Scenic View Copeton Dam


In circles of Murray Cod fishos, meeting in the dusty corners of tackle shops, sharing secrets for success and chattering excitedly about where to find big Murray Cod, one word seems to come up more and more: Copeton. Murray Cod fishos across Australia are marking Copeton on their maps with a red pin. Most have either been already or are on their way in the near future. But why so much furore? And will Copeton live up to its reputation? I wanted to find out.


Before I headed over to Copeton to see what all the fuss was about. It was time to get on Google and do some research into why the biggest Murray Cod were turning up in Copeton.

My conclusions were that Copeton is a chicken and egg situation. I couldn’t establish what came first, the big Murray Cod, or the hype. It seems that as more Murray Cod fishos have made the tip to Copeton to target Murray Cod, the process has become more refined.

It is logical, more minds huddled together to deduce the best way to target Murray Cod is going to yield better results than one lonely fisho. The transition to Swimbaits is an example of this. Recently, Murray Cod fishos at Copeton have turned to swimbaits to catch their prizes, with excellent results. It seems swimbaits are landing the bigger fish around the dam far better than surface lures. But had there been no hype around Copeton Dam, it is unlikely this would have been discovered.

Whether the fish or the hype came first is not strictly important. The fact is, Copeton is awash with Murray Cod growing over a metre long and everyone from beginner Murray Cod fishos to seasoned veterans searching for a new PB are on their way to try their hand at the impoundments.


I tried both the old technique of casting big surface baits and the new school of thought: swimmers in the shallows. I have to say, I found the latter to generate more interest. Dragging a realistic, dark-coloured swimbait slowing out from the shallows into deeper water had them chomping. The ultra-slow movement allowed one to really eek out the movement of the swimmer, convincing any Murray Cod in the area that this was the real deal.

It also seemed that hitting the shallows as soon as the sun hit the water was yielding results. It was like the arrival of the sun hit a switch that put all the Murray Cod into feeding mode. Targeting structure in the early morning light with swimmers produced some of our busiest sessions. I bagged myself a 120cm beauty, while my friend and fishing partner took a 117cm beast.

I did take one fish of over a metre on a paddler style surface lure. But in general, there was less action than on the spinners.


Although the spinner has rightly earned its position as king of Copeton, surface lures are an accessible way for beginner fishos to try their hand at taking Copeton Murray Cod. You can throw out surface lures from anywhere on the banks and don’t need to be too picky when it comes to size and colour. Anything between 110mm and 200mm will be large enough to get a bit from a big Murray Cod.


Copeton is also one of the only places where you can fish all year round. Research from the NSW fisheries found that the Murray Cod, in almost all cases, were not naturally breeding. That means that the supply relies on stocking, which is funded through fishing licenses. That means fishing doesn’t have to stop for breeding and anglers can target Murray Cod all year.

For any Murray Cod fishos looking to hit a new PB and get their teeth into plenty of metre-plus beasts, Copeton should be their next destination. It is a glowing example of how the fisho community has come together to devise the ultimate fish-taking strategy and the results have been nothing short of spectacular.

It is becoming easy to spot a fisho online who has been to Copeton. They all carry the same hallmark; a new profile picture, with them beaming ear-to-ear in the morning light of New South Wales, grasping the green/grey mass of a huge Murray Cod.


Have you fished for Murray Cod at Copeton? What did you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

John Wilkinson
John Wilkinson

John is into everything and anything that has an on or off switch. He's a big fan of the outdoors and using tech wherever he can to make it more fun for his son.