We develop a swimming costs model that accounts for the influence of flow velocity and body weight on the net active metabolic rate of Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii). Laboratory trials indicated that swimming costs increased with flow velocity (exponent = 2.36) and declined allometrically with body weight (exponent = -0.27). The newly derived swimming costs model provided a more dynamic estimate of Murray cod energy consumption, which explained 74% of variation in the swimming costs. This new model was compared to traditional bioenergetics models (fixed proportion and optimal swimming speed) to determine swimming costs in a variable temperature (6.4-26.1 °C) and flow velocity (0.06-0.46 m s-1) regime downstream of a large hypolimnetic-releasing impoundment on a major Australian river. Incorporating species-specific swimming cost models, such as the one developed here, into bioenergetics modelling allows the exploration of the impact of flow velocity in lotic systems on the growth responses of freshwater fish.