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Dan Hawkins with Murray Cod

Murchison Edition

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With the recent expansion of the GoFish Nagambie tournament zone to include Murchison I thought it was a good idea to get out there and share some of the expectations, challenges and rewards you are likely to face when fishing this well-known monster Murray Cod hotspot.

THE LOCATION

Situated on the Goulburn River, Murchison is a small rural town and farming community that relies on the river and channels as its main water and irrigation source. Because of this, the water levels in the Goulburn river that run through Murchison can fluctuate from one day to the next making it a challenging, but extremely rewarding place to fish.

THE ZONE

The tournament zone ends at the Murchison football and netball club just off River Road and includes all waterways back towards the Goulburn weir. 

There is a boat ramp at the end of Campbell’s Bend Road that is accessed via a four-wheel drive track with plenty of trailer parking and very easy manoeuvrability to launch and park safely.

THE RIVER

With the fluctuating water levels it can be a challenging waterway to chart. When the river runs low, there are parts of the river you could walk across, the structure is very visible and the stock banks are left high and dry. When the river runs high there is plenty of structure that sits just below the water level and your prop becomes a makeshift chainsaw! Be aware!

There is plenty of structure – PLENTY. From small fallen trees and branches to monster red gum tree trunks and root balls, there is timber and hiding spots everywhere.

FISHING FROM THE BANK

There are ample opportunities to fish from the Murchison banks and these are highlighted in the GoFish Nagambie Tournament zone maps. Upstream from the boat ramp at Campbells Bend you will find nice soft sand banks to fish from with very easy access.

For those of you that are wanting to walk the bank, flicking at the exposed structures as you go, you will find that the riverbanks can become quite steep but not impossible to navigate.

The benefits you will have fishing from the bank over being on the water is that you will be able to access the back of the structures where cod like to sit in wait, get in behind some low hanging willows where yellow belly like to school up and be very selective on where you fish  the slack water pockets that are proven holding grounds for Cod trying to nab an easy feed.

FISHING FROM THE WATER – BOAT OR KAYAK

Because of the unpredictable nature of the Goulburn river through Murchison with the ebbs and flows, the smaller structure and broken tree branches are constantly on the move. It really is a perfect spot for smaller boats and kayaks that can manoeuvre through tight spaces. There are no shortages of anchoring positions that provide great opportunities to cast in tight on those exposed logs. The centre of the river runs at an average depth of 4 to 6 meters and holds some deep pockets up to 8 meters. The amount of submerged structure makes it difficult to troll through the strike zone, so checking the water depth and matching that to the dive depth of your lure is crucial for a successful hook up. 

ADDITIONAL TIPS, BAIT SELECTION AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

With Murchison having so much structure to fish, weather on the land or the water, flicking surface is a must on those early morning sunrise sessions. Those monster cod could be hiding anywhere and could be hungry at any time. Your chances of getting one off the top are far more favourable during the periods of low light when they feel more comfortable to venture out for a feed. When the sun starts to peek through the eucalyptus trees, stay on the shaded side of the river and get a few more flicks on the top before changing to your hardbodies or your spinnerbaits. When you do change lures and tactics and start flicking and retrieving hardbodies or spinnerbaits in and around the tight structure, try to visualize what that fallen tree or root ball may look like underwater. Chances are if you have a clear mental picture of that structure before you cast, you will be far more confident that you are casting into the pockets that are holding fish and won’t waste casts out in no man’s land!

If you are choosing to bait fish go with your old trusty! Be it chicken, cheese or natural baits like grubs, worms and yabbies they are all tried and true cod catchers in Murchison. If you want a local tip, the go to is freshwater shrimp. River shrimp are in good numbers through Murchison and easily caught with a bait trap. If you are bait fishing, try to not get distracted, it is very easy to park your rod in a holder and pick up your phone, sort through your tackle box or get stuck into your breakfast. If the fish do come to make an enquiry, make sure you are home to answer the call! That’s one call you do not want to miss! The 80k Cod call!

Happy fishing and stay safe!

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