River levels yo-yo
  |  First Published: March 2010

Unstable, stormy weather has meant mixed results with some excellent captures and some very poor returns for a few anglers putting in a full day’s fishing, to be rewarded with only a couple of bait-picking silver perch or the odd undersize cod.

In recent weeks the Murray has been rising and falling, making it hard to be in the right place at the right time.

Switched-on anglers are now using the internet to follow the water levels to see if a flush of water is coming through and are planning their fishing trips around these times.

Gone are the days of getting to your fishing destination only to find ‘the plug has been pulled’ the day before.

The water has been hovering around 24° but the overnight temps were getting down into the low teens. That’s probably a good thing as the weather is still at a comfortable temperature (not freezing) but the water temp is dropping, hopefully bringing out the bigger cod.


On the last weekend in February the Mathoura Fishing Classic attracted just over 900 competitors. Mother Nature was up to her old tricks again with fine weather on the Friday with competitors woken on Saturday by booming cracks of thunder and a light show to remember, followed by 25mm of rain.

This didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of anglers who threw every bait and lure at the unco-operative local natives.

Reports of dropping river levels didn’t help, with only a handful of legal cod caught and around nine golden perch measured.

One lucky angler walked away with the top prize of a boat and motor while others weren’t disappointed with the other prizes and giveaways on offer.

Rod Mackenzie passed on his tips and tricks to a receptive audience to hopefully get them one step closer to that fish of a lifetime and from all reports a great weekend was had by all.

The Edward River north of Mathoura has also been quiet with only small numbers of cod caught. Small hard-bodied lures (StumpJumpers and Vikings) have worked particularly well in the shallower water.

Early last month there were still plenty of shrimp on the move, giving the cod and yellas plenty of tucker – possibly another reason the fish have been quiet. The ever-reliable shrimp/worm cocktail will usually offer them something a little bit different.

As the water starts to cool the shrimp will be harder to find. Putting your shrimp nets in a little bit deeper will usually get you back amongst them.


From late February and into March blue-green algae was passing through, causing concern to the people who use the river. Local media posted warnings against eating fish taken from areas affected or drinking the water (who would be that thirsty?).

Cooler weather and a good flush will usually knock it on the head. The algal bloom didn’t seem to affect the fishing with several yellowbelly and silver perch caught from the bank on scrub worms.

Although the yellas were only 25cm to 30cm with no trophies among them, they were plentiful.

Keen fisho Winton Brown has been stirring up the big cod of Torrumbarry by casting spinnerbaits around the drowned timber. Two cod in as many weeks around 20kg to 25kg promise a season in coming months.

Torrumbarry will be the favoured destination for many to troll the slower water above the weir.

Larger lures that can still bounce off the bottom at 20’ to 40’ will fit in nicely around the deeper parts of the river. JD Pythons, Muldoon’s Big Mong and the AC Invaders, all with deep-diving bibs, will probe the deep, dark snags that cod call home.

Below Torrumbarry Weir, the fluctuating water levels have again sent the yellowbelly on a hot/cold bite.

One angler landed 18 yellas for the weekend on a mixture of shrimp/worm baits, lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits, then went back in the middle of the week and worked pretty hard to boat only three yellas. When they’re on, they’re on…

For more information on what’s biting around Echuca and Moama, drop into JT’s Fishing & Camping, opposite the Border Inn Hotel, Moama or phone 03 5480 3868.

Plenty of small cod have been caught in the Echuca district; a good sign for the future.

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