Although the middle of Winter is normally associated with trout and redfin fishing and to a small extent Murray cod, it might sound surprising to hear that golden perch can also be on the cards at this time of year.
If Blowering Dam maintains a constant level or is slowly rising then the goldens often push right up into the shallows. These fish are often very hard to tempt because they are mostly sunning themselves but they sometimes come on the bite for a very short period during the middle to later part of the day.
Timing it is very hard but if you want to catch the odd big golden you have to persist. My best advice would be to hit the redfin early until about lunchtime and then target the golden perch for a few hours in the hope they come on the bite at some stage.
Then once the goldens shut down, go back and harass the redfin again. If you’re really keen, as soon as that sun dips over the Snubba Range I’d start to target the Murray cod but you’ll have to dress up snugly.
The redfin don’t get much easier than they do at this time of year. This month these fish form schools of sometimes hundreds and are best targeted vertically with jigs or bait.
A paternoster rig with one hook carrying a fresh worm or small yabby and the other with a 1”-2” soft plastic will enable you to catch fish all day long, often two at a time.
The bonus of this rig is if the bait gets pinched by a small fish or gets fouled up, you still have a chance of hooking a fish on the plastic.
You can add a plastic above your jig of choice as well to increase your chances of double hook-ups.
However, we often have double hook-ups on redfin on just one lure, with a fish on the front treble and another on the back. When the fish are fired up this is common.
Best vertical jigging lures by far are ice jigs but blades and heavily weighted soft plastics will also get the job done.
I use the blades and plastics as searching tools, casting them well away from the boat and hopping them back to below the boat searching for schools, making sure I stay in contact with the bottom throughout the retrieve.
Once I hook up this way I then go over to the spot and drop ice jigs straight down into the school. This is a very effective way of seeking out active schools.
Vibes, particularly the Jackall 19g Mask Vibe are also great searching lures when used the same way.
Although there are far more notable trout dams just up the road, including Tantangara, Talbingo, Eucumbene and Jindabyne, you’d be hard pressed driving past this sensational trout fishery.
Technically Jounama Dam is now a mixed fishery with some thumping golden perch and the odd nice Murray cod now in among the enormous trout population.
Trout in this lake often exceed the magical 10lb and surprisingly it is often the average Joe soaking a worm who ends up catching these monsters.
There is a massive population of 2kg-4kg fish bracket that keep anglers coming back again and again.
One of the best techniques at this time of year is to use big juicy wood grubs, which the trout find hard to resist. PowerBait also works well and is a great alternative if you can’t get your hands on fresh bait.
Winter trout can be pretty aggressive and you can take advantage of that by casting fish imitation lures. I like 5cm-7cm sinking hardbodies, blades, vibes, lipless crankbaits and soft plastics.
All have their days and work best in certain spots. For example the blades and vibes are too heavy for working the shallows but are great when hopped back to the bank from deeper water.
Sinking hardbodies generally sink very slowly so aren’t much good out in the really deep water but they work extremely well when slowly retrieved around the shallow margins.
MURRAY CRAYS OFF LIMITS
I have been getting a lot of inquires from anglers wanting to know if the Murray crays are targetable again at Blowering Dam.
I have spoken with local NSW DPI Fisheries officers who inform me that the Murray crays are off limits at Blowering Dam indefinitely.
This means you cannot fish for Murray crays at all and any offenders will be prosecuted.
The last time NSW DPI reopened the lake to crayfishing in 2006, Fisheries officers observed only 8 crays for over 200 nets, proving that the species needed much longer to recover from the low water levels during the drought.
The plan was to reopen in 2012 but this decision has been changed and unfortunately we may never see craying being permitted at Blowering again.
I will stay in touch with Fisheries on this and keep you informed.