Freshwater Fishing Specialist And Fishing Videographer
Romen has been Murray cod fishing in Googong Dam, for over a decade and specialises in catching very large fish – he’s developed some specialised and very effective techniques too. When Romen isn’t fishing he’s producing fishing DVD’s such as the “Googong Green and Gold” series and his current project “Green and Gold on the road”.
Before You Fish Around Canberra In Winter…
- Be aware that some of the following fishing spots are in the ACT and others are in NSW and make sure that you are across all the boating and fishing regulations that apply in each. For example, a fishing licence is required in NSW, a boating permit is required for Lake Burley Griffin and there are various rules and regulations regarding petrol and electric motors on many of the lakes.
- Below freezing temperatures are normal for Canberra in Winter, so dress appropriately, check the wind forecasts before setting out in a boat or kayak and avoid a potentially life-threatening situation.
Canberra Fishing Spot #1: Murrumbidgee River
- “The Bidgee” fishes well through the winter, especially first thing in the morning, although it can be well worth slinging lures around until well into the day – Romen even works topwater well into the day, especially when it’s misty and overcast.
- There are numerous access points on the river, so check it out on Google Earth and look for road crossing, public parks and so on. You don’t necessarily need to walk long distances to where the fish are less pressured as cod move up through the system during higher water flow and even the most accessible spots get replenished often.
- There are no boat ramps on the Murrumbidgee, but there are plenty of places a kayak can be slipped into the water.
- A great feature of this system is the diversity of habitat, depending on where you access the system deep pools, sandy areas, shallow sections, rocky areas, weedbeds and fallen timber are all available.
- Murray cod can turn up in any of these structures, even in quite shallow water, so it’s important to work the area you’re fishing over methodically to ensure you don’t miss fish.
- An average cod in these waters is probably around the 60cm mark, but metre fish are not that uncommon.
- Romen recommends fanning casts to cover the water as much as possible and making three casts at the exact same spot, working each one at a different speed before fanning the next three casts out.
- Surface fishing is great in the river, but large swimbaits and other sub-surface offerings can be effective too, as can smaller lures like mumblers, spinnerbaits, soft vibes and so on. “Elephants Eat Peanuts”.
- Romen’s favourite lures for the Murrumbidgee in winter include the Honey Hole Limpet, Double Colorado spinnerbaits (in slow water) and tandem willows spinnerbaits (in faster flowing water), Mumblers and smaller hard body cod lures such as Wrigglewarts and Magwarts.
- Shallow water that is exposed to sun can attract cod for an extra degree or two of warmth.
- The Molonglo River is also an interesting location for anglers with a boat who want to target fish around some awesome snags and structure.
Canberra Fishing Spot #2: Lake Burley Griffin
- Lake Burley Griffin is a large system surrounded on three sides by suburbs of Townsville. There are permits and boating restrictions, so be aware of your obligations – but there are several ramps for the boat angler.
- Land based fishing is definitely an option in this system and the strategy is to systematically fan out casts and cover as much water as possible before moving a few metres and repeating. If he’s using subsurface lures and covering more of the water column Romen will only make one cast to each exact spot in the fan, but for lures that only cover part of the water column he might make several casts.
- Anglers will find plenty of cod, some golden perch, redfin, trout, carp and even the occasional bass in Lake Burley Griffin. This system is probably the best option for Canberra anglers wanting to catch redfin in numbers and up to 50cm long!
- This is a made-mad lake and there are lots of structures like creek beds, golf courses and other features to target, but Romen finds in winter the fish often move into the shallower water in search of warmth.
- The lure selection for cod is very similar as for the Murrumbidgee River, just vary your choice depending on conditions. Topwater works best in the shallow stuff, especially in weedy areas.
- For other species it’s a good idea to downsize the lures somewhat. For golden perch, fishing much smaller lures such as blades, soft vibes, crankbaits and soft plastics very slowly and close to the bottom is the best strategy
- Lake Burley Griffin tends to fish a bit slower than the Murrumbidgee River during the winter months, with less fish getting caught, but there is enough action to make it worth getting out in the cold air.
- Calm, reasonably windless days fish best and Romen finds that on those cloudy days there is often a hot bite window the moment the sun breaks through the cloud and hits the water. Chasing the sun and casting to areas where it breaks through and hits the water is a good strategy.
