Welcome to Cod City
  |  First Published: December 2013

We’re well and truly into cod season now. Water temperatures are climbing and the smaller fish are hot to trot.

The aggressive nature of these small fish in shallow water on the right day is unbelievable – they hit spinnerbaits 3 or 4 times on the one retrieve. You can hook up, then lose the fish only to hook up again.

The key to getting bigger cod can depend a lot on the water you are fishing. One thing’s for sure: they will be on the better structure. Rivers and creek systems such as the Macquarie and the Lachlan can be a little easier to read. Log jams, rocks and boulders, weed with some current close by… get any of these in combination and you have hit the jackpot. Cod love a roof over their head and a bit of depth. They prefer locations where they can rise up and down in the water column without moving too far laterally.

Lakes and dams like Wyangala and Burrendong can be a little harder to read. A quality depth sounder and the ability to interpret it can be a godsend.

Structure above the water can also give a good indication of what is below. A rocky reef line that enters the water is a dead giveaway to something underneath. Use your boat to follow it out and it will shoot back up to a fishable depth – sometimes quite a way out.

Trees are great pieces of structure. Even out in 50ft or 60ft of water, cod love to camp up at a comfortable depth close to a big limb of the main trunk. Think about what a large, drowned gumtree has to offer a cod: the ability to move up and down in the water column and still be tight to structure, the choice of shade or sunlight, food in the form of baitfish, redfin, crucian carp, golden perch, silver perch (depending on the dam, of course).

In the right place, the resident cod can have current as well. Yes, water does move in dams! Wind in one direction for a few days can move plenty of water, and when it stops blowing the water flows back in the other direction. Large drawdowns can pull water from the bottom depths of the dam; water can flow in one direction underneath and the opposite direction up top. Obviously areas where the lake necks in is where you will see the most water movement.

Like most anglers I’m not an expert on lake currents, but one thing I am sure of is that it can position fish. That’s what we’re after – some form of predictability in an uncertain underwater world.


The bass have had a slow start. Lake Lyell is a fickle place to fish for bass, but it’s definitely good when you get one. The storm season seems to coincide with a bit more activity from the fish, especially on the surface lures. You’ll want to get out on the water in the late afternoon and fish into the night. Your fishing session should go something like this: bloop, bloop, bloop… smash. Remember to hang on tight!


The trout fishing in the lakes will tend to be on the slide, especially during daylight hours. Early mornings after a few cold days can see them back up in the shallows, but other than that it’s strictly a night time activity.

Flyfishing the margins into the wee hours has never really been my thing, although I can see why other anglers might like it. It’s nice and quiet, and you have a decent chance of getting a big fish.

Mudeye patterns and beetle patterns will be the mainstay in lakes such as Thompsons Creek Dam, Oberon, and Lake Lyell.

Keep your wits about you here. If the next hook-up charges off but doesn’t jump, it could well be a bass.


The holiday break is a great time to get into the redfin action at Ben Chifley and Carcoar. It’s a great place to take the kids for some bobbing action. The fish are quite often small but it can be action aplenty – just the ticket for introducing the kiddies to such a great lifelong pursuit.

Tight lines, and I hope to see you on the water soon.

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