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  Gone Fishing  Fish File

Callop - Golden Perch, Yellow Belly


Macquaria ambigua

Callop are possibly the most sought after fish in the River Murray. The average length for Callop found in the River Murray is in the order of 33cm to 40cm. They are considered to be excellent eating.

Callop are normally bottom feeding fish found in the fresh water rivers of the Murray-Darling system in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. In addition, they occur in southern Western Australia, where they were introduced many years ago.

They have been known to attain a weight in excess of 5 kg and are highly respected by fresh water anglers for their ability to fight strongly until the end. When handled by an unwary angler, the Callop can inflict severe wounds to fingers because the edge of the gill cover is razor sharp.

Callop that are caught from turbid waters generally take on a more 'milky' or 'washed out' appearance than the golden and green colours of those taken from clear impoundments. They can also be found hiding amongst the logs, hanging around weed beds and lurking just over steep drop offs.

Their diet consists of yabbies (small freshwater crayfish), river shrimp, worms, grubs and smaller fish. However, too many Carp or baby Callop are caught on worms and so the norm is to usually use small shrimps for live bait.

The preference to relatively mobile prey also makes the Callop an ideal target for lure enthusiasts. An extremely territorial fish, the Callop has no fear with regards to lure size. Often, fish will hit a lure that would be impossible for it to swallow.

They are more of an ambush fish rather than a long distance speedster. Therefore the fight is at its peak in the early stages. But their initial hit can really be exciting.

Usually taken from the bank of the river or in a drifting boat, Callop can also be taken by slowly trolling an artificial lure close to the bottom at speeds not exceeding 2 knots. The breaking strain of the line used is usually far more than necessary because Callop are found in exactly the same water as the Murray Cod and these grow to enormous proportions.

Targeting them with artificials is best done with medium sized sub-surface lures and flies. They have been known to take surface artificials, but this is more the exception rather than a rule.

The angler never knows which fish he will get so lines of 8 to 16 kg breaking strain are adequate. The most suitable reel is either the bait casting or threadline reel and a rod with a length of 5'6" to 7'6" in length.

If bait is to be used, hook sizes should range from No. 1 to 2/0, preferably of a French or Sneck pattern. If artificial lures are used, a treble hook from No. 3 to No. 1 is best suited. Sinker size would be as light as possible - preferably none at all.

The edible quality of Callop is high - so high in fact that many inland people place them ahead of Murray Cod. They do not have the fatty content usually associated with a Cod in good condition.

If washed and cleaned shortly after capture, their keeping quality in refrigerated conditions is excellent. In addition, the flesh is suitable for smoking, and stores extremely well.

A preferred method of capture is to place the fish straight onto ice or into an iced slurry (ice and water with 2 table spoons salt). Once the fish is anaesthetized, you can kill it by spiking it between the eyes and turning the knife until it clicks, killing the brain and the eyes look outwards. This is normally regarded humane. Then simply fillet the Callop, skin and bone it and before cooking, soak it in milk for 30 minutes so as to remove some of the muddy taste from the flesh.

A number of restrictions apply to the type of fishing gear you are allowed to use on the River Murray. Two rods and lines (or hand lines) are permitted for each fisher, but restrictions apply to the use of yabby traps and shrimp traps. Mesh nets or drum nets are NOT permitted.

Legal Minimum Length

Current Limit: 33 cm  [Previous: Unknown]

For further information, please review the following links at PIRSA ..........

  • Dimensions of a Shrimp Trap
  • Legal Requirements of Recreational Fishing on the Murray

    Bag Limit

    Current Bag Limit: 5 per person  [Previous: 6 per person  ]
    Current Boat Limit: 15 per boat  [Previous: 18 per boat  ]

    Type of Tackle

    Use line between 8 to 16 kg.

    A rod around 1.8m is ideal for both river bank and boat fishing.

    Hook Selection

    No.1 to 2/0 French or Sneck pattern hooks that come pre packed are ideal. For luring, a treble hook from No. 3 to No. 1 is best suited.

    Baits Used

    Shrimp, yabbies and worms. I have always had success using Shrimp.

    For further information, please review the following links at PIRSA ..........

  • Dimensions of a Shrimp Trap
  • Legal Requirements of Recreational Fishing on the Murray

    Rigs Used

    Rig No. 1
    Rig 1 can be used off the river bank. It can be used in shallow water, and at times where the Callop are touchy. It allows the fish some room to move and play with the bait, before a good hookup occurs.

    Rig No. 2
    Rig 2 is ideal for fishing at night.

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