It’s a trophy trout bonanza
  |  First Published: May 2012

May can be a real trout bonanza, especially if you’re after a trophy brown trout; the bigger fish seem to throw caution to the wind and feed up at times and places that I am sure they would normally only visit in low light.

A trigger for this feeding binge will be a series of cold fronts that push up from the south-west, forcing air and water temperatures to drop quickly.

It’s no secret that in most trout waterways in Australia the humble yabby is No 1 tucker for large brown trout.

Next time you’re away camping at this time of year, go for a walk at night with a good torch, take note of the yabby activity, then do the same walk after one or two of these cold fronts has gone through.

The difference is amazing. The abundance of food that was readily available for these big browns has now gone, which forces the fish to cover more water to find the same food or change tactics altogether to find different food.

All of a sudden those nocturnal behemoths from the depths are catchable – well, almost.

Thompsons Creek Dam, between Wallerawang and Portland, will be brown trout central this month, with Lake Lyell a very close second.

I will be very surprised if there is not a couple of fish caught above the magic 10lb mark. Depending on age and condition, these fish should be pushing 70cm or even longer.

Casting 25mm to 40mm soft plastics in natural colours (browns, greens, olives) on light jig heads is a good option.

Most of the time I tend to let mine get all the way to the bottom before starting a lift-and-wind retrieve, but keep in mind bottom composition and drowned wattle trees, which this will affect how far you let the plastic sink.

Variation in your retrieve depth and speed is not such a bad thing; let the fish tell you what is right.


Fly-fishing will also account for some big fish.

Woolly Bugger variations are hard to go past. These flies don’t look much out of the water but put them in and they come to life.

Presentation will need to be spot-on to sighted fish (not easy when both knees are knocking, and your mate’s yelling instructions at you).

Casting spoons and minnows is very popular; just remember the water in Thompsons Creek Dam is usually very clear so come back a line size or two and extend your leader length if using braid.


It’s been a long time since we have had such a consistent flow of water in our creeks and rivers. Driving to them across waterlogged ground has been an issue, though.

I bet the sales of snatch straps and recovery gear have gone through the roof in the past two seasons. Washouts over a metre deep on some back country fire trails have also caused no end of access issues.

For those of you willing to go that extra mile, the fishing in the creeks and rivers should be at its best.

The Fish River is a popular destination with quite a few public access points in the Tarana/O’Connell area.

The Duckmaloi and Campbells rivers are less accessible and quite overgrown in some areas but do offer some excellent fishing.

It may be a little early for spawning fish on the gravel, especially early in the month, but if some of those cold fronts come through I would be keeping my eyes peeled at the tail-outs of any good pools.

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