Hunt the depths
  |  First Published: December 2010

Fishing in January is all about making the most of low light periods.

It’s hot when the sun is out and fish, be they trout or natives, look for deeper water – much deeper in the case of trout.

Trout in waters such as Lake Lyell will hang down around the thermocline in the main basin of the lake.

The thermocline level and thickness can vary with each season but a quality sounder will pick it up as a band of clutter.

Trout and bass hunt schools of baitfish which also gather at this depth.

Getting lures, flies and baits down to these depths (sometimes 20m or 30m) is the challenge.

Downrigging is one popular method and drifting and casting with blades, soft plastics or full-sink fly lines is another.

Bobbing with baits at the required depth is also worth a try.

The key is to keep your lure bait or fly at the right depth (where you have seen concentrations of fish or bait) for as long as possible.

If you are confined to the bank during the hotter parts of the day then I would be concentrating my efforts on the steeper banks close to the main river channel.


It’s amazing how much bass and cod have changed the contents of my tackle box over the past couple of seasons.

Increased stockings of these fish in the local area really have added another two dimensions to my season.

Catching cod and bass on surface lures is addictive, very addictive.

You have to remember, though, at this time of year these lures are what I call ‘short window’ lures. By this I mean you may fish them for only 10 or 20 minutes of your whole session.

Matching the hatch can be important so try to imitate in size and shape what could land or swim on top of the water in the area at that time.

With cod it may be a water dragon (lizard) or small bird; with bass it may be a cicada or a small beetle.


Good numbers of redfin are always on the cards this month.

Jigging stainless steel slugs, heavy lead bobbers and blades as you drift in the boat is a great way to get yourself a feed.

It pays to be on the water early, before the lakes get too busy. Drifting around in the ski zone later in the day is sure to turn some heads!

If you’re really keen, a super-early start is your best chance of getting bigger fish.

Ben Chifley and Burrendong dams are popular spots for those chasing redfin and there are also some smaller dams in the district, such as Carcoar Dam near Blayney and Lake Canobalas, near Orange, that produce good numbers of redfin.

Bobbing baits, especially small yabbies, while tied up to a large drowned tree is one way of avoiding increased water traffic during the middle part of the day.

It’s also a great way to catch redfin, which tend to gravitate to the trees during the hotter parts of the day.

With two or three kids in the boat, you can be kept really busy baiting up and de-hooking fish!

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