As the days become a little shorter and the temperature starts to drop, the fishing conditions in the Tamworth region become a lot more bearable, with anglers able to put in more time on the water and get rewarded for their efforts.
April is traditionally a month were fish start becoming more aggressive and look to put on that extra condition leading up to the winter chills, the water in that dams is still very warm and fish activity should remain high so I expect to see some better than average fish making their presence shown.
Lake Keepit has been a hotspot over the last few months, with great reports coming in from afar. Baits of small yabbies and shrimp have been putting punters in with a better than average chance at landing a golden perch or 2. The second inlet from the yacht club and the trees in the main basin are the pick of the spots.
For those wanting to troll around the dam, the shallower margins will produce some fantastic yellowbelly as they search the weed margins for an easy meal. Where there is one their friends are usually not too far behind.
Finding Murray cod in the dam will take a little more effort as they hold deep in the water column in slightly cooler temperatures. Water from 25ft to 30ft is a good starting point, having a good depth sounder can make the world of difference in finding deeper snags and drop-offs and parts of the original river bed.
Chaffey Dam is a great fishery through April as its expansive weed beds will hold good numbers of golden and silver perch. At this time last year anglers fishing the rocky points were catching large numbers of these beautiful sportfish. When you’ve located a school of fish, work plastics or a soft vibe like a Jackall Mask along the bottom for the best results.
The ever-present European carp in the dam will still be the curse of bait anglers but they fight hard and will keep you on your toes on light tackle. Don’t be surprised if one of these opportunistic feeders grabs your lure either; with the water levels dropping each week they seem to be more competitive for food and will take many different presentations. The key is to pause about a meter in front of them, and then hang on!
The Peel and Namoi rivers are still fishing well. My friend Trevor Hooper managed to land a cracking 105cm Murray cod on a Legohead surface lure in the early hours of the morning, so even though the river isn’t flowing there isstill some great fishing to be had. The key to finding a few fish will be to look for the deeper sections of river, so sometimes a long walk is required. As they say, you reap what you sow.
Because the fish are more aggressive it can pay to upsize your lures leading into autumn, with lures around 80mm or bigger. Golden perch will often hit bigger offerings intended for their larger bucket-mouthed companions.
With the cooler weather I expect the trout fishing around the region to pick up. Rivers like the MacDonald and Dungowan Creek will hold a few rainbows, but finding some fishable water may take some time and effort. Taking the time to search Google Earth or a decent topographical map will pay dividends. The Nundle Forest area is a beautiful place to start.
Small soft plastics like the 1” nymphs or grubs will draw a lot of interest, as will small spinners like the size 3 Celtas or Mepps Thunder Bugs. When it comes to blades, I prefer the TT lures 1/8oz in black/red or pink. A steady retrieve will normally entice a strike. Remember that a light leader of 3-6lb will be plenty.
Good luck this month and I hope to see you about on a river somewhere.Reads: 626