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Water levels yo-yo
  |  First Published: March 2004



AFTER what was a dream start to the season, things have finally levelled out. The fluctuating water levels in the Murray and adjoining rivers have not only confused the anglers, they seem to have thrown the fish out of whack, too.

Cod can be relied on to feed up preceding a rise in water level, then shut down once the level begins to drop. This feeding pattern is increased if the fluctuations are dramatic. What we have experienced of late have been slow rises that do little to stimulate feeding and dramatic drops that shut the fish down altogether. Knowing where and when to be on the water has been a tough call. When the fishing is like this, it pays to cover a bit of ground.

PACK LIGHT, MOVE FAST

Our last three-day trip was like a re-run of the Leyland Brothers as we continually skipped from one river section to another in the hope of a hot bite. We spent almost as much time on the road as on the water but, at the end of the day, the rewards were worth the effort. Curlwaa Bridge, near Wentworth, produced a dozen golden perch around a kilo and a respectable cod of 16kg. All these fish were taken on AC Invader lures in metallic patterns.

An hour’s drive down stream the next day and we were on the other side of the lock and back on the water. Once again, there were plenty of golden perch on the Invaders but it was the pink Stump Jumper that produced the two green fish from this section of river one at 10kg and the other 15kg.

More than 200km back upstream to Robinvale and the last day of the trip was capped off with a 33kg mega-cod taken on a black Predatek Boomerang – an awesome fish and a great way to finish.

It was fitting reward for effort. It would have been a lot easier to stay in the one spot and cross our fingers but when the fishing is quiet, going the extra yard or, in this case, several hundred kilometers, was the key to success.

One river that has continued to fish well locally has been the Edwards, near Kylite. While the cod are smaller, catches of a dozen or more in a session are commonplace. Most of these fish have been taken on bait; grubs, shrimp and yabbies seem to be the pick. There have also been some nice perch taken, with the shrimp-worm cocktail proving deadly.

On the redfin scene, Lake Charm is producing good numbers with bags of 20-plus fish the rewards for being on the water early. Large freshwater shrimp have been the best bait, fished with little or no weight, depending on the weather conditions. While a few fish are around a kilo, the majority have averaged around 500g.

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