Upper Murray River, Victoria-NSW

One of the most popular fishing areas on the Murray RIver are located from Echuca through to Mulwala
One of the most popular fishing areas on the Murray River are located from Echuca through to Mulwala

KEY TO MAPS 1 & 2
1. The Junction
2. Rices Bridge
3. The Narrows/Barmah Choke
4. Barmah Lakes
5. The Willows (under the bridge), Barmah
6. The Gulf, Barmah National Park
7. Kennedy’s Weir
8. James Bridge
9. Bourke’s Weir
10. Chinaman’s Weir
11. Nathalia’s Town Weir
12. Broken Creek near Nathalia Golf Course
13. Walsh’s Bridge
14. Stockyard Bridge
15. Numurkah Town Lake
16. Katandra Weir Invergordon
(Junction of Broken Creek and Nine Mile Creek)
17. Ulupna Island
18. Weiss Beach, Koonoomoo
19. Horseshoe Bend, Cobram Regional Park
20. Kennedy Park/Thompsons Beach
21. Thong Tree, near Backhouse Beach
22. Dip Bridge
23. Hester Rd Site 3
24. Hester Rd Site 4
25. Hester Rd Site 5
26. Duffy Bend (Bourkes Bend Track)
27. Cobrawonga (Dead River Track)
28. Forges Bend
29. Bruces Bend
30. Tungamah Weir Pool
31. The Grove, Yarrawonga
32. Yarrawonga Regional Park
33. Lake Mulwala, Fenwick Place via Buchanans Road
34. Lake Mulwala, Hogans Road
35. Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga Yacht Club
36. Lake Mulwala, Woods Road
37. Lake Mulwala, Apex Park
38. Lake Mulwala, J. W. Purtle Reserve
39. Lake Mulwala Regional Boat Ramp
40. Lake Mulwala, Kyffin Reserve
41. Lake Mulwala, Spring Drive 1
42. Lake Mulwala, Spring Drive 2
43. Lake Mulwala, Majors Lane
44. Bundalong Pasley St
45. Bundalong Pyke St
46. Little Naughtons
47. Camerons Bend
48. Ovens River, Riverside Caravan Park
49. McLaughlins Bend
50. Frost’s Crossing (multiple sites)
51. Williams Bridge
52. Parolas Track Multi Sites

Murray River water levels
NSW stocked waters
Sydney dam levels
NSW dam levels
NSW fishing regulations

The maps show areas that can readily be fished along the Murray River from Barmah up to Mulwala.

Lake Mulwala is without doubt the jewel of this area for fishermen, with murray cod the most sought species in what is basically a shallow basin full of snags.

The Murray fishes best in warm weather, and trolling the channel edges and trolling and casting lures around submerged timber is the most popular fishing method.

A lure desnagging tool is a must.

Bait fishing with shrimp or earthworms is also effective.

While Mulwala is the mecca for fishos, there are many pleasant places to fish along the river in this region, with cod, yellowbelly and redfin usually about.

Vehicle access is excellent except from Tocumwal to Barmah.

There are many boat ramps of varying quality.

Bankside fishing is relaxing and can produce fish, but the best results are by boat or canoe, with trolling lures over snags and drop-offs a proven method to cover ground and find fish.

The best fishing is when the river has stabilised after a recent heavy flow.

The main species caught are murray cod, yellowbelly, redfin and carp, along with yabbies and murray spiny crayfish.

Silver perch, trout cod, macquarie perch, blackfish and freshwater catfish are caught but may not be taken.

New South Wales regulations apply on the Murray River, and you must have a NSW fishing licence, even when fishing from a Victorian bank.

A Victorian Recreational Fishing Licence is only valid on Lake Hume. Victoria manages angling in Lake Hume while New South Wales manages Lake Mulwala.

The aquatic community in the Murray downstream of Lake Hume is an endangered fishery and all native fish and aquatic invertebrates have endangered status.

However, fishing is allowed for silver perch (within Lake Mulwala only), murray cod, yellowbelly, yabbies, murray spiny crayfish, two species of freshwater shrimps and freshwater prawns.

Existing fishing regulations apply to these species. It is illegal to possess other native species.

Check NSW Fisheries regulations for the latest info before fishing.

Fishing Murray River headwaters

The Murray River begins as springs 40km south of Mt Kosciusko high in mountains, then flows 300km to Lake Hume, mostly through farmland and open country.

Flow downstream of Albury is regulated by water from Lake Hume.

Downstream of Hume the river flows through Kiewa Basin hill country then onward through flat country to South Australia.

There are many weirs along the river, with many dams on catchment streams.

Fishing is greatly affected by flow and changes in water level.

