Stable conditions coming
  |  First Published: March 2013

Patchy fishing should stabilise this month after a good fresh cleared many local waterways in late January. This was much needed and although the river cod have been firing, the trout and bass waters needed the flow.

The beginning of Autumn generally means a stable barometer, reasonable water temperatures and more consistent river levels. The fish respond and the angling on all fronts usually improves.

Trout have been patchy. What started as one of the better seasons tapered off with increasingly drier conditions. Even where water levels were favourable, extremely hot weather put the brakes on the speckled fish.

For the first time in many seasons I had a couple of blank days with the fly rod. Despite drifting my entire fly box through the rivers, I went home with my tail between my legs.

Fishing late into the evening was successful for a couple of visiting Queensland anglers at the Ebor Common.

Hoppers were plentiful on many creeks during January but the fish were certainly not keen to rise to an imitation.

However, with cooler days and a return to some good mayfly hatches, the fishing should improve.

The Walcha catchment seems to have experienced some low, warm conditions.

For the fly flickers the MacDonald system should start to fire up particularly of an evening. You just got to be there when it does!


The bass seem to have been a bit iffy as well. Most success was below the junction of Georges Creek and the Macleay and I’ve not heard of much action upstream.

Fish tended to be of smaller, mid-30cm class and mostly taken on subsurface offerings.

The cicadas were late kicking off and sparse. Given the dry conditions, that is not surprising and the fish were certainly not looking up.

Now conditions should be cooler and with less fire threat, maybe more fishos will hit the gorge country.


The green fish have been the shining light and reports from the upper streams down into the impoundments suggest that there are plenty on the chew.

Some excellent fish have been taken and numbers are encouraging. However, surface action never really took off and fish were hard to entice up on top.

Large spinnerbaits and hardbodies fished tight against the bank structure have been successful. The late January flush will have improved conditions and a stable barometer should switch on the fish.


Keepit Dam has been the most consistent. From the upper end of the dam there have been some excellent catches of yellowbelly among the trees on fresh shrimps and yabbies. A couple of local lads also did well walking the western bank peppering the shale drop-off with small spinnerbaits.

Copeton Dam has long held a reputation for outsized cold-weather cod but I know plenty, myself included, who haven’t cracked the code. Big lures worked pretty tight to the shoreline are the tip but, like most things, it isn’t always that simple.

When holding water there is plenty of shoreline to explore and trolling the high-percentage pockets is the key. I just haven’t found a treasure map showing where they are!

Split Rock Dam can be a sleeper at this time of year and doesn’t receive the attention it probably should. Most action seems to take place in the main basin and you don’t have to venture far from the ramp by all accounts.

An absolute cracking Gwydir River cod taken by Wade Everett of Armidale during a daylight excursion. Expect more fish of this quality over the coming month.

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