Is this a new beginning?
  |  First Published: March 2008

Have we seen the beginning of a new life flow that may quench the thirst of our parched inland rivers?

Heavy rains up north have sent a good flush down the Darling River with more expected to follow. A shadow of its former glory, the hard clay earth that lay stretched between holes, will drink in every drop.

It’s been a long time coming and those fish that have survived the dry have earned the right to once again move freely along the river’s course.

Perhaps we will see a boom in yabby numbers, something that usually goes hand in hand with a good flush. One can only hope, as it’s been many a year since I had a good feed of theses delightful crustaceans.

Downstream on the Murray we can expect to see the waters colour as this flow enters the system. This will change the tactics of many anglers who will swing from lures to bait.

It’s a common perception that lure fishing is only effective when water is of a good clarity. It’s simply not true.

Imagine how hungry the fish would have become when carp ruled the river, turning the water to mud for a decade or so.

During these soup-like conditions, talks with professional anglers would reveal the stomach contents of large Murray cod most often contained large bony bream. Proof enough that under the dirtiest water conditions Murray cod are more than capable of preying on fish, or as it be in the angler’s case: lures.

So do not be too hasty packing away those lures because some of our biggest captures have been taken under such conditions.

Those who do turn to bait will also catch fish, it’s simply a matter of fishing the right areas.

Freshly inundated snags or even mud flats are worth a look. Under these conditions, work closer to the bank where the pockets of backwater slow the current almost to a standstill.

It’s there the fish will sit, free of the main flow, in wait of small fish and other edibles to pass by.

Most sections of the Murray have produced fish and should continue to fish well over the coming month.

The Robinvale weir pool has seen cod to 20kg taken on lures in the deep.

Upstream, around Belsar Island, the news is also good with plenty of cod and perch taking trolled and cast lures.

There have also been some very good captures of golden perch through this area on bait and spinnerbaits cast around the snags.

In the smaller rivers like the Wakool and Edward, anglers casting surface lures are catching cod to 60cm.

Every now and then the odd monster fish frightens hell out of you as it explodes upon the lure with a sound that has few equals. Cod fishing at night is not for the faint of heart but it’s bloody enjoyable.

A few fish are also being caught along these rivers on bait, but they are generally of a smaller size. The better fish are coming on lures.

So the fishing hasn’t been too bad in most areas and with conditions set to change with rising water levels, things could get even better.

Let’s hope this fresh flush is the start of better things

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