Frosts fire up the fish
  |  First Published: September 2004

SOME BIG frosts and a little rain finally got the fires and heaters working out west.

Murray cod are protected from September 1 to December 1to allow them to spawn, so all cod caught should be returned to the water immediately.

There has been some good Winter fishing even though water levels have remained low. The frosts arrived along with some big high-pressure systems, giving us those cold starts but magical, still and mild days.

Cold nights and rising barometers made fish active in many waterways. The Lachlan and Darling River produced some good golden perch, while all of our systems turned on good cod fishing.

Although the cod are now off limits, local rivers should produce more goldens as these fish get active as the daylight length increases,


The Darling River has remained at mid to low levels for a few months and is starting to show the first signs of clearing, but bait anglers are still taking the majority of fish. Yabbies, worms and prawns fished in some of the deeper sections around structure have produced golden perch to 2kg and some good cod to 20kg.

The heads of deeper pools where there is a little flow have been worth targeting.

Without any new water, the river could start to clear this month. If so, the next few months should be popular with the lure brigade, when trolling and casting deep-diving lures should be productive.

Anglers using yabbies, prawns, worms and grubs will continue to take some good fish this month. Although the cod are protected, targeting deep-water structure should produce yellowbelly.


I fished the Lachlan River around Forbes recently. The river was depressingly low, as it has been for a long time. The high-pressure systems have produced a few active fish despite the low river levels.

Those fishing the river between Forbes and Hillston have reported some good yellowbelly and cod which have been taken predominantly on yabbies and worms. However, anglers throwing deep-diving lures and spinnerbaits around the timber have taken several fish.

The days should start to lengthen slowly this month, triggering the golden perch to become active for spawning. Since it is spawning time for our natives, keep only the yellowbelly that you really need for a fresh feed.


The Macquarie River has remained low and crystal-clear (unless it decides to rain between the time of writing and publication). The fish have been reasonably docile but a few periods of increased activity kept anglers happy.

The frosts and good high-pressure systems through July and August produced a few quality cod on bait and lures. Trolling large, dark deep-divers produced a few cod up to 15kg.

Most of the good fishing was below Dubbo, in the stretch from Narromine to Warren. Bait anglers in the Warren area have also reported a few golden perch.

The river around Dubbo, well-known for its cod fishing, should be somewhat quiet for the next few months with the cod closure. The closed season has had a good impact in this area, with the river full of juvenile cod each year for the past five years.

If you are out to target golden perch in this system, head farther downstream towards Warren and take yabbies, worms and grubs with you.

I recently took some of the Viking range of lures down to the river at Forbes for a bit of a test run. These lures are made by Alex Hickson, a writer who has had plenty to do with Fishing Monthly over the years. If you see some of these on the shelf, do yourself a favour and grab some.

Alex knows the native fishery in this area exceptionally well and I reckon he’s got the colour, depth and action of these lures just about spot on.

The Lachlan River at Forbes is looking the worse for wear at present. Here’s hoping for a wet Spring.

Russ Constable with a well-conditioned Winter cod taken in the Lachlan River. These fish are now protected until the start of December.

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