Ripper season ahead
  |  First Published: December 2003

THE WARMER weather is finally upon us, heralding the start of what should be another ripper season in this area.

From Swan Hill to Wentworth, the Murray River has turned on some impressive fishing for several seasons now and I see no reason for this trend to change. From shallow, fast-running sections to deep, slow pools, this 600km stretch of river is an open book on fishing techniques for our beloved native fish. Results are limited only by an angler’s ability and imagination.

The opening of cod season in most areas was dominated by bait anglers, with water clarity very poor, so bardi grubs, yabbies and scrub worms accounted for the majority of fish taken over the first few weeks.

Lure fanatics are always going to do it hard under such conditions. Lures in fluorescent pinks or oranges, cast or trolled in the shallower sections of river, will generally bring the best results. I would also be leaning towards lures containing rattles, or at least a strong, heavy action.

Once the water begins to clear, the lure-fishing will hot up. Swan Hill, Boundary Bend, and Wemen are all productive areas during January and trolling is the most practised method. Each of these areas has at least one boat ramp, while bankside launch spots for smaller craft are a dime a dozen and easily accessible.

Bait anglers also do well on cod and golden perch, with grubs and shrimps being the most popular and productive baits. Unlike some of our larger impoundments that produce some truly monster goldens, the fish in this section of the Murray generally average from 1kg to 2kg, with anything above regarded as a beauty. However, what the perch lack in size, the cod more than make up for with fish 20kg and above being regular captures throughout the season.

The Wakool River near Kyalite has already been producing good numbers of cod on baits of shrimp and worms. While the majority of these fish have been on the smaller side, some absolute snorters are nabbed in this river every season. Casting spinnerbaits or hard-bodied lures in this river is also very successful when the water clears up a little.

For those interested in a feed of redfin, Lake Charm, near Swan Hill, has begun to fire with fish to a kilo or better being taken on bait and lures. As the weather continues to warm, so too should the fishing. Best baits have been minnows and small yabbies while any small lure with a minnow-type profile and tight action will bring results. Soft plastics are also well worth a go and will often outfish all other methods on the right day.

Over the coming months I hope to report on some of the notable catches this area of the Murray is renowned for and hopefully a few more techniques and any new areas that come to light.

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