Season of change
  |  First Published: April 2013

There is a significant change in the seasons and our daily activities.

Despite big fuel loads in the landscape, the risk of fire has diminished, to great sighs of relief, and we can get on with things other than fire-fighting.

We are still getting warm and sunny days but the nights are cool and there will be some frosts in the higher country. It's not quite Winter but not quite Summer.

The fish show quite contrasting reactions. Trout love it but native fish get a little quieter; redfin still bite like crazy and carp just go on being pests, stealing baits and lures with impunity.

In the mountain lakes, trout went deep during the hotter part of Summer and at one stage were 10m-17m down. They could be reached only with downrigger or lead-core line during the day and most of the big catches were made at night, when the fish came into the shallows to feed.

That picture has changed, as the temperature and light intensity drop and the fish feel much more comfortable in the upper layers of water. Downriggers or lead-core are still useful in the middle of the day but for the rest of the time the fish are easily reachable with flatlines, or with lures, bait or fly from the bank.

Trollers should find fish with a wide variety of lures, including spoons, Flatfish, hard-bodied minnows to about 13cm, blades, bibless minnows and especially Tasmanian Devils.

With well over 100 patterns to choose from, the Tassie Devil provides a great choice. The trick is to pick out about 10 patterns and give them about 20 minutes each.

Pay particular attention to the most recent releases of Tasmanian Devils – trout sometimes go crazy over a lure they have never or only rarely seen before.


This is a great fly-fishing month. There are plenty of insects active to keep the fish interested and we should see ongoing hatches of mayflies, caddis and midges, with falls of flying ants and plenty of moths, beetles and grasshoppers.

Fishing could suddenly come good at any time of the day but will be most reliable late afternoon and at night. Fish dry or wet during the day but at night shift to big wets such as Mrs Simpson, Hamill’s Killer, Craigs Nighttime, Taihape Tickler and Woolly Worms and Woolly Buggers.

Bait anglers are spoiled for choice these days. They can expect good results with scrub worms or perhaps tiger worms, small local yabbies, mudeyes and bardi grubs.

In the artificial baits they have a choice of offerings from Juro, Rapala, Gulp and PowerBait, all of which catch fish.

Most anglers experiment until they find the product of their choice but to date Lime Twist PowerBait and Gulp Chunky Cheese are clear favourites. No doubt others will emerge with more widespread usage and experimentation.


Stream fishing also revives at this time of year – if we have sufficient rain. Where there is enough water the trout feed in the open much more than they did during the Summer and provide some good fly and lure fishing.

Lure anglers could do well with Imp spoons, spinning-blade lures, small hard-bodied minnows and vibrating blades.

Fly-fishers can have a lot of fun with small dries such as Elk Hair Caddis, Iron Blue Dun, Greenwell’s Glory, Coch-y-Bondhu, Red Tag and Royal Coachman and wets including red and black Matukas, brown nymphs, stick caddis and stonefly nymphs.

It's a great time of the year to get back to purist fly-fishing in its classic manner.

Expect also to see the first of the browns moving into the streams from the lakes, in the early stages of their pre-pawning run. Watch for larger than normal fish that suddenly snatch a fly and tear off upstream or downstream in a sizzling run.


Native fish slow a bit at this time, being a bit fussier than normal over what bait, lure or fly they will accept, but they still provide a great challenge.

Bait fishers usually hunt Murray cod and golden perch with scrub worms, tiger worms, bardi grubs, yabbies or shrimps, all of which are readily available now.

There is an immense range of lures to choose from with hundreds of deep-divers, bibless minnows, spoons, flatfish and large spinners. Spinnerbaits also have accounted for some great fish.

Night fishing for cod with big splashy, noisy surface lures has become popular in recent times, especially among anglers who cannot get away on fishing trips during the day because of work or family commitments. It has been very successful mostly on the local urban lakes and should become even more effective as we learn the patterns to use and all of the other tricks of the trade.

Fly-fishing for cod also has taken off in a big way. It is the ‘new’ sport, again mostly in the local lakes, and some excellent fish have been taken.

Most of the large flies have been provided by Victorian cod fly expert Ross Virti, whose weird and wonderful Kaos creations have caused great mirth in fly circles, but they do work and are well worth a try.

Ross recently visited Canberra to present a cod-on-fly seminar which no doubt will stimulate a lot of new anglers.


Local anglers have started a new fishing league, known as the Canberra Native Cup 2013, in which participants fish for three hours on each of eight consecutive Thursday nights in Lake Ginninderra for Murray cod and golden perch, scoring points for fish caught and released.

Forty-three anglers have just fished the first session, landing 15 golden perch, two small cod and loads of redfin. It was a great result, a lot of fun and we look forward to the league expanding.

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