All gold at Mildura
  |  First Published: August 2009

Hello and welcome to my first Victorian Fishing Monthly, Mildura report and forecast. In the 1990s I was an active Bendigo based author and fishing writer, before stepping away from the keyboard to concentrate on family and career.

I’ll say from the outset that I am no Mildura region ‘fishing guru’, not by a long shot. Without a doubt I am ‘feeling my way’ gradually through this exciting fishing region, but that will be part of the adventure. As I find my feet up here I hope to get amongst a few fish and share these experiences with you all as they occur.

In the meantime I have some tremendous support from a couple of good mates in Wade and Joel, local tackle stores and some most extraordinary fishers of the region in VFM contributors Rod Mackenzie and Roger Miles. Thanks to all.

Murray River

The Murray cod is now in closed season. It has to be said that it’s been quite a good winter season. Whilst my totals at the time of writing are scant, Murray cod have been caught! The numbers were not huge as is the norm at this time of the year, but the fish were quality with fish up to and longer than the ‘magical metre’ being taken. I’ve not had any reports of captures by bait anglers at this point. That’s not to say that the cod wouldn’t take a well-presented bait, but I believe the majority of anglers brave enough to scoff at winter’s chill in search of a cod are the lure fisho’s.

Either casting or trolling lures has been successful. It can take many casts, or many hours working the structure with the trolled lures at this time of year. Trolling the big, deep diving lures through the 30-40’ depth mark is one sure way to tangle with a big green fish. The areas around and beyond Wentworth fished well, with some tremendously deep water and some large resident fish. I’ve been haunting the Curlwaa region lately and there are also some great troll runs through there, although very few (the ones I’ve found anyway) where you’ll need anything deeper than a 30’ lure.

Wherever you troll (come season opening), try and work-over a short promising run rather than the endless troll of a particular shoreline. At this time of year particularly, it may take several views of a lure to entice a strike from a resident Murray cod. The pooled water of this region makes it very easy to troll up or downstream, which is an incredible bonus. A presentation from the opposite direction is a luxury not afforded to all Murray River anglers. Food for thought for December 1!

The Sunraysia Lure Fishing Club had their regular outing in early August, this time to Coomealla. About 20 anglers had limited success, with a couple of Murray cod and a couple of golden perch taken for the day. One cod measured a credible 112 cm, a great fish in anyone’s language!

As per the report above, I’m pleased to report that at the time of writing the golden perch (yellowbelly or just perch for the Mildura locals) are finally waking up from their winter slumber. I was privileged recently to accompany Joel Davey on the maiden voyage of his spanking new Hornet. Fishing near Apex Park I christened his new boat for him with a great 45cm perch taken on a bibless rattling lure cast around a nice snag pile. A couple of further touches suggested the perch were there, but not quite switched on yet. With the water absolutely freezing, I don’t blame them!

With the low water temperatures, bait anglers are currently finding the shrimp a little scarce too. September should see both the shrimp and goldens more active, giving rise to the tremendous spring perch run the Mildura region is famous for. At these times the perch are fairly widespread, however there are a number of renowned hotspots for both boat and shore based anglers, such as Lock 11 in the middle of town, Apex Park and upstream from the Merbein pumps on the ‘mad mile’. The local golden perch are good responders to all forms of fishing. Worms, yabbies and the locally sourced shrimp are all ideal baits. Cast hard bodied and spinnerbait lures also work well, with the bibless rattling lures being particularly successful in recent years.

I must confess to being a relative newcomer to using this style of lure, the price of the popular brand was somewhat of an obstacle. I’m pleased to say that I have found many more economical options of these lures about, both in local tackle stores and online. With a 100% catch rate so far on the cheapies, I’m rapt!!

I’m very happy to get your feedback. Please email me at --e-mail address hidden-- with ‘fishing’ in the title if you’d like to submit a report or a digital photograph of your capture. I’m also happy to field any fishing related enquiries you may have, send ‘em through and I’ll do my best!

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