

When catching golden perch for the table, try to show a little restraint because like the Murray cod they are also in breeding mode.

Most of the larger fish will be heavy in roe. These are quite distinguishable by their larger than normal belly shape and by the red, swollen anal vent area – a dead giveaway. These big breeders should be returned to the river.

If you are chasing a feed of fish and don’t mind golden perch instead of cod, there’s no better time to hit the water.

Everywhere you look from an angling perspective, the fishing is a little like the weather – things are getting that little bit warmer every day.

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