Cod go with the flow
  |  First Published: April 2010

Perhaps the construction of an Ark might be a bit premature but the signs are encouraging as most of the Murray Darling basin gets a long overdue drink.

Good rains up north have ensured the Darling will spill into the Murray for a few months to come, rendering the water colour below Wentworth little better than a good strong brew of milk coffee. Good news for bait fishos but those using lures will no doubt do it a little tough.

Could it be South Australia is in for big flows and the arduous job of rethinking their cod fishing closure?

With good flows down the river, perhaps already existing stocks of mature breeding fish will go about the business of propagation, ensuring a viable stock of smaller fish to sustain future populations.

I guess only time will tell but one hopes the river down that end flows hard and high through the prime breeding months of Spring.

Upstream to Robinvale and above, the Murray has been up and down like the toilet seat in a curry house.

Most would be aware of the lockjaw antics that Murray cod display when the river begins to fall, when even the dumb ones suddenly become smart.

This is fishing at its toughest and over the past month anglers have paid the price of a river that won’t sit still.


The smaller rivers, too, have been influenced by increased flow and dirty conditions but it’s not all bad news; those using bait have found the golden perch don’t mind the dirty flows.

I recently spent a few days at the Balranald Murrumbidgee Fishing Classic, where a good field of anglers caught some very nice golden perch on bait.

A few cod were also in the mix, proving that dirty water can produce the goods for those that turn their hand to suit the conditions.

The Murrumbidgee in this area is full of giant cod and as we push further into the season, perhaps we will see a little clarity for those casting lures. Keep an eye out for this competition next year as it is very well run in a quaint little spot that has a laid-back feel and some excellent fishing.

The Wakool, too, has seen plenty of dirty water but it hasn’t stopped anglers catching good numbers of golden perch and a few smaller cod on bait.

Those fishing surface lures just on dark are still catching some nice cod in the murky waters, with one specimen taken in nearby Niemur Creek weighing an impressive20kg.

So don’t dismiss the use of lures just because the water is dirty.

I would like to tell you that things might return to normal over the coming month but hey, what’s normal? We have become accustomed to a decade of drought and low water levels and so far this season we have had to contend with increased water flow and less than perfect clarity.

However, there is one thing we can be sure of regardless the conditions: Everything must eat and no doubt that includes the many giant Murray cod that reside in our local waters.

Windows of opportunity will be far more spread between locks and those who do their homework will find that opportunities are won and lost in a few short days.

I suggest if you intend to travel up this way for a session on the cod, a few phone calls to local tackle shops could spell the difference between a loaded rod and a dragging bottom lip. After all there is nothing better than up to date local information.

This golden perch found it hard to resist the new striped pattern Bassman spinnerbait.

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