This trout season has the potential to be the best in many years.
Winter was cold but not too dry, streams and rivers have been topped up regularly and some natural spawning will have taken place, although I did not see any spawning beds on the Fish River late in the season.
The trout-stocking program taken on by the local groups in the district has also proved very productive over the past couple of seasons. The small rainbows evident in the streams and rivers late last season are testament to that.
Waterways such as the Fish River near Tarana are popular right through the season; flows will vary early, with high water a real possibility.
If so, concentrate your efforts in the back eddies out of the main current because this is where most of the catchable trout will be.
Casting 5cm to 7cm floating minnow on light spin gear should have you hooked up in no time.
Of course, your casting will need to be spot on so hopefully you have had some practice at home over the off season.
The Campbells River south-east of Bathurst is also a great piece of water. The banks can be a little high in places, which can make access for older anglers difficult.
Public angler access to the river is difficult because for most of its length the river runs through private property.
I have found most landholders along the river to be more than happy to allow access for fishing if you use the right approach.
If refused, respect the landholder’s decision and move on. Remember, it’s access to their backyard we are talking about.
Windamere Dam, west of Mudgee, is golden perch central this month – in fact, for the next few months.
With the water slowly rising over Winter, plenty of new ground has been covered. Warmer days and water temperatures slowly rising will encourage the golden perch to feed on the many baitfish, yabbies and shrimp in the shallows.
Cast small lures, flies or bait into these shallows amid the drowned shrubs and grass and you should get into plenty of fish.
North-facing rock walls and rocky points can also be hot spots because they are warmer than surrounding spots and so is the water.
Yabbies are prolific in these areas. Fish are constantly moving into these places, I have seen them rummage around in the rocks chasing these tasty little morsels.
Be aware that sometimes a rattling lure that is too loud presented too close or approaching from the wrong angle can actually scare the fish.
Sometimes just the noise of a lead-head jig or other lure touching the bottom a metre or so away from the fish is enough to warrant the golden to investigate further. A couple of very subtle twitches as it moves in are enough to send it into a frenzied attack.
Lake Lyell and, to a lesser extent, Lake Wallace will be viable options for bass this month.
Surface lures worked in the late afternoon after one of the warmer days will be your best option.
The window of opportunity may be small, 15 to 20 minutes just on dark, but it sure will get the heart racing if you get a strike.
Shallow shorelines with deep water close by seem to be favoured haunts; cast right up close to the bank if you’re working from a boat.
I have found on most occasions a slow, constant retrieve is best but this will depend on what lure you are working.
Walk-the-dog style stickbaits can quite often work well with a pause.
The best plan of attack is to work subsurface lures such as small crankbaits, spinnerbaits and minnows either side of this bite window.Reads: 1161