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As a youngster growing up and learning to love and learn the art of freshwater fishing around NSW, it was always a challenge every time I “wet a line” to try and coax a cunning cod or a reluctant yellowbelly to eat my freshly dug earthworm or sunlight soap caught shrimp. On most occasions the fish won the day, but every now and again I would score a goal and carry home a fresh feed for dad to crumb and fry for the family. The Author with a well colored Murray Cod
Yellowbelly will take lures meant for cod In my later years based in Dubbo I changed my focus from a feed to a quest to try and find fish with artificial lures and after some amateur photographic exercises I would release the fish to fight another day and hopefully change the way of thinking of many of my fishing buddies that accompanied me on the rivers and lakes within the reach of a half day drive.

Macquarie River (Wellington to Carinda)
This is easily my favorite watercourse and by far the most beautiful stretch of river, ranging from high rocky she oak lined cliff faces, shallow river stone rapids, deep willow caged bends and all the way downstream to short black dirt banks flowing with chocolate brown water.

The river from “Wello” to Warren is generally clear enough to spin all year round with the exception of periods of heavy rain that turn the water into a bait friendly fishery. The favored lures in the pursuit of both murray and trout cod and yellas in the area would have to be a mixed bag containing stumpjumpers, oargee plows, hammerheads, flatfish, bassman spinnerbaits and the old timers special the aeroplane spinner to name a few.
Trout Cod are making a come-back The most effective way to cover a lot of territory using these lures is to troll them at walking pace only a short distance from your boat say 20-30 feet using a 6-10kg baitcaster or spinning rod around the 6 foot mark and some 12 to 40lb mono or good quality braid. Look for deep water just under a fast running section that holds plenty of structure and ambush points, cod especially love these conditions with the yellas holding in the deeper slow flowing holes. It isn’t uncommon to encounter 6 or more fish in a few hours of trolling in this manner when the conditions prevail, but also I’ve had many a “dry run” when they are switched off.

Barwon / Darling River (Walgett to Tilpa)
One of the greatest rivers in our fine land but also one of the most abused and mistreated waterways of the modern Australian era, but it still to this day astounds with the quantity and quality of fish caught.When fishing this river it is wise to take a fair spread of bait as the introduced European carp will keep you busy thieving anything they can wrap their lips around, they have adapted quickly from just eating worms and grubs to more hardy baits like large yabbies and even dead fish baits meant for cod.
The best baits I have already mentioned but the river will also clear in prolonged periods of drought giving the angler a chance to adopt a more sporting approach and spinning the deep pools with hard bodied lures and bladed lures in the hope of catching a “monster cod".

Lakes Burrendong / Wyangla / Windamere
These three lakes are within an easy 2 hour drive of Dubbo giving the fisherperson the option of chasing some stocked native species including yellowbelly, murray cod, silver perch and ell tailed catfish as well as the introduced redfin and the ever present carp.
The favored way in these impoundments is to locate active fish on ones sounder and to troll points and old creek beds with smaller profiled lures such as medium Stumpjumpers, Feral Cats, RMG Scorpions to name a few.
The best times to target fish in these dams is spring and autumn when the water temp is a bit more pleasant than the scorching summer long days and the short bitter winter days. These waters produce a lot of oversized yellas at times with captures over the 15lb mark not surprising but more regular catches around the 3-5lb more common.
Bait is often used by some anglers jigged up and down next to drowned timber in deep water as well as cast from the shore in the early hours of the morning or late in the afternoon when the shadows lengthen.

The Author with a quality Burrendong Yellowbelly Stumpjumper Lures are proven Cod catchers Redfin will often take cod lures Spinnerbaits are a popular cod lure
The Author with a quality Burrendong Yellowbelly
Stumpjumper Lures are proven Cod catchers
Redfin will often take cod lures
Spinnerbaits are a popular cod lure
Click on images for larger version

So next time you plan to do an interstater why not pack your fishing gear and stop of at one of the many creeks , rivers or lakes in the heart of NSW and spend a bit of time getting to know some of the natives.

Peter (Swano) Swanson The Author showing how to handle cod

Copyright© 2006 Peter Swanson. Sweetwater Fishing Australia