Fishing upstream of Lake Hume

The upper reaches flow through forest then through open country and farmland downstream of Towong.

There is camping and good fishing in this section.

The river is only 50m or so wide with pools of 2m to 5m deep.

This section has brown and rainbow trout.

Murray cod can be caught upstream as far as Towong but are more common upstream to Walwa.

Fishing for cod is best in spring and early summer.

Redfin are common up to Walwa and provide good sport and food despite their feral status.

Tench are another feral fish caught in this area and other parts of the Murray, they are usually taken in backwater areas where there is little current. They are feral but are a strong fighter.

The Murray River upstream from Tintaldra is mainly a trout fishery.

Fishing downstream of Lake Hume to Yarrawonga

No fishing is allowed for a distance of 130m from the Hume dam wall.

This section of river has cold water and few snags, with good fishing at times for big brown trout.

Other fish caught are murray cod, trout cod, yellowbelly, silver perch and carp.

The river further downstream flows about 50m wide, with banks to 5m high and red gums growing along both banks.

A section of river from Howlong to Lake Mulwala has been improved for fish – it has been resnagged, fish passages have been improved, banks and bankside vegetation have been improved, with more shade to lower water temperatures, feral fish have been controlled, and more.

Fishing from Yarrawonga downstream to Barmah

The river from Yarrawonga Weir down to Newell highway bridge at Tocumwal is closed to fishing from September 1 to November 30.

The section of river downstream from Cobram has murray cod, redfin, spiny crayfish, yellowbelly, silver perch, trout cod and catfish.

A popular spot is the Black Hole just downstream from Yarrawonga, where many yellowbelly are caught.

A fish lift has been installed on the weir to help fish move upstream.

This section is great for camping and boating, with sandy beaches. There are several boat ramps.

There are also many snags, and the water is quite deep, to 4m.

Towards Torrumbarry the water averages 3m deep, with deeper pools to 8m.

The river reaches 100m or so wide and the banks are around 5m high.

There are many snags in the river downstream from Yarrawonga.

There are also sandy beaches in places. Red gums line the banks.

Timber snags were placed in 30km of the river from Yarrawonga to Barmah to provide better habitat for fish such as murray cod.

An increase in the number of rare trout cod has been noted in this section.

Fishing from Barmah to Echuca – Goulburn Basin

Carp and redfin are common here.

There are also murray cod, silver perch, yellowbelly and spiny crayfish.

This is a busy part of the river but there are many fishable gutters, pools and snags.

Fishing is good where the Goulburn and Campaspe Rivers enter the Murray River.

For information about the South Australian section of the Murray River please see this page.

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Gear tips for the Murray River

By Wiki Fishing Spots staff

Firstly, a lure desnagger/retriever will quickly pay for itself. If you are fishing properly you WILL get snagged. The simplest type is simply dropped down on a cord ... eBay link here.

A more effective type (we have used them all) is the steel coil at the end of a telescopic pole ... eBay link here. If you want a fair dinkum true blue Aussie lure desnagger, try this one ... eBay link here.

For rods and reels, a 3-6kg spin outfit is ideal for most Murray River bait and lure fishing. See eBay listing here. If you are chasing big murray cod, you'll need something heavier.

Many types of soft plastics work on Murray fish, but these grubs are a good all-rounder ... eBay listing here.

Jig heads in various sizes are needed for most soft plastic lures, use the lightest heads that you can cast. See eBay listing here.

Floats are useful for suspending a bait. The polystyrene floats in the following listing are slid onto the line and a stopper is placed above the float to set the depth fished. Always use the smallest size for the conditions and bait you are using. See eBay listing here. Clear bubble floats are preferable for Murray fishing when the water is clear.

Ball sinkers are ideal for river bait fishing, using a running sinker rig. See eBay listing here.

Hooks up to around 1/0 are ideal for the Murray bait fishing, with fine-gauge hooks best for livebait fishing. See eBay listing here.

FISH FINDER TM

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Some external videos filmed on the Murray River are featured below.

Lake Mulwala cod on surface lures

Lake Mulwala cod fishing

Lake Mulwala cod fishing

Lake Mulwala when empty

Murray River callop fishing

iFish Murray cod electrofishing (research)

Murray River carp fishing

Murray River bait fishing

Murray cod kayak fishing

Lure fishing for Murray River callop (yellowbelly)

How to catch king george whiting

The king george or spotted whiting (Sillaginodes punctatus) is Australia’s biggest whiting species and a hugely popular fish.

KG whiting are found from the central New South Wales coast across the south to Jurien Bay in Western Australia, but are most common in South Australia and Victoria.

In recent times they have become more abundant in Tasmanian waters.

