Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii) is the largest exclusively freshwater species in Australia, growing to well over a metre in size. It is an iconic species primarily linked to the Murray-Darling River system and as it is the apex predator within the systems it inhabits, it is a prized angling species.
The Murray cod has a wide range of availability from the inland rivers of South Australia, into Victoria, throughout New South Wales and into South East Queensland. Many lakes, dams and impoundments are stocked in all of these states for anglers to target them.
A closed season applies for Murray cod. Closed seasons do vary from state to state so it pays to check your local rules and regulation. Please also check licence, bag and size limits as they also vary.
There are a number of exceptions to the seasonal closures. Lake Eildon (Victoria), Blowering Dam (NSW), Copeton Dam (NSW) and all impoundments that have been stocked with Murray cod in Queensland are exempt from the seasonal closure.
Most angling methods apply when targeting Murray cod. The preferred baits used by anglers are garden or scrub worms, freshwater shrimp and small yabbies. Non conventional baits are also popular like cheese and chicken pieces. The best locations to use them are near structure (timber, weed, rocks etc) close to deeper water. Fish them using an appropriate sized hook and as small a sinker as possible, as near to the structure as possible. It pays to keep moving around until you find fish.
Murray cod are a popular target for lure anglers. Murray cod will tend to use the above mentioned structure to hide in or under and wait for food to swim past. Trolling around this type of structure with hardbody lures is a popular way to target them (it pays to have lures that dive different depths when doing this). Casting the same style of lure, spinnerbait, mumbler, lipless crankbait or vibe in and around the same areas will also be the undoing of plenty of Murray cod.
Fishing surface lures at dawn and dusk (low light periods) is also an extremely exciting and productive way to catch a Murray cod. In recent times, during the cooler months of the year, fishing large swimbaits, plastics, surface lures and large spinnerbaits just after dark or before first light has become very popular. This method has resulted in many VERY large fish being caught and spawned its own range of specific tackle within the fishing industry.