Thousands of keen freshwater anglers are eagerly awaiting the season opening for Murray cod this Friday the 1st of December.

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) CEO Travis Dowling said angling for the iconic native fish, which can grow to more than 40 kilograms and over a metre, continued to gain popularity given the species’ sportfishing traits and its fine eating qualities.

“Murray cod have made a huge comeback over the last decade thanks to habitat restoration, tighter catch limits, more responsible fishing practices and stocking programs funded by fishing licence fees and the State Government’s Target One Million plan, which aims to get more people fishing, more often,” Mr Dowling said.

“Last summer, more than 1.1 million Murray cod fingerlings were stocked, weighing nearly 2 tonnes, most of which were grown at the VFA’s Snobs Creek fish hatchery, near Eildon.

Those cod stockings complemented other native fish releases that totalled more than three million.”

Mr Dowling said passionate Murray cod anglers were encouraged to come along to the free Murray Codference in Shepparton on Sunday 10 December where they would learn about Victoria’s cod fisheries and how to improve their own fishing success.

“The free event is part of Target One Million, which is investing a record $46 million, including $9 million from fishing licence fees, to boost participation to one million anglers by 2020.

“The Codference is a great way to share and celebrate all the great projects being undertaken by agencies and anglers to improve our native fisheries.

Fishing personality Steve Starling will present the keynote address and expert anglers like Robbie Alexander, John Cahill and Marc Ainsworth will share their experience and a few secrets to help improve people’s native fishing success.

Other Codference topics will include flagship native fisheries and how we got there, record native fish stocking, how fishing licence fees contribute, native fish habitat, native fish population surveys across 10 rivers and an update on the National Carp Control Plan.

Learn more and reserve a free seat at www.vfa.vic.gov.au/codference2017

Anglers are reminded that Murray cod have a minimum legal size of 55cm, a maximum size of 75cm, a daily bag limit of 1 per person in rivers and a daily bag limit of 2 per person in lakes.