- Weedbeds are top places to focus your attention in Lake Burley Griffin, but there are also woody snags, rocky areas and so on in various parts of the dam. All are worth some attention during the winter months.
Canberra Fishing Spot #3: Burrinjuck Dam
- Burrinjuck Dam is a little further afield for Canberra-based anglers, but still within easy access of Canberra fishos. There is limited land-based fishing, mostly near the boat ramps. The rest tends to be steep and inaccessible. Definitely a boating destination.
- Burrinjuck is famous for big fish and is a well-known night fishing destination, but Romen finds quality cod there right through the day, casting big soft plastics (8-10”) vertically or hopping them down the slopes. Dropping soft plastics into the crevices between rocks and boulders can be very effective too.
- It’s worth trolling hard body lures along the rocky shorelines, following the contours, which allows the angler to wear gloves and keep the fingers warm and dry.
- Surface fishing is effective along the edges, especially at night-time.
- This system has lots of hard edges of rock with a good amount of timber and those areas will often hold some quality yellowbelly (average fish around 40cm). Working soft plastic grubs vertically through tree lines in deeper water can be effective, especially towards the end of winter.
Canberra Fishing Spot #4: Googong Dam
- Googong Dam is a well-known big cod fishery that’s close to Canberra – but it also holds some quality golden perch, tons of redfin and a few trout, both brown and rainbow.
- This dam doesn’t boast massive amounts of structure, although there are some areas of spindly timber that can hold fish and often the fish move up into shallow water along the edges looking for warmth.
- Bank fishing is effective and the best strategy is to cover as much water as possible, making a single cast and then moving a short distance and making another, unless a follow occurs and it’s worth a second cast.
- Keep an eye on the topography of the lake above water as this will give clues about what’s happening below water. Gently sloping banks produce shallow water, steep banks deeper water. Points where cod can hunt schooled redfin are always worth a try.
- The dam is only open during daylight hours and the gates close at 6pm during the winter months, so plan your trip to get back in time!
- Lures that can be worked through spindly timber or shallow rocky shorelines and fish will come into water so shallow that their backs are out of the water at times. 0.5 to 1m depth can hold some stonker cod. Use smaller lures for goldens and redfin, but same areas and techniques.
- Don’t be afraid to throw some Tassie Devils around as there are still plenty of quality trout in Googong and even the odd golden perch or Murray cod falls to a Tassie Devil
Canberra Fishing Spot #5: Urban Lakes
- Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Yerrabi are smaller systems that are heavily urbanised but still offer some pretty good fishing and are a great place to take kids to wet a line. Petrol motors are allowed on these systems.
- Murray cod, golden perch and plenty of redfin and carp are on offer.
- Tuggeranong and Belconnen don’t have a lot of structure and you’ll need to work them a bit differently to find and attract fish. The shallow water means that these systems tend to warm up a little more during the day and the fish can be more playful.
- Bank access is pretty good and casting spinnerbaits and working them methodically to cover all of the waterway at all depths. Focus on weedbeds in the absence other structure as they’ll almost always old fish.
- Yerrabi has a small rock wall and is heavily weeded, but holds some metre cod as well as quality golden perch and redfin.
Rapala Australia imports an astounding range of lures and other tackle into Australia, including Romen’s favourite and most productive vertical cod fishing lures, the 70mm Rippin Rap.
Lowrance Australia produce the sounders and other marine electronics so critical to the style of fishing that Romen does for cod in Googong Dam. Watch Romen’s recent Sonar Masterclass Livestream here.
Recent Native Episodes
Yellowbelly are often in the shadow of Murray Cod as a native sports fish, but Rory Benn-Clibborn reckons they’re a great target and shares some awesome tips and tricks in today’s interview.
Canberra has plenty of options to offer the keen cod angler and Aaron Hill has plenty of tips for taking advantage of those opportunities!
The Condamine River is impacted by landuse but still holds good numbers of decent quality cod. Morgan Taylor shares his tips for targeting them in todays episode.
Lake Eildon doesn’t give its Murray cod up that easily, unless you’re Kate Norman. This cod addict has boated 5 meteries in 6 weeks and joins us on the show to explain how she managed that feat
Caitlin Berecry is a “Women In Recreational Fishing Network” leader and a deft hand at extracting Murray cod from the Campaspe and Loddon River systems.