KG whiting have different habits to the various species of sand whiting, living in deeper water and often showing a preference for broken bottom.

If you want to target sand whiting, visit this page.

KG whiting are commonly found in shallow coastal areas and estuaries, being most abundant around combinations of seagrass and sand, with bigger fish often associated with rough ground.

This species is found to 200m deep but are more usually from 3m to 30m, and can sometimes be caught from shore where seagrass grows in close.

While young fish prefer seagrass habitat, larger whiting are usually caught in deeper water, often near rough bottom or channel edges.

Such is the importance of the species, Victorian fisheries managers have assessed annual juvenile whiting numbers to predict future availability.

Where to find king george whiting

KG whiting can be caught all year, although seasonal numbers change in different areas.

Australia’s biggest KG whiting tend to be found on South Australia’s west coast.

In Victoria, Port Phillip and Western Port bays and Corner Inlet are prolific whiting spots, with the bigger fish usually caught in the seaward part of each bay.

South Australia’s two large gulfs are renowned for KG whiting, but are heavily fished.

To find the fish, locate seagrass beds and/or broken ground in 3m to 30m of water, drop baits, and if a fish is not soon forthcoming, move on.

The best time to fish is usually dawn and dusk and early evening.

The turn of the tide is often a time of strong feeding activity.

Larger tides often produce better fishing, but the tidal current can make fishing more difficult in some places.

Use the lightest sinker to keep baits on the bottom.

Best baits for king george whiting

Small baits of cockles (pipes) and squid are the most popular baits, but live worms and peeled prawns also work.

Some fishos tenderise the squid before putting it on the hook.

Squid resists bait pickers better than other baits.

In South Australia the shellfish called razor fish can be harvested from some low tide flats and is an excellent whiting bait.

Big whiting will take fish-flesh baits such as pilchards.

Bottom berley is often used when boat fishing, but it can work just as well to move until you find fish.

Berley can bring unwanted species such as leatherjackets and trumpeter.

Best tackle for king george whiting

Whiting tend to inhabit shallow, clear waters, which means light tackle should be used to fool them.

As whiting are a small fish usually found in open water, light tackle is fine for taking them.

A 3kg to 6kg rod/reel combo is ideal. Snapper are caught on some whiting grounds, and fishermen who want to be prepared for that eventuality might use gear at the heavier end of the range.

Paternoster rigs with long leaders work well in seagrass areas as they hold the bait high, but otherwise, use a running sinker rig with a long leader.

Use the lightest sinker that will hold bottom.

Size 8 long shank hooks are ideal, but smaller hooks can be used if the fish are small, and vica versa.

Whiting often have a soft, sucky bite and it can take some practise to hook them, but when feeding hard, KG whiting will take baits aggressively.

Despite being relatively small, they fight well.

KG whiting reach a maximum length of 72cm and 5kg, but are far more common around 35cm.

Their table quality is legendary, and the flesh freezes well, but you will need a fine, sharp filleting knife to get the best out of them.

Whiting fishing is heavily regulated, be sure to check bag and size limits before fishing.

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Email us any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

Some external videos about catching king george whiting are featured below.

How to catch king george whiting

Catching king george whiting and squid

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRIzIUEFScI

Catching king george whiting on lures

How to catch whiting

The name “whiting” in Australia generally refers to species of sand whiting, along with the king george (KG) or spotted whiting of southern waters.

This article is about sand whiting, of which there are several species.

The king george whiting has different habits and is covered separately here.

If you want to skip the species descriptions and get straight to the fishing, scroll down to “Whiting habits”.

Types of sand whiting

The species of most interest to Aussie fishos is the bluenose whiting Sillago ciliata, most commonly found along the east coast from Victoria and northern Tasmania right up to Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula.

This species can be identified by a dark blotch at the base of its pectoral fin. Like most sand whiting it inhabits bays, tidal rivers, estuaries and coastal lakes. Schools are often found in the inner surf zone and near the mouths of rivers.

The goldenline whiting Sillago analis is a smaller fish that has rougher scales than bluenose whiting. It is found from Queensland across the far north to Shark Bay. In Shark Bay it is particularly common and supports a commercial fishery.

In South Australia the yellowfin whiting Sillago schomburgkii is the most sought sand whiting species, with the small southern school whiting Sillago bassensis also caught from the state’s beaches.

The eastern school whiting Sillago flindersi is found from south-east Queensland to South Australia.

The western trumpeter whiting Sillago burrus is found across the northern half of Australia’s coastline.

