Cod will­ing, an­glers will catch many more


ADRIAN Leo has been fish­ing in the Cam­paspe River be­tween Ep­palock Dam and El­more for years.

He has walked pretty much ev­ery inch of the reach, look­ing for the per­fect spot to wet a line. In re­cent times that has be­come a lot eas­ier.

“Over the past few years, ev­ery­thing is health­ier,” he said.

“The wa­ter qual­ity has im­proved, es­pe­cially in the ar­eas that have been fenced off, and the fish­ing has re­ally im­proved.

“It’s not just the num­ber and their size, but it is the health of the fish as well. I have caught Mur­ray cod in a lot of rivers and they have been skinny; you can see their ribs.

“It’s the op­po­site in the Cam­paspe. The cod and the yel­low belly have a lot of meat on them, have more vi­brant colours and are a lot health­ier.”

Adrian is a catch-and-re­lease fish­er­man and has seen a big dif­fer­ence in the size of both the cod and golden perch (yel­low belly) be­ing pulled out of the river.

“My largest cod is 85cm, but my mate caught one that was 104cm, which is al­most un­heard of in the Cam­paspe,” he said.

“I’ve caught a cou­ple of 70cm cod, in­clud­ing a 75cm with a sur­face lure, and a lot of 50s. I have also caught a heap of 30s, which proves there are dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions swim­ming around.”

Mur­ray cod spawn­ing was recorded for the first time in the Cam­paspe River last year, on the back of the an­nual win­ter and spring flows.

The en­dan­gered fish has been a fo­cus of the North Cen­tral Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (CMA), as has the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered sil­ver perch, the vul­ner­a­ble Mur­ray Dar­ling rain­bow­fish, and golden perch.

“Wa­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment is used to keep wa­ter lev­els rel­a­tively steady and pre­vent rapid in­creases or de­creases that oc­cur as a re­sult of fluc­tu­at­ing de­mand dur­ing the ir­ri­ga­tion sea­son,” North Cen­tral CMA en­vi­ron­men­tal flows project man­ager Dar­ren White said.

“A steady flow means the cod will stay on their nests, which in­creases the chances of suc­cess­ful spawn­ing. We want fish like the ones Adrian has caught to hang around as long as they can.

“That’s why we are start­ing our spring flow in the com­ing weeks.”

An ini­tial pulse will help clear the banks of leaf lit­ter, mit­i­gat­ing against a sum­mer black­wa­ter event.

“Af­ter that, a steady flow will move down, help­ing the cod, as well as im­prov­ing veg­e­ta­tion,” Mr White said.

A max­i­mum of 18,000ML of wa­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment will flow down the river un­til De­cem­ber, on top of ir­ri­ga­tion flows, timed to ben­e­fit the cod and the over­all health of the river.

Less than 20 per cent of Vic­to­ria’s wa­ter en­ti­tle­ments are al­lo­cated to the en­vi­ron­ment, with 60 per cent di­verted for ir­ri­ga­tion, and an­other 20 per cent for towns and cities.

The lat­est sea­sonal ir­ri­ga­tion de­ter­mi­na­tion for the re­gion has the Cam­paspe re­main­ing at 100 per cent al­lo­ca­tion for high re­li­a­bil­ity wa­ter shares.

Reg­u­lar up­dates are posted on the North Cen­tral CMA web­site at nc­

Adrian Leo caught an 85cm Mur­ray cod in the Cam­paspe.

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