Greg Laing of Lighthouse Lures in Young NSW. He had a few hours fishing the Dumaresq River with the author. Good to see a few yellowbelly being caught again in the river.

Comprehensive cod research results

IT’S that time of the year again – over the next three months it will be breeding time for our icon the Murray cod, trout cod, Mary River cod and the Clarence River cod.

This time, a lot swings in the balance as the rain season could be upon us before we know it.

To remind everyone – it’s breeding time, so closed season right across a four-month period, from Tamworth in NSW to the Mary River region in Queensland.

You have seen on many occasions that a great deal has been mentioned in my articles about the cod breeding, the cod caught and those that died in a river flood or due to bushfire ash.

I have also mentioned many times about the research undertaken in my neck of the woods, starting back in 2008 until the following research article in the Journal of Environmental Management, available online from May 23, 2022.

I was lucky to have had Dr Stuart Rowland send me a copy as I’m what you could call ‘computer illiterate’.

So, I have included a copy for you – so you can obtain what you need to know about our icon freshwater cod.

The nine names mentioned are the people who put a lot of time and effort into a major project that has shone the light on an Australian icon.

Its river systems downstream, from the hill country on out west, are in great danger and degradation.

When you read the results, take note of the things that could affect the reproduction of fingerlings to take the place of those cod you have caught to eat or release.

Stating the above has brought to attention our thoughts and beliefs on how we treat this great fish.

I am one of those so called ‘kill it and fillet it’ mob members.I love eating Murray cod and when I want a meal of cod, I will take one from a ‘put and take’ storage, dam or fishery.

I will not take one from a river to eat, that also includes yellowbelly, silver perch and catfish. It’s a tough life in the river, trying to survive.

With this in mind, try the stocked impoundments you can fish year-round, with no closed season in Queensland.

As you read the article’s information, take note and highlight in yellow those points you would like more information on.

All the way through reading the results, keep in mind one thing – the closed seasons in all four states – leave the rivers alone.

Don’t give me the garbage excuse that you’re only targeting yellowbelly – also called golden perch – in the rivers during the closed season, that’s bulldust.

Now, if you catch a Murray cod 100cm in length in a dam or storage, that fish will be about 8-10 years old.

Living up to 40-50 years of age in those water systems and eating their way to over 200cm long or more, don’t think that a cod that size could not be caught.

The research undertaken to date on local river systems in my area showed some mind-blowing results – a 13-year-old male 54cm cod and a small 45cm female cod that was fully mature and breeding.

While the research was being carried out, some cod from the Dumaresq, Macintyre and Gwydir rivers were collected to gain the information you are reading from the report.

The ageing of one female cod at 87cm long was found to be 38 years old and was calcified in the ovaries, never to breed again in the river!

This ageing analysis was carried out by two senior scientists – Associate Professor Glenn Wilson from the Armidale campus of the University of New England and Dr Stuart Rowland, now retired, formerly of the CSIRO and the Grafton Aquaculture Centre – who both came to the same conclusion.

My comment… you don’t get children out of grandparents!

Those nine people listed in the research article put many hours into finding those results and deserve a big thank you for a job well done.

I would like to see follow up work done within the next four years, with funding being supplied.

All I can say is it’s the best 10-page report for any angler who has a passion for cod.

A PDF version is available from

Read and note sections:
2.5. Nesting and spawning cues
2.6. Impacts of nest disturbance
3.2. Spawning site selection and timing
3.3. Nesting and spawning cues
3.5. Impacts of nest disturbance
5. Conclusions – this covers the conclusions and closed season format.

In closing, if at any time an angler who catches a Murray cod in Glenlyon Dam wants to fillet and eat a cod, I would be more than happy to show them how to treat this wonderful eating fish with respect, as well as show how to not waste any of the meat.

Cook the fillets by putting plain flower, a little salt and pepper into a plastic bag and shaking well.

Place margarine or butter in a hot pan on three-quarter heat and, taking no longer than 10-12 minutes, cook both sides.


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