Copeton Dam Surface fishing for big Murray cod.James Dainton
By Colby Lesko
Copeton dam or as its affectionally called by anglers ‘the big fish factory’ is an amazing place to visit as a Murray cod angler. The dam holds a massive number of large meter plus Murray cod and is the perfect environment for large cod. The dam built an amazing reputation years ago as the surface capital of cod fishing. The dam suffered very low water over recent years but after the flooding rains of 2021/2022 season the dam is back at full capacity and so is the surface bite!
I was recently travelling past the dam with some time up my sleeve so decided to head to the dam and check it out. Being the start of winter, I was hoping the fish had pushed to the shallows to feed and my goal was to find some fish on the surface. The lure of choice was the Balista tremor with both the surface paddling bib and wake bait bib for the primetime surface sessions. I would also cast the tremor with diving bib while the sun was high in the sky. First step was to find some shallow banks 3 to 1m of water to fish. After picking a few banks the day before I hit the water at 5am and started casting the tremor into the shallows.
Moving along the banks quickly I would cast the tremor right up into the shallows every 5m or so along the bank. I put the electric motor on a constant 2 speed, so it slowly moved me along the bank as I cast into the shallows. Now Copeton is full the banks are all covered in flooded trees and saplings so I would cast right up and into all the gaps of these flooded trees and bring the surface lure over them. By moving quickly with the electric on a constant speed I was able to find areas that had bait fish flicking on the surface and I would stop the electric motor and fish these areas more thoroughly.
Straight away on the first morning the tremor was smashed off the surface by a heathy 95cm fish. The first morning resulted in 5 surface bites on the tremor between 5 am and 8 am. This set the tone for the trip and I decided to stay for a few days! The next few days where incredible fishing and I was able to receive multiple surface bites on both the surface paddling tremor and the surface waking tremor every morning at primetime. Unfortunately, the afternoon sessions where much harder with only one single missed boof from a nice fish in multiple afternoons casting. Regardless of this the morning sessions made up for the lack of action in the afternoons. I was able to land multiple big fish on the surface tremor over the few morning sessions with the biggest fish coming in at over 120cm!
I was also lucky enough to head right up the top of the dam during the middle of the day one day and have a cast up the river. I chose to use the same Murray cod tremor that I was using in the lake for the morning session I just swapped the surface bib for the diving bib. The tremor with the diving bib is a great option in the rivers or lake during the day. The bib gets the lure down into the strike zone and gives the lure a great swimbait action. The lure also dives slightly head down and combine this with the tremors floating body it’s the perfect lure for working through snags without getting snagged. This is why I picked the diving bib up the river and the fish seemed to love it too. During a few hours walk I managed to land 3 nice fish on the diving tremor and missed a couple more. A great option during the day!
So all in all it was a great trip to the dam and one I will always remember. If you’re after a big surface cod from an impoundment this winter lake Copeton is going to be hard to go past. Cast your tremor right up into the shallows and concentrate in bait rich areas I’m sure you’ll find a few yourself!