Lake Mulwala is considered to be the Murray Cod capital of Australia. It is a destination that many anglers regard as a must. Most anglers paying a visit to Mulwala will at least stand a chance of tangling with one of the big green fish. Cod captures in recent years have been supplemented by good catches of yellowbelly, and after an absence of many years, some good redfin are also
starting to make an appearance. Lake Mulwala is on the border of Victoria and
New South Wales, and as such presents some licencing problems for anglers. Locating the border amongst the myriad of drowned timber is almost impossible, so visitors are advised to equip themselves with a licence for both states to avoid possible prosecution. Authorities from both states are currently negotiating the possibility of a reciprocal licence for Lake Mulwala and Lake Hume, a solution that is long overdue. The visiting angler is well serviced in terms of amenities such as public boat ramps and accommodation on both sides of the border, and the shore based angler will also do well with much of the shoreline accessible and productive. Boating is probably the preferred way to fish, as it opens up far more options with bait, lure casting and trolling at the angler's disposal.
When I was fishing Lake Mulwala in the 60's and early 70's, redfin were prolific and grew to 5lbs and more. Murray Cod were a pleasant but unexpected by-catch, and occasionally you would catch tench and blackfish. With the arrival of European Carp, the redfin population went into dramatic decline, and today it would be fair to say that they are the by-catch, with tench and blackfish all but gone. Some believe that the arrival of carp and departure of redfin was the beginning of the resurrection of the cod. Given the huge numbers of reddies that once existed, their decline must surely have removed a great deal of competition for available food. If this was the case, it is probably one of the few occasions where carp provided a positive to a waterway.
Target Species: Murray Cod, Golden Perch, Redfin, Murray Crayfish and European Carp. Silver Perch have also been stocked, but as yet are not turning up in any numbers.
Best Methods: Murray Cod can be taken on a number of baits, with bardie grubs the best. Fresh or blanched and frozen grubs will work well. Yabbies, shrimp and earthworms will also take fish. A running sinker rig is ideal and fish should be given time to take the bait. Fish close to timber. When trolling, it is important to get the lure down and bouncing over and around structure. By keeping a short line, (about 10 metres) you can gain better control of the lure and steer it around the base of trees or back off when the lure hits a snag. Trolling along the drop offs on the old river course or lagoons is popular, but many cod are caught while trolling in quite shallow water. Lure casting to trees and snags has become popular and can result in some great action. A newer (for Mulwala) form of lure fishing has produced some exciting fishing, that being the use of surface lures in shallow water in low light or darkness. It can be heart stopping stuff though, with violent and explosive attacks.
Golden Perch or yellowbelly will take shrimp, yabbies and earthworms. A yabby bobbed around the base of a tree will often be ambushed by these fine fish. When trolling, the use of medium sized lures will increase the chance of catching yellowbelly or cod.
Redfin when encountered will respond to the usual reddie methods. (See lake Hume.)
Lure Selection: There are many great Australian made lures on the market that work well at Mulwala. Oar-gee, Seeker, Legend, Goulburn, Merlin and Custom Crafted lures are but a few of a growing number of quality aussie products. Hotlips, Mudbugs and Manns are some imported lures that will work well. Large spinnerbaits have recently made an impact as well.
Hot Spots: Many people will have their own hot spots at Mulwala, but in reality fish can be, and have been taken from all over the lake. The most important thing is to fish the structure, both standing and fallen. Even the cleared areas will have a lot of fallen timber under the surface.
Getting There: From Albury-Wodonga, Mulwala is about an hours drive down the Murray Valley Highway. This road will take you past most of the southern side of the lake. The road from Corowa runs close to the northern side of the lake. From Melbourne take the Hume Highway to Benalla or Wangaratta then turn off to Yarrawonga.