Boom times ahead
  |  First Published: February 2011

It’s always good to be on the water but it’s just that little bit better when lakes and dams are full.

Isn’t it great to be able to pull the boat up in the shade of a tree (one with leaves on it) and have a break?

How good is it to walk the banks of your favourite river casting at all those new snags, it’s like fishing a new piece of water!

With an influx of new water comes new life.

Just as there has been a drought on the land, so has there been a drought in the water.

Nutrient levels have lifted, the food chain is in overload and fish gain weight accordingly.

Murray cod from places such as Wyangala are up to 2kg heavier than they where before the rains.

Trout and bass in Lake Lyell look like little barrels. It’s great to see.


The flipside is there is a lot more water mixed in with the same number of fish.

And shorelines have increased in some cases by hundreds of kilometres.

It can be a little overwhelming. Where do I start, where do I go?

The best advice I can give is to break up the dam into sections, even large arms or bays.

Don’t think that you have to fish the whole lake; you will spend more time driving the boat than you will fishing. Hooks need to be in the water to catch fish.

If your memory is any good, you will know from previous trips when the water was low where the good structure was.

You may have kept diaries from previous years.

For more pelagic species such as trout, bass, and redfin, it can be a little different.

This is where a good sounder comes in handy.

If you’re still using that old pinger from ten years ago it’s time to trade up –sounder technology has come along way and you won’t believe the advances that have been made recently.


Fly-fishing the lakes and dams at night for trout is very productive at this time of year.

The mudeye (dragonfly larva) is high on the menu for trout in Thompsons Creek Dam, Lake Lyell, Oberon Dam and Lake Wallace.

These little tasty morsels swim from lake margins towards the shore during the night, then crawl up onto grass, logs and bushes to hatch in the morning sun.

The trout take full advantage of this migration and feed up big time.

Most mudeyes are taken just under the surface, although some are grabbed in the surface film.

Flies need to match the size, and shape of the mudeye and be fished at the correct depth.

A good head lamp and some waders or thigh boots are essential.

Don’t think you have to wade out a great distance, though; the next trout to take a mudeye between angler and the shore won’t be the last.


Murray cod will do well this month.

The hotter parts of the day will be spent deep in cover and casts will have to be accurate and deliberate.

Getting a lure in the right place first cast is your best bet; each cast after that your odds gradually decrease, I reckon.

That’s especially in water that gets fished regularly. The cod wise up and become suspicious.

Very early morning and late afternoon are good times to chase cod, which often venture out a little. Surface lures are good for these times.

There could be an influx of golden perch and other species that have pushed up the rivers from some of the bigger dams, so keep this in mind as well.

Dropping back a lure size or two could have you right into some action during the hotter parts of the day, when the cod could be a little slow.

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