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The Mighty Murray part 3 - Lakes on the Murray. by Neil Slater

As the Murray River winds its way from the Victorian highlands, its waters warm as they flow through the lowland plains. These warmer farming areas of southern New South Wales and northern Victoria require a steady supply of water to keep the crops lush. To assist with this irrigation, two weirs were constructed across the Murray River thus forming the grand lakes of Hume and Mulwala.
These lakes provide good fishing and draw anglers from all over the country for a shot at the abundant cod that make Mulwala famous or those thumping Golden perch found in Lake Hume.

Lake Hume - the ideal mixed fishery

Located at the foothills of the Victoria high plains adjacent the twin towns of Albury and Wodonga, is Lake Hume. This is a prime example of a productive 'mixed' fishery where fish native to Australia and desirable imports such as trout can co-exist to provide a productive year-round fishery.
Both the trout and native fish thrive as the food, in the form of forage fish, yabbies (small crayfish) and insects are all prolific. During the cooler months, the trout and English perch (redfin) are the main targets and the natives come on the bite in the warmer half of the year.
The trout in Lake Hume can get to fantastic sizes and the tailrace fishery under the weir is one of the better places in Australia to target trophy trout that can approach 7kg in weight.
The local trout population can be caught using 'mudeye' (dragonfly larvae) and worms (amongst other baits), but it's the lure fishing below the weir wall that draws the crowds during the cooler months (there is a closed season for trout fishing during their spawning season in both New South Wales and Victoria - please check local guides).
Driven by the urge to spawn, the large brown trout of the Murray River head upstream and congregate under the weir of Lake Hume. Anglers in the know are normally waiting with lead lures known as 'lead-fish'. These heavy artificials are lowered to the bottom and jigged back to the boat through the deep, fast flowing water. This somewhat unconventional method of trout angling has accounted for many trophy brown trout over the years.
Another popular method is to walk the banks and cast deep diving lures into the backwaters and eddies caused by the fast flowing water.
This method is also particularly effective for targeting golden perch in the warmer months.

During the summer months, the water temperature rises to around 23-25 degrees and this sees the native fish come alive around the rocky points and steep banks.
Trout can still be caught at dawn or by using downriggers around the dam wall, as this is when and where the water is coolest.
Golden perch have been recorded at around 7kg in Lake Hume, which firmly cements it in the 'trophy waters' class as far as 'GPs' are concerned.
Murray cod and silver perch are also present in Lake Hume, but are nowhere near as prevalent as other species. They can be caught using conventional baits such as the bardi grub (for cod), worms or trolling deep-diving lures.
The redfin fishing in Lake Hume can really turn on a hot bite now and again. 'Reddies' have many keen anglers chasing this tasty European species during the summer months - when they bite best.
These fish can be caught using jigs and drifting the deeper (6-10m) sections of the lake, using baits and most minnow-style lures around the shallows or many drowned trees.

Golden perch love deep diving lures. This smaller model grabbed a locally made lure cast at a rocky outcrop in Lake Hume.

Mighty Mulwala
Lake Mulwala is without a doubt the jewel in the crown of the Murray River and a favourite destination of mine.
The lake is located on the NSW - Victorian boarder with the towns of Yarrawonga and Mulwala at its shores.
Lake Mulwala's fish population consists almost entirely of native fish, with a large population of carp and a lesser population of redfin.
The average size of the cod in Lake Mulwala would be fairly small at around 3-7kg, but there is a healthy population of this sized fish.

Each year fish in excess of 20kg are caught from this lake making it one of Australia's premier naturally recruiting cod impoundments.
The golden perch here are becoming more prevalent thanks to an ongoing stocking program.
Thousands of silver perch have been stocked into this lake, but seem to evade capture party due to their migratory habits, diet (being in direct competition with carp) and general tendency to shy away from lures.
Due to Mulwala's extensive snag-riddled shallows, casting surface lures and flies at dawn and dusk can really test out our heart!
Most cod caught this way are the smaller, more aggressive fish from 30 to 60cm.

Check out all those logs! Gav nervously eases a large spinnerbait along the edge of a likely looking snag. Just about every log has a cod under it at Mulwala - tempting them is another thing! Shallow snaggy areas such as this are prime spots for surface lures at dawn and dusk.
Yours truly, with a decent 57cm cod taken slow rolling a large spinnerbait amongst the logs at Mulwala.
Gav Moloney shows how it's done with a lovely little cod taken on a surface lure below the weir at Lake Mulwala. Most surface strikes occur during low light conditions and coincide with good insect activity - check out the bugs around Gav's head!

Both lakes are well catered for with boat ramps and caravan parks around their shores.
The towns around the lakes also have many great places to eat out and plenty of things to do which makes for a great family destination.
The bird life around both lakes is both spectacular and varied - well worth a trip for those avid bird watches and bush walkers.
Sunsets through the stands of drowned timber are equally spectacular so don't forget the photography equipment either.

Both lakes offer some stunning photo opportunities. The drowned timber is also haven for the sport fish that inhabit the lakes.

Hoo roo!


Related Topics:
Murray River Introduction - Neil Slater
Murray River Part 2. The Main Arterial - Neil Slater

Copyright© 2007 Neil Slater. Sweetwater Fishing Australia