Sand whiting are rarely targeted in Australia’s far north yet several species inhabit the tropics. These are the goldenline whiting Sillago analis, stout whiting Sillago robusta, bay whiting Sillago ingenuua, mud whiting Sillago lutea, northern whiting Sillago sihama and western trumpeter whiting Sillago burrus. Up north they all tend to be small fish, hence the lack of fishing interest, however they do grow big enough to eat.

While sand whiting are found right around Australia they are most commonly fished from the central Queensland coast south to Western Australia’ Shark Bay.

While bluenose whiting are the most desirable species, some of the smaller species are sought by fishos, for example the “winter whiting” or “diver whiting” of Brisbane’s Moreton Bay (probably the eastern school whiting Sillago flindersi) is caught in large numbers, and despite its small size makes a great meal when two or three fish are butterfly-filleted.

Some so-called whiting species, such as various “weed whiting” are not really whiting at all, but this depends upon how one defines the term “whiting”. In the northern hemisphere, the term “whiting” refers to what look like completely different fish, including pelagic species.

Whiting habits

Sand whiting are a true shallow-water fish, and as the name suggests they are usually found over sand or sandy mud.

They are saltwater fish that dislike brackish water, and heavy rain will push them down tidal rivers towards the mouth.

Sand whiting are caught from ocean surf beaches but are more often targeted within tidal inlets and in the lower reaches of tidal rivers.

The best fishing is invariably over shallow sand and mud flats that are home to worms and crabs.

Where nipper beds and worm beds are found, whiting will usually be abundant.

The presence of soldier crabs at low tide is often an indicator that whiting will be around at high tide.

Whiting will feed in just a few centimetres of water. The fish tend to move over flats to feed with the incoming tide, and this is often the best time to fish flats, but also fish the edges of gutters and channels on the falling tide.

The edges of walkable flats can be fished at low tide, and gutters on surf beaches that are accessible at low tide can also fish well around the bottom of the tide.

Big tides often produce the best fishing.

A bit of wind and chop makes it easier to catch whiting, as they can be flighty in calm, clear, sunny conditions.

Whiting will bite at night and this is often the best time to target the biggest whiting in hard-fished waters.

From surf beaches, there is no need to cast far for whiting, as they will feed close to shore in the nearest wave-dump zone.

Best baits for sand whiting

Sand whiting take many baits but the gold standards are live worms and nippers.

Blood, sand, tube, beach, wriggler and weed worms will all catch fish.

Nippers tend to catch bigger fish, and tiny crab baits also work well.

Big sand whiting can be fussy, try different baits until you get a strong response.

Pipis (cockles) are a good bait in the surf.

If you must use a packet bait try peeled prawn.

Best tackle for whiting

Sand whiting feed in clear sunlit shallows, so light tackle is a must.

Fluorocarbon lines are less visible and therefore a good choice.

As whiting are a small fish caught in relatively open water they can be targeted with as little as 2kg line, with 2kg to 4kg being the ideal range.

Where possible, such as when fishing from a dinghy or yak, avoid using a sinker, just cast and drift the baits out.

Otherwise, use a pea-size running sinker rig that allows the line to pass through the sinker, with a sinker-stopper located from 40cm to 90cm above the hook.

As you will be casting tiny baits on light tackle, a small threadline/spinning reel (eggbeater) is ideal, matched to a light, sensitive rod. This eBay listing has a suitable whiting rod/reel combo in the pulldown selection.

A rod of medium length assists with casting and helps hold the line above wave action.

A dedicated light surf rod is best if you plan to target ocean beach whiting.

Long shank hooks in sizes 4 to 8 are ideal for sand whiting, and bait-holder style with barbs on the shank may help hold worm baits so they don’t easily slide down the hook shaft.

Best lures for whiting

Perhaps surprisingly, the bottom-grubbing sand whiting will take lures, even surface poppers.

Tiny soft plastic grubs work well, as do tiny poppers and stick baits.

You will need to use a stealthy approach using a spinning rod combo that can cast tiny lures long distances.

Long casts help prevent spooking the fish.

Whiting for the table

Whiting are among the best table fish, and the fillets freeze well.

Being small you need a fine, sharp filleting knife to get the best out of each fish.

Smaller fish can be butterfly-filleted.

Whiting fillets are particularly tasty when crumbed and lightly fried.

Did you know?

Sand whiting can bury themselves in sand to avoid predators. They have no major sharp spines, which makes them a great fish for children to catch.

The northern hemisphere whiting Merlangius merlangus is a separate species that looks nothing like an Aussie whiting, and was once so common it was ground up and used as a filler for flour, because the fish was cheaper than wheat.

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Email us any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

Some external videos about catching sand whiting are featured below.

How to catch whiting

Catching whiting and collect nippers

Catching whiting on poppers

How to catch sand whiting

Catching big sand whiting

How to catch whiting at low tide