Fishers can once again head to northern Victoria’s lakes and rivers in search of an iconic Murray cod with the season opening today, Friday, December 1.
Cod opening is circled on the calendar of many freshwater fishers and follows the annual three-month closed season – primarily in place north of the Great Dividing Range – which gives the species a chance to breed in peace.
Season opening means productive cod waters like the Ovens, Goulburn, Campaspe, Loddon and Lindsay rivers, Lake Eppalock, Cairn Curran Reservoir, Gunbower Creek and many more will once again provide lasting memories for families this summer.
Through September, October and November, fishers have been catching Murray cod in several waters open year-round. Lake Eildon has been producing metre-long cod and increasing numbers of legal-size fish are being landed at Rocklands Reservoir. Both have been central to the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s (VFA) record-breaking fish stocking program, scoring a combined 5.1 million cod since 2017.
The stocking program is supported by the Victorian Government’s Go Fishing Victoria plan and the sale of recreational fishing licences. This summer the VFA plans to release millions of native fish, including 2 million produced at the Arcadia and Snobs Creek hatcheries.
Arcadia is dedicated to producing native species and is undergoing a $10 million expansion which will enable staff at the facility to grow up to 6 million Murray cod and golden perch each year, in ideal conditions on the banks of the Goulburn River.
VFA CEO, Travis Dowling, said cod opening was one of the most popular times for Victorian fishers and their families to enjoy time together in the great outdoors.
“For many die-hard freshwater fishers, December 1 is like Christmas, with trips planned months in advance to ensure they can wet a line at cod opening,” he said.
“We’ve already got some of the best Murray cod fisheries in the country, like Lake Eildon, and several other waters are booming off the back of more fish stocking than the rest of Australia combined, and sensible catch limits including the slot of between 55 and 75 centimetres.
“With capacity being tripled at Arcadia and more Murray cod being produced right here in Victoria thanks to the State Government’s continued investment and your fishing licence fees, cod opening will be memorable for many years to come.”
For size and bag limit information as well as tips on how to care for cod, head to www.vfa.vic.gov.au/murraycod.
This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 1 December 2023.