A repeat performance
  |  First Published: February 2013

Looking back over my reports last year, it is quite apparent that in most years the trends continue.

There are plenty of reasons to start and maintain a fishing diary of all your outings. Documenting even fishless trips may eventually reveal patterns which can help you catch fish, or avoid futile trips.

Last February catfish were prevalent at Copeton Dam and reports indicate it will be the same this year.

Warm water and slight rises in the inflows have left plenty of flats for these bottom huggers. Over the holidays the shores of most local impoundments were a sea of tents and the bank fishers were out in force.

At such busy times it is often a good idea to seek out the quieter water. Secluded bays and features that take a little effort to reach on foot or in a boat often fish more productively.

Boat traffic in the ski basins also tends to make a pleasant fishing outing much noisier and less relaxing. Make the effort to head away from the crowds.


There have been plenty of reports of good numbers of cod in the western rivers.

The lower Gwydir and Namoi rivers are fishing very well, generally in the willow lined flat-water sections.

‘As the popularity of canoe fishing grows, more anglers are targeting areas that previously were under-explored. Working spinnerbaits hard into structure is a popular technique which continues to produce the goods.

Keepit Dam is also fishing well with good catches of yellowbelly amid the timber on the old river course. The upper end of the dam is probably the better bet, with jigged yabby baits consistent producers.

Also consider trolling medium hardbodies slightly wide of the grassy flats. Opportunistic goldens work these areas and if you cover enough water you should hit a school.

Given the current clarity of the impoundments, try lures in brighter colours, with yellow and black a favourite.

Split Rock and Chaffey dams have been a little quiet although I’ve heard that the carp are still copping a bit from the fly boys at Chaffey. The warmer temperature should keep these fish on the go and they are popular targets for kids.


Down in the gorges there have been a few nice bass.

Most are coming from the middle reaches of the Macleay between the Bass Lodge and Kunderang.

This is terrific canoeing country and the fish are responding to the late cicada hatches.

I guess the hot weather has kept the walkers out of the gorges, as I’ve not heard of any reports from the rough stuff.


The trout have slowed down a little. Although stream heights are in pretty good condition the fish have gone to ground.

As the weather cools over the next couple of months I expect things to pick up.

At present, look towards the bigger, weedy pools along the MacDonald River down towards Walcha. These holes generally fish best when the sun is up.

Use slightly larger lures than normal in pink and purple, the bigger fish love them.

Fly flickers should expect to raise fish on hopper patterns fished hard against the bank. Alternatively, have a midday siesta and hit the streams at dusk.

Expect a mayfly hatches, particularly if the easterly thunderheads build up. On the glassy pools, extend your tippet length and ensure you are getting little drag at the business end.

Ebor always produces throughout the season but it, too, has slowed. I recently took my nephew out for a day on the speckled fish at one of my favoured gorge streams but despite my best and varied efforts we couldn’t even spook a fish, let alone bank one.

The water levels were good although the strong easterly freshened all day. Still, it was a frustrating exercise so I’m heading out again tomorrow to give them another go.

That’s fishing. It takes persistence, luck and a little lateral thinking to keep successful. Of course you also need to keep hitting the water and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing this month.

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