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Hot times ahead
  |  First Published: December 2010



Those of us a little longer in the tooth will remember the old Creedence Clearwater Revival song Who’ll Stop The Rain. With rivers and impoundments at high levels for some time, many of us across the New England have been humming its refrain for some time now.

These periods of high water have tended to put the fish right off and even made accessing some spots quite difficult. Whenever the rivers are running high most fish, if any, have been taken from the quieter backwaters. Most creeks have been carrying colour.

That said, I have heard reports of some excellent late-season redfin action in the likes of Saumarez Creek.

In the past couple of years these smaller, weedy waterways have dried up considerably with a slowdown in the redfin action. Although some holes still held good pools, many became choked with rushes and virtually unfishable.

Recent flooding has cleaned out and opened up sections of the creek.

The Gwydir River above Copeton Dam has also enjoyed a good flush and I'd be surprised if some nice redfin were not also on the prowl below Bundarra.

NEW GROUND

The increase in regional water storages means that plenty of new ground has been flooded around the dams.

With the warmer conditions you can expect a flush of growth in these shallow margins.

Coupled with the increased shrimp and yabby activity, these areas are prime stalking grounds. Whether shore-based or drifting from a boat you’d be well advised this month to target such areas.

Lightly rigged medium sized soft plastics, shallow-running lures or large Deceiver-style flies would be good places to start.

Shallow bays sheltered from the wind and adjacent to drop-offs should fish well throughout the next couple of months.

While you could well pick up some nice yellas around the foreshore of Keepit and Chaffey dams, there will be plenty of mud puppies – carp – on patrol.

Bait anglers may find this annoying but carp are suckers for lightly weighted fresh worms, shrimps or corn. They are a terrific option if you have a couple of rug rats in tow and are great ‘training’ fish.

I predict his will be one of the better years for catfish, given the water levels. While few anglers target catties, they are pretty good to chew on and any muddy-bottomed shallow bay will hold a few after dark.

COD SEASON

With the opening of the cod season you can be sure plenty of anglers will be back out targeting the green fish.

Whether tossing lures after dark, trolling the old river channels or stalking gorge pools, the fish are going to be in terrific condition.

Early season cod love a hearty offering and large hardbodies and bigger spinnerbaits will work well.

If the rivers continue to carry some colour, go for red-and-black combinations.

In the dams you’ll probably find that the water will clear, particularly in the sheltered bays, where green or even yellow are reliable colour choices.

TROUT

The trout scene has been a little up and down, depending on when and where you venture out.

Fishing at Ebor has been dependent on water height and generally there has been too much.

The meadow streams have been fishing well but down in the gorges the water has mostly been much higher than average.

I believe the Walcha area will really fire this year once the weather warms and the rivers slightly clear. The streams there have been carrying as good a head of water as I have ever seen and the fish should be active.

This month we should see some terrific hopper action for fly anglers. There should also be some solid mayfly and caddis action. Small duns or emergers fished prior to last light should pull a fish or two to the surface.

Trout will be a little sluggish during the hotter periods and you may need to vary your retrieve to entice the inevitable follower.

Lure flickers should target the bigger runs with an actively retrieved crankbait. Natural or rainbow minnow colours are the choice at present.

BASS GORGES

Down in the eastern gorges the bass should be on the chew. I’d be surprised if we don’t get a corker cicada hatch and you know what that means.

If my guess is correct the topwater action on the brush-lined pools will be exceptional this Summer.

Have a midday siesta and then hit your pool of choice half an hour before dark – you won’t be disappointed.

The gorge access points of Riverside and Halls Peak will be well patronised but you have a heap of water to explore. Alternatively, the Kunderang operations will put you in the thick of it.

River heights in the upper regions have consistently been more than adequate for multi-day canoeing adventures. For more info on floating the gorges contact the crew at Armidale Outdoors for the latest.

Below the Junction, most of the runs and pools should fish well. With a stormy build-up and chattering cicadas, the fish certainly will bite.

Bottom-bumping with a meaty soft plastic just below the rapids should stir up a few bass. Don’t be afraid to try a few wilder colours than the naturals – hot pink or orange can sometimes turn the tide.

SNAKE ALERT

The prosperous Spring conditions have seen a rise in the numbers of snakes this season.

Carry a couple of snake bandages when heading out and know how to use them.

On most of the trout waters I always wear thigh waders, as much for those cranky tiger snakes as to keep my feet dry!

The tip this month is to tread lightly and fish widely – there is going to be some hot action before and after Santa wriggles down the chimney!

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