Cod season closed
  |  First Published: September 2003

This month heralds the start of the closed Murray cod season in NSW. These fish must be released unharmed until December 1, after which anglers will again be permitted to take home two fish over 50 cm.

We have started getting a bit more rain out west, although we are still in need of days of solid rain to initiate some runoff into our catchments.

As with the climate, the fish have been temperamental of late. Anglers throughout Central Western and Western NSW have reported patchy fishing over the past month. All our rivers have been low for some months now and this is no doubt having a large effect on the local fish populations.

September is generally the first month when we notice the days getting longer and warmer. The fishing tends to pick up from the Winter doldrums in most parts of western NSW. This month I think the state of our rivers will have the biggest influence on the fishing. If we get some good Winter rain, who knows, we could be in for some good Spring action.


The Darling River has been low for several months. A few small rises in past months have produced fish for anglers. However, the fishing has been a bit quieter than normal for this time of year.

Anglers fishing baits on the Darling River have fared best in the Tilpa area, where golden perch up to 2kg have been reported. A few good yellowbelly and the odd Murray cod were reported by anglers fishing the river around Louth over the Louth Races period. Golden perch have been taken on baits of yabby tails and prawns, while grubs have accounted for many of the cod caught. The river has remained murky, making it difficult for anglers using lures to take fish.

Spring is a usually good time to fish the Darling. The Murray cod may be protected for spawning but the golden perch are generally active. If we receive some rain early in the month, the new water in the system should pick the fishing right up.


Anglers along the Lachlan River have reported a very low, sluggish watercourse. The fishing seems to have been best along the Condobolin to Hillston stretch. In these parts, some good yellowbelly to 1.5kg and the occasional cod to 10kg have been reported. Fish were taken predominantly on yabbies, shrimp and grubs.

The unseasonably warm weather has resulted in a few fish coming from the Cowra to Forbes section. The river, although very low in these parts, has produced the odd fish for anglers prepared to wet a line.

In the area from Forbes through to Hillston, anglers usually look forward to September, as it tends to coincide with some good fishing. Water release for irrigation (if it occurs) brings about a rising river and this, combined with warming temperatures and longer days, results in good fishing. It is for this reason that many of us out west are still eager for plenty more rain. Our rivers desperately need a good flush to keep our native fish stocks healthy.


The Macquarie River from Dubbo to Narromine has been desperately low of late. The resident fish tend to be very docile through the colder months. The unseasonably warm temperatures of early July resulted in a few fish being caught. The Narromine to Warren stretch fished the best. Anglers reported several small cod and few large golden perch.

There was an unconfirmed report of a golden perch of more than 5kg. Although lures accounted for a few of the cod, the majority of fish were taken on yabbies, worms and grubs.

The beginning of this month brings with it the protection of all Murray cod for the next three months. Many local anglers tend to leave the river alone for these months as cod are traditionally the main fish caught in this area. However, with reports of some XOS golden perch about, some anglers may be tempted to wet a line.

If you happen to be out on our western river systems this month and catch a cod, please respect the laws and release it unharmed. Murray cod have made a good comeback in the past five years. Many anglers can today be reasonably confident of fishing their local waterway and tangling with one of these great fish. It wasn’t that long ago when many of us thought it was a good fishing trip to catch a single cod in a week’s fishing

A few good yellowbelly have been taken on baits in the past month in the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers.

Leading into September, Murray cod were taken in varying numbers in most of our western river systems. These fish are now protected until December 1.

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