Everything feels the head
  |  First Published: February 2013

February is generally when the water is at its warmest, which can concentrate introduced species such as trout and redfin into deeper water.

The main basins of dams such as Lake Lyell are close to 30m deep when full.

As the water warms, the trout pull back to these deeper areas to find colder, more oxygenated water.

Boat anglers with quality sounders have an advantage when it comes to this style of fishing. The boat and the sounder allow anglers to concentrate their efforts where the fish are, rather than where they might be.

Before you get too excited about pulling numbers of big trout over the side on your next trip to Lake Lyell I must warn you, seeing these fish on the sounder and actually catching them are two different things. They can be tough.

Boat traffic can also be an issue. On warmer days over a weekend, it can be like fishing in a washing machine. It doesn’t seem to worry the trout too much but I think midweek early morning sessions are the go.

A number of techniques can work on these deep fish, from jigging metal blades and spoons to downrigging, casting and drifting with heavy plastics.

If I had to stick my neck out and pick an option that was most consistent I would have to say downrigging or deep fly with full-sink fly line would be the ones.

I haven’t done a lot of downrigging but the guys that do are well set-up and educated and the results speak for themselves.

Deep fly with full-sink fly lines is not that hard, in fact most of the fish will hit while the fly is deep and you are drifting about.

Controlling your drift with a drogue or an electric motor is very important; drift too quickly and the fly planes upwards and away from the fish.

Fly patterns can vary but large wets that don’t have bulky materials in their make-up, yet still offer a big profile (such as a Matuka) can be a good start.


Cod and bass also feel the heat in February and in the middle parts of the day they search for deeper water.

As light levels drop, though, they move about in shallow water to feed.

Early-morning fishing for cod and bass is great at this time of year. The surface water has had time to cool off a little and it’s a real mop-up period for the fish as they clean up what has fallen in the water overnight.

Cicadas are pretty popular on the menu. Needless to say, matching the hatch can be important.

Cod feed on much larger critters, though, so keep this in mind.

It’s funny watching the water dragons at this time of year down on the Macquarie River when the cod are very active.

Normally they have no qualms about hitting the water but now they seem to take that little bit of extra time to get in, and when they do it’s a race to the other side. They know for sure when the water is warm it’s time to put the afterburners on.


Redfin can be a popular over the Summer with good numbers of fish available. Most are small, especially during the day.

If it’s bigger fish you are after then target between sundown and dark, or the period just before sunup. It’s a small bite window but well worth the effort if you are after a feed.

Weedy points with deep water close by are good spots. Casting small deep divers and rattlers or trolling the same deep divers off the edges of the weed beds can be productive for the bigger fish.

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