Hit the water
  |  First Published: November 2012

It’s a great time to pack up the gear and get to the water’s edge. With most of the local impoundments full, it’s grass right down to the water’s edge and warmer days and cool nights mean there’s still the opportunity to sit round the fire at day’s end – just make sure you check with local authorities about bushfire danger.

Burrendong, Wyangala and Windamere dams have plenty of camping options available along with cabins for those of us who like our solid four walls and a kitchen sink.

Water clarity could still be a little down at Wyangala and Burrendong but I wouldn’t let that stop me from going.

In fact, if you are there as it clears it can be a real bonus. The fish can go crazy on the lures for a few weeks, having not seen much lure action for a while.

Water clarity can vary at different places around the dams, depending on wind and current. Keep this in mind as you’re moving around.

Colour options for lures in dirty water can vary with fluoros and darker shades best. Rattling lures can help although if you have heard lures underwater with no rattles, they still make quite a racket.

Bait is a great fallback at this time of year, especially if the weather turns nasty. Small yabbies and fresh scrub worms fished off the bank or bobbed in the trees have saved many a trip.


‘Upsize your leader, screw your drag up, keep your casts short and if you get one on, don’t give him an inch. Lean back and hang on, you’re not fishing for yellas now, son.’

They’re words of advice for those chasing Lake Lyell bass holding in tight to drowned black wattle. In fact I know a few fellas who take it one step further and take their expensive Japanese lures off as well, opting for cheaper offerings. They are mean fish.

The fishery is developing, with weather a critical factor. Being at a higher altitude than many lowland bass lakes, the activity levels of the fish can vary greatly.

With a cold easterly system blowing through you would swear blind there were no bass in the lake. But on a humid, stormy afternoon the switch is flicked and it’s game on.

Lake Lyell is not a numbers dam for bass; you have to work for them most times and that’s good – it just adds that little extra spice.


Lure and fly-fishing in the creeks and rivers is going well, with good reports from across the district.

Insect hatches can be an all-day thing if the weather is right at this time of year. Small black spinners and termites hatch in the afternoon and it’s all good.

Be willing to sit back and watch a good pool for quite a while before moving into position for a cast; the bigger fish quite often give themselves away after a while.

An early morning option with the spinning rod is a great way to cover water and canvass the best pools for a fly-fish in the afternoon. Small bladed spinners and a few shallow-diving minnows are all that is needed most times.

Some practice at home with the fly rod as well as with the spinning rod is good homework. Casting accurately is a prerequisite for quality fish because the good lies for fish are always the ones that are hardest to cast to.

The other upside side to practice at home is fewer trips into the blackberries for lure retrieval, and a better bank balance.


It would be remiss of me not to mention the Windy Classic this month, it’s been 20 years this year and a big part of my life for that long.

The comp holds plenty of special memories for me; it will be great to catch up with everyone, catch a few fish, learn something new and generally have a good time.

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