Murray cod back on menu for local fishing followers

Dubbo's freshwater fishers will be able to target Murray cod from Saturday, December 1, when the NSW season reopens following the annual three-month Murray cod breeding closure.

Local fishing enthusiast Matt Hanson said the opening of the Murray cod season would be celebrated locally with the Orana Mutual Macquarie River Fishing Classic and Carp Muster, casting off on the weekend of December 7, 8 and 9.

The fishing classic starts at Burrendong Dam and continues 400 kilometres along the Macquarie River ending at the Macquarie Marshes, where it meets with the Barwon River.

Mr Hanson said the Murray cod was a popular fish, locally.

"In season, we catch them all the time," he said.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Inland Fisheries Manager, Cameron Westaway said Murray cod was a popular catch among recreational fishers in the Murray-Darling River system.

"Murray cod is a prized catch of freshwater anglers as they are one of Australia's largest freshwater fish, growing up to 1.8 metres and weighing more than 100 kilograms," Mr Westaway said.

"A three month ban on taking or attempting to take Murray cod is in place each year from September to November inclusive to protect this important native species during its breeding season.

"Since the closure was first introduced more than a decade ago there have been significant increases in Murray cod numbers.

"DPI's fish stocking program and the Dollar for Dollar scheme, which is funded through the sale of recreational fishing licences and by community groups, have also boosted Murray cod numbers."

DPI Director Fisheries Compliance Glenn Tritton said fisheries officers would continue regular patrols of inland waterways, including the upcoming holiday season to ensure fishers were complying with the rules when fishing for Murray cod and other species.

"There is a daily bag limit of two Murray cod per person, per day, and a total possession limit of four when fishing in any inland waters. The minimum legal length of Murray cod is 60 centimetres, however, fishers may have only one over 100 centimetres in their possession."

People should also be aware that set lines can no longer be used in any inland waters and are totally prohibited.

Two attended lines may be used in all inland waters except some trout and closed waters, but these lines must be within 50 metres and in your line of sight and live finfish including carp, birds and mammals cannot be used as bait.

lisa.minner@ruralpress.com

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