Dressed for success
  |  First Published: July 2014

Now that winter is in full swing the local redfin populations at Blowering and Burrinjuck dams will start trying to spawn. Now is easily the best time of the year to try to catch not only great numbers of redfin but also the big trophy sized models.

The majority of fish are still feeding but they are also being competitive with each other for the best positions beside the biggest and healthiest females. This is good news for anglers as you don’t have to find structure now to find these fish, you just need to find a female and where there is a female there’s sure to be 50 or more males in very close proximity. Almost all lures dropped in front of these fish will get eaten either out of hunger or aggression, as they attempt to keep the opposition away or eat it if possible.

Jigging is easily the best way to take advantage of these schooled redfin but it is possible to reach these deep holding fish from the bank also. If you are bank bound, the best place to fish is around any steep points or large drop-offs. Bait off these points will do the job but the best results will come from repeat casting with soft plastics rigged on fairly heavy jigheads between 1/4oz and 5/8oz. Alternatively you can try spinners, lipless crankbaits, vibes or blades.

If you have a boat you can find schools with a good sounder or by trolling small extra deep diving lures. Once you’ve located a school, the best way to get big numbers is by jigging with ice jigs, soft plastics, blades or lipless crankbaits. On a good day jigging in the right areas it’s not uncommon to catch well over a hundred fish.

Jounama dam

This smallish dam is normally renowned for sensational trophy-sized trout and redfin fishing, but over the last couple of seasons the native numbers have picked up so much that they are now a viable target themselves.

Golden perch to well over 5kg and 60cm in length are now thriving in this lake, as are the stocked Murray cod. On a recent trip there I actually targeted Murray cod and was lucky enough to land six of them, one of which measured 92cm. It just goes to show that this lake has the potential to be a trophy golden perch and Murray cod fishery as well as a trophy trout and redfin lake.

Lake trout

With the trout season now closed on the creeks and rivers, anglers wanting a trout fix will have to hit the lakes. This is not a bad thing as winter is probably the best time of the year to target them in the lakes anyway. The majority of brown trout will be back from the annual spawning run and they will be very hungry and keen to hit anything that swims to close to them.

Bait anglers should be able to pick up fish on worms, grubs or Powerbait and there is no need to cast too far. Most hungry fish will be patrolling the shallows for food so remember this and keep your bait close to the edges and you should hook a heap of fish.

Lure anglers will also do very well this month. Small hardbodies under 5cm long will be your best bet, but bright spinners, soft plastics and blades will also account for plenty of fish this month.

Fly anglers will find it hard to beat stripping wet flies like Mrs Simpsons, Woolly Buggers, Hamills Killers, Tom Jones or any other generalist wet fly. It also pays to have a small nymph trailing for those more finicky fish. Start with a slow figure-of-eight retrieve, and if this doesn’t work you should really get those flies working with some fairly quick strips to get those fish excited and keen to chase your flies down. Flyfishing this way generates some smashing strikes and is great fun when fishing light gear.

The best lakes to hit this month for your trout fix are Jounama Dam, Tantangra Dam, Talbingo Dam, 3 Mile Dam, Paddys River Dam and Eucumbene Dam. No matter which lake you decide to hit this month it will be very cold, so rug up before you go and take a spare set of clothes just in case. If you are dressed appropriately you don’t really feel the cold and can enjoy your day’s fishing, but if you aren’t warm enough it can make for a very long day on the water! At this time of the year it definitely pays to overdress rather then underdress.

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