Fishing on the Murray

The Murray River is great for fishing, from its upper reaches where anglers cast flies in search of trout and salmon to its slow-moving, deep-water sections hiding perch (yellowbelly), redfin, bream and the dreaded European carp. The introduced carp has long been a problem in the Murray–Darling system, where it breeds intensively (think infestation), muddies the waters and generally upsets the riverine ecology. Carp is a declared pest, so it’s illegal to release the fish back into the water once caught. And don’t bother eating them – they taste like mud.

The big prize is the elusive Murray cod, Australia’s largest freshwater fish and a native in these waters. The Murray cod is a long-lived fish – the biggest and oldest can weigh upwards of 100kg – and there are plenty of tales of the ones that got away. The cod is carnivorous and can be caught by using yabbies, grubs, river shrimp, small fish or trolling with a lure. Unfortunately, current numbers of cod are low. At the time of research, anything under 55cm must be released back into the water; the bag limit is one.

To fish in Victorian waters you need a recreational fishing licence ($10 per three days or $36 per year), available from many shops along the Murray or from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources.