Flyfishing for Australian Murray Cod

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Cods Country is the affectionate name given to the small bush town of Ashford,  located in the New England region of N.S.W Australia.   Our freshwater rivers and creeks hold the legendary and iconic Australian Murray Cod, this large native fish is an aggressive territorial fish that holds tight under structure.  Its diet can vary from freshwater Mussels, Yabbies, Fish, Birds and Water Rats.  Large Cod often turn cannabalistic, eating fish of lesser size, infact fish hatcheries have to constantly grade Cod fingerlings to stop them devouring there smaller sibblings. 

The New England is a truly spectacular and rugged landscape, ranging from deep Granite gorges flowing down to rich fertile privately owned farmland.  The riverbanks are lined with huge river Gums that harbour flocks of Cockatoos and Galahs. Bottlebrush trees overhang much of our rivers and make perfect Cod habitat. 

Most fisherman tend to chase Cod with hardbody and spinnerbait lures, but now there is a growing band of flyfisherman that target Natives on fly.  The strike of a Murray Cod is as exhilarating as it gets, the first few seconds is mayhem as you try to bulldog them from under there snaggy dwellings.  This is the time when knots fail, tippets bust and hooks straighten.   Sunrise and sunset is the peak time to throw large noisy surface flies, this is as good as sportsfishing gets.  The noise from a Cod smashing a surface fly is similar to throwing a large brick onto the water,  and of course any fish that provides this much of an adrenaline rush deserves to be released for others to enjoy.

Myself and Jason a former Canadian, are so captivated by these Aussie fish we thought we would share our passion through this Blog, enjoy.

Regards Nick.

12 responses

  1. How true the strike of a Murray cod is insane on fly and is well worth ago for anyone that loves targeting these beautiful green backs.

    Cheers Virty

    March 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    • Couldn’t agree more with you Virty.

      Cheers Jason

      March 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm

  2. Ray Wooster

    Great site. I regularly travel up to the tablelands from Woolgoolga for business & chasing ellusive fish with the fly. Shall for the first time start chasing cod next week west of Guyra……………looking forward to it.
    Ray

    May 20, 2011 at 9:56 am

  3. Awsome Site. Great photos and stories- Very Inspiring – Time to drown some feathers and fluff!!

    John

    June 2, 2011 at 8:41 pm

  4. stuart

    just got back to the coast and checked out your site nick. its great, thanks for putting me onto some good fish over the weekend

    June 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm

  5. David Ireland

    Great site Nick. One thing I have often found is that when a cod hits a surface fly, they often “bump” it out of the way. Is that just me or does anyone else have the same problem.
    Thanks… David

    August 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    • Hi David,
      I am not sure what you mean by ‘bump’, but sometimes they miss the strike, or at times similar to bass, their intention is to injure the prey, making it an easier target. I always alter the retrieve, or let the fly/lure sit awhile once struck, to entice the take. John:-)

      August 27, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    • flymasta

      G’day David,
      Another thing you can try to avoid missed surface strikes, is to tie your surface flies so they sit lower in the water. Have a look at James’s Big Poppa in the commercial tiers section, this thing hangs low in the water and the fish seem to feel comfortable in slurping it down. Nick

      November 20, 2011 at 9:52 pm

  6. David

    John
    What I meant was that when i’m using light flies, it seems like the “wave” from the fish strike pushes the fly out of the way. I have noticed when using heavier flies such as weighted clousers etc, it isn’t a problem.
    David

    August 28, 2011 at 7:56 am

    • flymasta

      David
      After casting to a snag, I’ll usually work the popper twice to get there attention. Then add two or three very small twitches, This gives the fish a chance to get into position and prepare for the attack, many times I’ve had to really tease them into striking. If you constantly work a surface fly aggressively, often they’ll short strike in more of a territorial reaction, than a true feeding response.
      Switching from a blooping type fly, to a gurgler can make all the difference when they constantly short strike. Regards Nick

      August 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm

  7. John Daly

    Hi. My name is John. My friend has a farm & I frequently see bow waves from fish activity in his 10Meg dam. He belives the prevous owner stocked the dam with native fish. What flies would you suggest for some daylight & dusk attacks?

    March 14, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    • flymasta

      G’day John. Those bow waves could be from several species. A lot of farm dams are stocked with Silver Perch, Yellowbelly and Cod.
      Silvers will often mooch of the surface early and late evenings, target these with small size 8 Woolly Buggers and shrimp patterns. If there Yellas step up to a size 4-2 Woolly Bugger or Olive Zonkers. If there Cod, you are very lucky indeed. Check out the Fly talk section and either a Gusto or my favourite the Dobson fly will bring rewards. Try surface flies early and late evenings throw some Dahlbergs,foam poppers and you’ll soon tell if you have Cod in there.
      Often farm dams with Big Cod in them will be devoid of any Bird life, simply because they get eaten and there mates wise up thats it’s not safe.

      March 16, 2012 at 1:04 pm

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