First, find the baitfish
  |  First Published: December 2006

January is all about warm water and feeding fish. Deeper trout lakes such as Lake Lyell, and Thompsons Creek Dam will have definite thermoclines down around10m and brown and rainbow trout will be holding at this level, along with thousands of baitfish.

Without good rain Lake Lyell could still be out of bounds for boats, which would limit deep-water options. If walking the banks is our only method, I would be looking for the steepest shoreline available, especially during the warmer parts of the day.

Casting a long way and counting down your sinking offering, be it a spoon, soft plastic or weighted fly, should be very effective. Just remember to take note of the countdown number if you get a fish and repeat it – chances are there will be more fish about at this depth.

Recently there has been some good weed growth up in the backwaters of Thompsons Creek Dam and if the water remains stable these weed beds could be a really good option late in the afternoon or, better still, the early morning. Flyfishing these weed beds with a sink-tip line and a small, nondescript nymph could be very successful.


Wyangala, Windamere, and the ‘Big B’, Burrendong, should all fish reasonably well for golden perch. Baitfish schools again will be the key to finding the fish.

Points with structure such as horizontal timber or groups of boulders or standing timber that are at the same depth as the collected baitfish you are seeing on your sounder will definitely hold golden perch. It may even pay to work out a little wider as well, especially if you see arches on the sounder holding at the same depth as the baitfish.

The next big cod caught trolling 20m to 30m away from the bank in 6m to 7m in Wyangala won’t be the first or the last.

Windamere’s algae problems could end up closing the dam by January but let’s hope not. This lake’s standing timber will be the place to fish this month and baitfish again will be the key.

Fishing straight under the boat with baits and soft plastics will be hard to beat. It’s pretty much a no-brainer, just lower your offering down into and under the crowns of the drowned trees and hang on. OK, it may not be that easy but it just seems that way when you find the right tree.

So how do you know it’s the right tree? There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to this but I do find those trees on their own a little distance away from the drowned forest seem to be a little more consistent.

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