With the hot weather behind us, the next few months should improve for fishing with temperatures coming back to a more comfortable level.
February saw the Echuca district swelter through a record 47° on Black Saturday. We also had the lowest rainfall for the month in 20 years.
The scorching conditions saw a massive fish kill in the Wakool, Coligen and Niemur systems coinciding with recent inflows.
Reports told of up to 200 dead fish being removed from just one hole with the largest being at 155cm in length. Some of these fish would be up to 50 or 60 years old and many of us may never see fish of that size come out of this system again in our lifetime.
To hear of the iconic Murray cod rising to the surface and dying a slow, painful death is something we don’t want to see and hopefully never have to witness again.
Prior to the hot weather, good numbers of cod and golden perch were taken by lure flickers up from the Wakool bridge.
Jackall TN70s in black/purple belly (HL black) have been doing the damage on the natives. Cast these lipless crankbaits and give them a twitch or two as you lift and draw them on the way back – several fish have been taken on the drop.
Bassman spinnerbaits in the purple/white skirt have been the choice for Echuca’s Russell Rees. Over several evening trips, Russ and his mates were averaging six or seven fish.
Brian Hinson had a sensational day on the water, casting up a nice cod measuring in at 121.5cm.
There’s still good fishing to be had in the waters unaffected by the recent heat.
Over the last weekend of February the Mathoura Molin Marine Fishing Classic was held with a total of 884 entrants making their way to the waters around Tarragon Lodge.
Special guest was Fishing Monthly cod expert Rod Mackenzie, who was there to share some of his tips and experiences throughout the weekend.
With plenty of water flowing, it made lure fishing a difficult task.
Bait-soakers fared reasonably well with a total of six cod and five yellas caught.
Since the size limit has been raised to 60cm, many fish are falling short of the legal size. The longest cod measured 72cm and apparently was caught on a dim sim – steamed or fried, I’m not sure!
The biggest carp stretched out to a massive 86cm.
A week earlier, Leroy Walsh of Echuca fished the waters closer to Barmah and was busted off beside the boat by a good cod up around a metre.
The river from the junction back upstream to Cape Horn Winery has produced big numbers of silver perch and undersized cod.
On a recent family weekend we managed six cod up to 48cm and dropped another around 70cm. One good-sized yella was caught in the evening and a handful of carp thrown in over a couple of days.
Silver perch were plentiful with around 30-odd caught with a few around 40cm. Scrub worms, grubs, shrimp, night crawler worms, cheese and yabbies were all effective with the peeled yabby tail working better than the full yabby.
The average depth of the river was around 3m with some good trolling bends dropping to 6m with plenty of timber on the bottom.
At the time of writing the river level was the best for a long time, with the water backed up from the weir through to the east of Echuca. Grubs cast from the bank have been good for cod up to 78cm.
Spinnerbaits with chartreuse skirts have worked well for one angler who landed a nice cod of 111cm closer to Torrumbarry.
Several cod to 65cm have been taken on a variety of baits but most reports have been of undersized fish.
Golden perch have been active below the weir with walking down the snags and bobbing live shrimp around the timber the proven method.
Farther downstream towards Gunbower, only a few cod have been reported on bardi grubs fished upstream of the snags. Yellowbelly up to 2.4kg have favoured small yabbies in the Gunbower Creek
Remember, the Torrumbarry Community Club Classic will be held on April 4 and 5 with cash and prizes to be won – a great family weekend not to be missed.
For more information on what’s biting in the Echuca/Moama district, drop in to JT’s Fishing & Camping, Moama, opposite the Border Inn Hotel or phone Justin on 03 5480 3868.
Mick Hasset with a nice evening golden perch.Reads: 1944