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Suffice to say that 2019 has been the worst year for fishing in a long time. The severe drought and continual low water conditions has made the boat (almost) redundant. Last week I ventured onto the Murrumbidgee to hone the casting skills and try for a Yellowbelly or two. Boy was I disappointed. Hundreds of casts and not a sign of interest. Even more disappointing is the River being full of weed. Maybe somebody on Fishraider can tell me if this is a good thing for the natural environment or not. It's the first time, in over 20 years , that I have encountered this situation. Water levels are still critically low but there is the odd day when a flow is released from the dams, eventually making its way down to where I can launch the boat.

Optimism?? The weekend has provided us with the first decent rainfall in a few years. The spirits are immediately lifted by the sound of rain pounding on the roof and the sight of water flowing along the roadside gutters. Even the air smells different!

I have been preparing the rods, replacing line on the reels and rearranging the tackle in anticipation of a good Cod opening day

Will the Murray Cod season, now less than 4 weeks away, be better than the last one? Well it certainly can't be worse. But is it too early to be optimistic? Time will tell!

The waiting continues, bn

 

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A hybrid Murray Cod /Trout Cod

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A Golden Perch (Yellowbelly)

 

 

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Hi Neil,

The Macquarie river was a similar story with very poor fishing last year compared to previous cod seasons. Hopefully We see an improvement this season.

As far as the weed growth goes we see a similar result with considerable weed growth in times of low river levels and flows only to see the weed disappear after the first half decent flooding event. I've seen many cycles like this and have never seen a negative affect from the weed growth.

I Have seen smaller streams totally choked up and become unfishable due weed growth from lack of water flow so hopefully your river doesn't get that bad.

The rain we received was very welcome. Far from drought breaking but enough to settle the dust for a few days.

Here's hoping for a good season of rain and fishing ahead.

Cheers, Trav

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Neil. The rains will come, maybe not enough and maybe not soon enough to save a lot of farmers lifestyle but they will come. We had a cloud burst at Burrinjuck and then another as you state just recently so a couple of follow ups will see a bit more water in the rivers.

Hope it's sooner rather than later but we just have to keep our chins up and keep hoping.

Frank

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It’s never too early for optimism... that’s being optimistic! 😂 I do hope things change soon, though. We’ve been through this before, about 20 years ago and got through it, so hopefully we can this time! A friend of mine fished Burrinjuck on the weekend and he said it was at 30% capacity... I’m sure I remember fishing it and Wyangala many years ago when they were at around 5%. We caught fish and the dams recovered. Just how many times our systems can handle this pressure remains to be seen, though, I guess. 😐

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LOL Frank re the chins.

I hope your observations regarding the weed are right Trav. The river LOOKS unhealthy! My main concern was whether the weed would further reduce the oxygen level of the diminished amount of water. I guess that, as long as there is some water flow, the native fish will survive.

Frank and I fished Burrinjuck a few weeks back Baz and it was very ordinary then, but at 30% it is still holding lots more water than most NSW dams.

I get very impatient these days and 9 months of terrible fishing is a hard thing to deal with, especially when (as an old fart) I have too many things that I want to do in an ever diminishing time frame. Impatience is not an admirable quality for anglers, eh? Previously, when times were tough, I could always rely on the Carp as a stop gap. Even they aren't playing the game. 

CHINS UP, eh Frank? bn

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Keep seeing on the tv how grim it is in other states. Here's hoping you guys get the rain you need. 👍

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@TAZ I was back home in Western Vic recently and it's great to see how green it was with rivers flowing looking healthy a stark contrast to the country I had to drive through getting there. 

I hope lack of oxygen levels don't become an issue. I've seen the local rivers get pretty ugly in times of drought and the fish survive somehow so hopefully that is the case again. Seeing the recent fish kills on the news has me more concerned this time around though.

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Keep the chin up. Great report and photos.

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Hey BG things are going from bad to worse here in Tamworth. We only got 18mm of rain, just enough for the weeds to grow. We are now on level 5 water restrictions which is 150 l per person per day. The peel river has some flow up stream of Tamworth for drinking water but down stream has weed and alge startingto form due to no flow. There starting to talk about day zero, let's hope that doesn't come. I work in the agricultural industry so we are really feelingthe pinch now . Anyways enough of the bad stuff . I look forward to seeing everyone's post from the saltwater as this keeps me going and know a holiday is just round the corner. 

Cheers Scotty 

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10 hours ago, scottyboy said:

Hey BG things are going from bad to worse here in Tamworth. We only got 18mm of rain, just enough for the weeds to grow. We are now on level 5 water restrictions which is 150 l per person per day. The peel river has some flow up stream of Tamworth for drinking water but down stream has weed and alge startingto form due to no flow. There starting to talk about day zero, let's hope that doesn't come. I work in the agricultural industry so we are really feelingthe pinch now . Anyways enough of the bad stuff . I look forward to seeing everyone's post from the saltwater as this keeps me going and know a holiday is just round the corner. 

Cheers Scotty 

Thanks for the report Scotty. There are many places which are much worse off than where I fish. Sounds like it's pretty bad up in the Central West region where you are. As you say it is good that we belong to this site and are able to (at least) read about other anglers having some success. I'm sure that everything will return to normal eventually, but it doesn't stop you from worrying about the future for our iconic native species, does it?

Here's to brighter days when we can go down to the river and catch a few Cod. bn

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18 hours ago, T_Bert83 said:

@TAZ I was back home in Western Vic recently and it's great to see how green it was with rivers flowing looking healthy a stark contrast to the country I had to drive through getting there. 

I hope lack of oxygen levels don't become an issue. I've seen the local rivers get pretty ugly in times of drought and the fish survive somehow so hopefully that is the case again. Seeing the recent fish kills on the news has me more concerned this time around though.

Me too Trav, me too. bn

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This is a very interesting thread thanks @big Neil 

Just thought I could jump in and hijack this cod season thread with some drought affected areas in Australia.

We just did a lap of Australia and swordie was looking forward to fishing. We ended up having to do a few offshore charters to get some fishing done. It was heartbreaking to see the dry river beds. I have posted these elsewhere on fr but thought I would add here. See pics of the Fitzroy River at Fitzroy Crossing WA and a few other rivers we crossed.

Fitzroy Crossing experienced its lowest rainfall on record this wet season.


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Well, we certainly bugged that up!

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On 11/4/2019 at 11:41 AM, T_Bert83 said:

@TAZ I was back home in Western Vic recently and it's great to see how green it was with rivers flowing looking healthy a stark contrast to the country I had to drive through getting there. 

I hope lack of oxygen levels don't become an issue. I've seen the local rivers get pretty ugly in times of drought and the fish survive somehow so hopefully that is the case again. Seeing the recent fish kills on the news has me more concerned this time around though.

Hi mate, yeah we have it ok here at the moment. Never seen so many native plants in flower in the same year as I have this year. Haven't been out fishing for a few weeks but a drive around the areas the other day to take the misses out and most waters looked really good from Ballarat to Bridgewater. Everything's been against me fishing in the past month but by hook or by crook im going next week. 

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Thanks for the input Donna. Your photos further reinforce what a precarious country we live in. As you say the rivers are suffering throughout this vast land. I read yours and Swordie's posts with great interest, as you did what I had long desired to do (the lap). However, it is no longer on the bucket list. Common sense provides the rationale that I lower the bar on my expectations. 

I am sure that the country will recover some of its former glory in the long run...just hope it's not too long. We can only hope that this upcoming wet season will bring life back to these areas in abundance. Cheers, bn

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