October is just loaded with fishing options. Trout in declared rivers and streams across the district will be hot to trot with plenty of water over Winter to keep them topped up.
After three good seasons, I expect to see some real wall-hangers to hit the bank this season.
The bigger fish are cunning, though. Most of them have seen a few lures and flies so anglers need a quiet, stealthy approach.
Be prepared to sit and wait; it’s amazing what you see on a pool after 10 or 15 minutes watching and waiting. Plan your approach and make the first cast count.
The Fish River in the Tarana district, the Campbells River out towards Rockley and the Duckmaloi River near Oberon offer great trout fishing. Public access to these rivers is limited; make sure you get permission to cross any private land.
Small bladed spinners work a treat on these rivers. They cast great and are relatively cheap so if you lose the odd one it’s not going to break the bank.
Shallow, slender minnows of 5cm-7cm are also a must. Colours are a personal choice; I have always done well on rainbow or brown trout patterns at this time of year. There are a lot of small trout in the river the bigger trout prey on, so these colours seem to work well.
Fishing the creeks and rivers with dry fly can be a little quiet to start off with and flows and weather can dictate insect activity above the water.
Nymphs can be dynamite: Use a strike indicator to help with hooking fish and change nymph to suit the particular depth you are fishing. Nondescript brown, black and olive are best colours; the correct weight for a good drift is more important.
Weather, especially barometric pressure, can have a big effect on the fishing at Lake Windamere this month. Get it right and it’s game on.
Chances are during October there will be only two or three good systems that come through on the weather map and chances are that like me, you will have your sorry backside at work.
All is not lost; if you can adjust your technique you should still be able to land a few.
If the weather is real nasty, small yabbies and scrub worms cast and bobbed around flooded trees are a good option.
Or you could fish these baits off a gently sloping bank protected from the worst of the wind. There is no need to lob your baits out too far, most fish will be caught in close in 2m-3m of water. Weed will sometimes dictate how far you need to cast.
Soft plastics are still underused by fishers chasing natives. Where they really stand out is early in the season when weather and water are not the best.
Fished slow and close to the bottom, they can be nearly as good as fresh bait.
Bottom composition will dictate where and how you fish.
You need a relatively clean bottom; dragging your plastic through fine slime and slop is a waste of time. Often this slime grows on the bottom only out to 1m or so and some years it is nonexistent.
Change your jig head weight to suit the depth and wind; you need to be able to maintain good contact with the lure and it’s no good having a large belly in the line above the water from the wind. Go with a slightly heavier head weight and maintain good contact.
Keep the plastics down to 55mm-65mm long, colours and brands are the least important part of the equation. Yabby imitations are good early on, then as the water warms small paddletail grubs and shads tend to fish a little better.
Last season was a shocker for the bass in Lake Lyell and lake Wallace, for me any way. We caught a few but it was tough going.
With luck the weather and water will be more stable to allow us to pattern what the fish are doing. It will be nice to get back to the white-knuckle lock-‘em-up, drag-‘em-out episodes of a few seasons back.
The ledger was pretty even by season’s end but we had to upgrade the tackle in the thick stuff.Reads: 1216