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Abundant water and fish
  |  First Published: December 2011



The holiday season can be busy on local waterways. Lakes and dams such as Ben Chifley, near Bathurst, Lyell near Lithgow and Carcoar near Blayney can be quite crowded.

Although busy, bigger waterways to the west, such as Wyangala, Windamere and Burrendong, offer a lot more space and distance between water users.

What’s great about this holiday season is that all these waterways are near full.

One easy way to avoid the traffic and catch a few fish is to get out there early.

Being on the water at 4.30am and off at 9am at the latest is the go. If you’re camping for a couple of days, this will give you time to kick back, relax, play with the kids, listen to the cricket, watch the midday antics at the boat ramp, check out the shopping in town, have a siesta and be ready for the evening fishing action.

Of course you can avoid all this by fishing one of our non-boating impoundments such as Oberon Dam or Thompsons Creek Dam near Wallerawang. Both of these don’t offer any camping opportunities but accommodation close by should not be a problem.

Both dams produce some great trout, although Oberon has been plagued by heaps of small redfin in recent years. But I am sure a few of the larger brown and rainbow trout will have been feeding up on the smaller redfin.

Early mornings and late evenings will still be the best times to fish these trout dams.

Large wet flies are the go, with mudeye (dragonfly larvae) imitations good starting points.

You can drift-fish a similar fly under a bubble float on light spinning gear. It’s surprisingly effective, especially if there is a light ripple on the water.

NATIVE ACTION

There has been plenty of new ground covered with rising water over the Spring, a great boost for all our impoundments.

The explosion of life that has followed has been incredible.

Next time you’re down at the water’s edge after dark, shine your torch in the water (after you’ve been fishing or well away from others that are, please!).

It’s a wonder any fish could even be bothered striking at a lure or moving over to grab a bait.

All the fish that others and I have caught recently have been in awesome condition. Recently I was told of a capture of a Murray cod from Ben Chifley Dam that was only 60cm to 70cm long yet the angler actually had trouble holding it for a photo –it was as round as a wine barrel.

Surface luring for bass and cod during low light periods should be at fever pitch in the district now.

It’s very addictive and as you may have guessed from my writings over the years, I am a full-on addict.

I remember Barry Gill relating to me a story about a local guy he fished with for bass up on the Northern Rivers many years ago. As they were loading up the punt, Barry noticed that he seemed to have all the gear.

Sure, the guy had a rod and a surface lure tied on, but that was about it.

“Did you forget your gear, cobber?” he said, but the reply was “All you’ll need is a couple of surface lures, digger.”

That must surely be heaven.

On the other end of the scale and just as rewarding, deep trolling for big cod can be quite productive during the warmer part of the day.

Waters such as Wyangala and Burrendong have some behemoth cod.

Intelligent trolling using quality depth sounders, targeting the right areas with repeat runs, is one way to bring them unstuck.

Don’t overlook open water either, especially if you are seeing bulk bait balls, small golden perch and redfin on the sounder layered at a certain depth.

The next big cod caught at Burrendong or Wyangala out in 20m depths and suspended at 11m won’t be the first, or the last.

Keep in mind other water users over the holidays.

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