Cracking creek action
  |  First Published: December 2013

The middle of summer can be a challenging time on the water. For starters, the heat in the middle of the day can be unbearable at times, not just for anglers but for the fish. And because so many people are on holidays at this time of the year, the number of anglers on the water is about as high as it gets.

The small creeks are great in January because the trout are very active and are very willing to hit stuff off the top. In any case, most major lakes will be getting hammered by fishos and skiers, and the major rivers can be very busy during the summer holidays as well. If fishing a river I try to get to some private property or head way up or downstream of any reserves or major access points. By doing the hard yards and putting in that extra bit of time, it is still possible to get some great water to yourself at this time of the year.

Blowering dam

Blowering is very popular over the holiday period, and there can be thousands of water users on and around the lake. This can make fishing a bit difficult at times, with waterskiers and fishos whizzing past almost constantly, but if you look hard enough you should be able to find a bank or bay that isn’t too busy. It is in these areas that the best fishing is to be had.

Quite often during January the natives can become very hard to catch due to the amount of boat and fishing activity. However, like I said, if you can find an area that isn’t getting too much boat activity the fishing can still be good. Alternatively, leave your fishing until after dark when the fish become more at ease and the temperature is much more comfortable for anglers as well.

Redfin should be your target fish during the day as these guys don’t let a bit of boat traffic affect their feeding. Jigging is always good at Blowering Dam – simply find a school by sounding or trolling, then hook into them with some jigs, blades or soft plastics.

Trolling for redfin can be sensational during January. Schools will be spread out but once you find them you could end up with multiple hook-ups. When you find a patch I’d suggest pulling up and casting lures like lipless crankbaits or blades. If you’re not into casting, simply turn back around and troll back through the school, then continue to do this until the fish stop biting.

Small hardbodies, lipless crankbaits and blades are your best lures to troll. That’s right, I just said blades! These lures are typically known to be casting lures, but so too were lipless crankbaits and they are now one of the most successful trolling lures you can use. Next time you’re out, chuck a little blade on the end of your trolling rod and have fun hooking into redfin all day long with the odd golden perch and trout bycatch.

Trout lakes

The trout lakes up top like Tantangra and Eucumbene will certainly be worth a visit this month. There will be far fewer anglers to contend with up there and the trout fishing can be sensational, particularly at sunset and after dark.

Trolling and casting lures in the middle of the day can yield a few fish, but concentrating your efforts on the last hour and a half of daylight and through the night will increase your catch rate tenfold.

Bait anglers will have to wait until late afternoon to get some fish as well, because most trout will not feed in the middle of a hot day. You can still get the odd one to strike a lure out of aggression during the day, but if the fish isn’t hungry or doesn’t feel like eating, it won’t hit your bait. For this reason, if you fish during the middle of the day you are far better off casting lures to try to get a reaction strike from the trout.

The best lures I find up here are soft plastics, particularly the Ecogear Grass Minnows. Any natural colour is good, but the best colour in my experience is easily the rainbow trout imitation. Other great casting lures up here are the Jackall TN50s and Mask Vibes, the Balista Juggernauts, Rapala CD5s and CD7s, Balista Triggers, IMA Sukaris and blades.

I like to use conventional blades up here but I also do quite well on the Ecogear ZX range. The ZX blades, which look very different from a traditional blade, are designed to imitate a shrimp or yabby. They have long feelers and swinging hooks off the back which makes them look very much like the real thing. Given that a lot of the big brown trout in these lakes are predominately crustacean eaters, it makes sense to use a lure that imitates one of their main food sources.

Trout streams

As I said earlier, the trout stream fishing can be sensational at this time of the year. There are so many creeks around the area that are worth exploring with a light rod, including Nimbo, Stinking, Gilmore, Adelong, Yaven, Tumbarumba, Mannus, Jounama and Buddong creeks. Paddys River and the top end of the Eucumbene and Murrumbidgee rivers can also offer some sensational dry fly action at this time of the year

That gives you a heap of fishing options to choose from, so slap on a heap of sunscreen and insect repellent and go get amongst them.

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