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Seasons of change
  |  First Published: April 2012



This month the water and air cool down, the first frost appears and some species start to feed up and get ready for the coming Winter.

Native fish such as bass, cod and golden perch feed up before the water cools down to a point where they become sluggish. On the flipside, trout become more active and start to venture into the shallows in search of food.

It’s a great time to sample the action. Big Murray cod are often caught this month and polaroiding trout is a good way to spend a chilly morning with an early frost crunching beneath your feet.

Some good spots to go hunting for the acrobatic trout are Thompsons Creek Dam, Lake Lyell and Lake Wallace, near Lithgow. All these dams hold healthy numbers of brown and rainbow trout, while Lyell and Wallace have the bonus of some very fat bass.

Thompsons Creek Dam is classified as a trophy trout dam and is lure and fly only.

Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to target trout as they leave the deeper parts of the lake to search the shallows for a feed.

Invest in a good pair of polarised sunglasses and walk the foreshores of the lake with the sun behind you. Cheap glasses will work but I always say to anyone who wants to listen, you only get one set of eyes so why ruin them by wearing cheap glasses?

When you are looking for cruising trout try to find a high vantage point where you can see a good distance across the water, and have your lure or fly ready.

Trout have exceptional eyesight so they spook easily. Cast your offering in front of the trout and hopefully the fish will eat it.

Don’t cast your offering smack on top of the fish; try to put it around a metre in front.

Lures that work well for trout include Tassie Devils, Celtas, spoons, deep and shallow crankbaits and a variety of soft plastics.

Send these lures out with a light spin or baitcaster outfit filled with 4lb to 8lb line. One of my favourite outfits is a G Loomis rod and Shimano Stella 1000FE reel.

Casting light lures on this spin outfit is effortless; using light lures on a baitcaster can be difficult but it can be done.

If fly-fishing is your thing, a 6wt or 8wt outfit will do the job nicely. Weight-forward lines are my choice for casting long distances and building up the line speed before shooting the line towards the fish.

I enjoy casting a 9’ fly rod for trout and many other fish. This is one of the most rewarding types of fishing out there – the perfect cast, the direct fight and beauty of a good tight casting loop.

Some would disagree but there are many dedicated anglers who do nothing but fish with a fly rod.

Bass will be on the move towards their spawning grounds in the brackish water so they will be spread out along the river, although the deluges of early March might help to send the fish on their way early.

The river bass season will close on June 1 so make the most of the remaining rime.

You are not allowed to possess bass (even in your livewell) during the closed season. I and many others leave these fish alone during their spawning time and wait for the new season to open on September 1.

A favourite lure to target bass this month is the buzzbait; you can cover a lot of water and cast them deep into heavy cover without fear of fouling.

Another lure that works well is a soft plastic rigged on a Beetle Spin.

Fly-fishing for bass is very effective and when conventional lures don’t work, try presenting a fly and you might be surprised. Some good flies to try are streamers, Woolly Buggers and surface flies.

Cast lures and flies close to overhanging trees, along weed edges, submerged timber, rocky outcrops, entrances to creeks and around bridge pylons.

LOWER DOWN

Farther down the system, after all the rain, flathead and bream are also on the chew this month with the odd by-catch of whiting.

Look for these fish over sand flats, drop-offs, around wharves, channel markers, moored boats, oyster racks, rocky outcrops and weed beds. All these fish can be caught on a variety of baits including prawns (live or dead), whitebait, worms, pilchard pieces, fish flesh cut into strips and squid.

I prefer lure fishing for bream and flathead because it’s hunting for the fish, not just sitting there waiting for them to come to you.

Soft plastics are a good thing when targeting flathead. Slowly roll the plastic along the bottom and a flattie won’t be to far away. Bream also like plastics, especially those imitating prawns, worms and small fish.

Hard lures also work well for bream, especially shallow crankbaits, blades, surface lures and deep crankbaits. There are so many to choose from and the brands are endless – buy a couple each week and your collection will grow.

Some lures work for multiple species, which is a bonus when buying lures.

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