True Tales of the Trout Cod and other Australian Native Fish

True Tales of the Trout Cod River Histories

Take a journey back through the rich history of fish and rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin, as experienced by the local people, in this collection of River Histories.

By collating historical descriptions of the fish and rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin, "True Tales" provides a window into a lost world. We can trace the changes in fish and rivers, and learn from the mistakes of the past. If we know what went wrong, we know what we need to fix it. If we can fix it, we may even be able to bring native fish back, in good numbers, to local places they have long since disappeared from.

When you look at the rivers and see what's happened, well, they're not the same....One man can't make a difference, but a lot of men can.
- Frank Moore, Mac's Cove, Goulburn River Catchment, December 2006

Lachlan River

Lachlan River Catchment History

The Lachlan River Catchment, west of Sydney.

My father had the stories; he always used to say that at Easter time he wouldn't have to buy fish, he would just catch a fish, down the Lachlan here, always four to five cod and not much of anything else, that's what dad used to tell us. There was also what they used to call the old Black Bream; they used to call them white eyes here, now they call them Macquarie Perch, and the trout. - Joe Lewis 2007.

Find out more » Lachlan River Catchment History

Murrumbidgee River

Murrumbidgee River Catchment History

Murrumbidgee Catchment, one of the three largest rivers that flow into the Murray-Darling Basin.

We were fishing over in the irrigation canal and we caught this bream, it had big white eyes. My uncle said "that's a Macquarie perch". We caught one another day in the Murrumbidgee itself. My uncle said they were plentiful in the river in the early days, I haven't seen one since, that was in the '40s when we got them. - Jim Bailey 2008.

Find out more » Murrumbidgee River Catchment History

Goulburn River

Goulburn River Catchment History

Goulburn Catchment, Victoria.

I remember when I was very young my father used to go on Sunday mornings down to Magee's Beach on the Goulburn here and in no time he would have a collection of cod and Macquarie Perch, a dozen or more of them. - Russell Stillman, 2007.

Find out more » Goulburn River Catchment History

Upper Murray River

Upper Murray River Catchment History

Upper Murray, the source of the Murray River.

Any of the creeks up here, if there was a hole 6 foot deep there was cod in them. If there was a willow tree or logs you were sure to catch a cod in them. The Jeremal, Cudgewa, Corryong, they all had cod in them. The locals talked about all the cod and bream in the Mannus falls. - Tom Jarvis, 2006.

Find out more » Upper Murray River Catchment History

Mitta Mitta River

Mitta Mitta River Catchment History

Mitta Mitta River catchment, North East, Victoria.

There was heaps of cod between Mitta and Dartmouth, up to the 6 mile Creek near the Dart River Junction. There was heaps of them 50 to 60 years ago, even up to 40 years ago. They were common from 10 to 30 pounds.- John Yea, 2006.

Find out more » Mitta Mitta River Catchment History

Ovens River

Ovens River Catchment History

Ovens River Catchment, which flows through north East of Victoria and enters the Murray through Yarrawonga, Victoria.

As a teenager I fished in Lake Sambell. We caught numerous small cod in the lake fishing with worms and wood grubs. The lake used to supply water to the tannery on the other side of town. There was a tunnel under the town that drew down the water. About 1960 the creek was diverted into the lake, to keep it full. It was about then that the small cod disappeared. - Lance Jervis, 2006.

Find out more » Ovens River Catchment History

Riverina River

Riverina River Catchment History

The Catfish, there are still a few around in the Columbo Creek. You don't see them very often now around here, there used to be a lot of them in the lagoons, we used to get them up to 3 or 4 pounds, and in the channels. But they've drained everything out, emptied all the lagoons. - Ken Trefall, 2007.

Find out more » Riverina River Catchment History

Central Murray River

Central Murray River Catchment History

Central Murray River Catchment, inland between Albury, NSW and Mildura, Victoria.

I was born in 29, back then it was no problem getting fish, I fi shed here all my life. When I was young the Gunbower Creek was full of redfin, they were caught up to 6 pound, and it was full of cod. We'd just go out with a bag of mussels, that's all you needed to catch cod. - Norm Wilson, 2008.

Find out more » Central Murray River Catchment History