Head for the hills!
  |  First Published: June 2011

As the water starts to cool down and river bass go off the agenda for the closed season, June often sees me heading to the Central Tablelands chasing trout and the now bass-rich dams.

Lake Wallace, Lake Lyell and Thompsons Creek Dam are major attractions.

Over the past few years I have had good success on these three dams, which are only a couple of hours’ drive from the Sydney CBD.

If you are lucky and the water hasn't turned too cold just yet, you might even catch a football-proportioned bass out of Lyell or Wallace.

Some of the fish that have been caught recently remind me of the early days of Glenbawn Dam. Fish that measured 45cm weighed more than 2kg.

And the good news is the bass will take the same lures and flies that you use for trout.

When fishing Lyell and Wallace you can fish with two rods, one set up for bait and the other for a lure or fly.

Baits that work well for trout are worms, yabbies, mudeyes and trout marshmallows.

Rigging these baits is simple. You need a small ball sinker (size 0 or 1) and octopus or baitholder hooks sizes 10 to 1, depending on what bait you are using.

For example, if I was using a yabby I would probably use a No 1 to 1/0 baitholder hook.

When using the trout marshmallows I would choose a No 10 octopus style because these baits are designed to float and if your hook is too big, the bait will sink and not be as affective.

A simple running sinker rig is needed for all of these baits – sinker, swivel, 30cm to 50cm of 8lb to 10lb leader and the hook.

When fishing the mudeyes I use a bubble float rig, which substitutes the bubble float for the sinker in the rig above.

Use these rigs on a 6’ to 7’ rod and a 2kg to 4kg threadline reel line and you should have some fun. Don’t fish too heavy because you won’t catch as many fish.


Lures should be a mixed box of crankbaits, spoons, Tassie Devils, soft plastics and lipless crankbaits.

Some of my favourites are the Tassie Devils, Maria Crank Minnows (shallow/deep divers) Lucky Craft Tango Dancers and any small 50mm lipless crankbaits. Opt for natural colours first, then if they are not working switch to the fluoro colours.

One of my favourite colours in the Tassie Devil is hot pink, which has caught many good trout over the years.

Don't forget that when fishing in a trout dam that you can fish with bait on one rod and a lure with the other unless it is a trophy trout-classified dam like Thompsons Creek, where you can only lure or fly fish.

Set up your bait rod and then you can start throwing lures around. Remember that you cannot leave your bait rod unattended and must stay within 10m of it.

Fly-fishing is one of my favourite ways to catch trout. I generally use a 6wt outfit with a weight-forward floating line or an 8wt, depending on the size of the flies I am using or how much wind is about.

Flies generally include Mrs Simpson, Hamill’s Killer, Matukas, Glo Bugs and nymph patterns. All of these are wet flies.

Sometimes in Winter you can catch trout all day but I like it as the sun is rising or late afternoon and into the evening. I find I catch most of my bigger fish at these times as opposed to smaller fish in the middle of the day.

Trout like to cruise the bank looking for food in the low light.

Make sure you wear suitable clothing because it gets quite cold and always take spare clothes in case of that swim you didn’t want to take. With temperatures around zero, it pays not to be wet for long!

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