Australia's "Mississippi," the Murray River, is home to a wild-living, three-foot long, freshwater codfish named “Casanova.” To learn more about cod romances, he has been tracked by fish biologists who monitor annual returns to the same Ovens River Motel where, with a willing female, the Cod Father spawns.
Casanova is believed to be about twenty-five years old. Unlike salmon, living only a few years, dying at spawning time, Murray Cod may live forty more years after reaching puberty in about five.
Judging from an electronic-tagging device on this twenty-five year-old, it makes the same, more than 100 mile, trip every spring. Until the urge for another romance returns, from the opening of the fishing season in December (if not caught) until late August (when the season closes), it dines among the snags of Lake Mulwala.
Passing Yarrawonga, if Casanova's signals are detected at the Bundelong tracking station (up the Ovens River) near the Lake and again at Wangaratta – likely the first week of September – this will be his fifth spied-upon rendezvous, each time to the same location near Tarrawingee. Yes, these are Aboriginal names.
Like the North American Black Bass, after its river tryst with (probably) one female, Casanova will remain on duty guarding the eggs until they hatch in three to four weeks. Satisfied, the Cod Father will then make a solo journey, passing many a billabong, returning to its spacious home, a half-day drive north of Melbourne.
: Melbourne's Age
, science reporter, Berdie Smith, and fish biologist, Jarod Lyon, with the Arthur Rylah Institute, inspired this story.