Traditionally August can be a little windy to say the least. Winter at lower altitudes is starting to loosen its grip, but not up here at 900-1200m. Winter always lingers on so come prepared. It takes me about 10 minutes to get to Thompson Creek Dam, a climb with a gain in altitude of 150/200m, and the temperature difference on some days can be incredible.
With the rigours of spawning done and dusted, Lake Lyell browns are focused on food and plenty of it. During spawning time they eat very little and lose quite a bit of condition, but they make up for it big time in August. The hungry fish throw caution to the wind, and feed in places and at times not seen at any other time of year.
Water temperatures in the shallows are still quite cold. Oxygen levels are high from wave action, and food is still hard to find. The fish seem to move about quite a bit at this time of year searching for something to eat. August rains can wash a lot of little tidbits into the water, and worms are a favourite. Any small gullies with water flowing in should be investigated thoroughly. If you’re land based, be prepared to sit and wait from a high point. If you’re blind casting, do it from a crouched position.
When it comes to bait, the real thing is hard to beat. A bunch of worms unweighted or lightly weighted lobbed out in front of a fish can be like feeding fresh meat to the lions. If you’re blind casting, leave the bait on the bottom for a bit then slowly work it back with small hops and lifts. Remember that you are fishing in only 2m of water or less. Jighead-rigged small soft plastic ribbon tail worms are the go, and the added advantage with these is that you will cover a bit more water.
Boat-based anglers will catch their fair of fish, with both flat line trolling and casting. I would lean towards casting lures over the flats and points, searching for moving, feeding fish. Keep your lures close to the bottom, hopping vibes or lipless crankbaits and the like. Soft plastics will also catch their fair share of fish in this situation. Remember to match the weight of the head to the conditions you encounter, as maintaining contact with the plastic is important.
Thompson Creek Dam (TCD) is a land-based option only but has a good number of brown trout available. Mud flats, small gullies and weed edges are the spots to be looking for. Make long casts on the mud flats, keeping contact with the bottom from time to time. It’s quite a bit like fishing plastics for flathead down on the coast.
For the small gullies and weed edges, casting needs to be a little more directed. Try a few different angles and keep your eyes peeled. TCD water is very clear so quite often you can see them coming; the flipside is that they get a pretty good view of what’s happening as well. Downsize everything, dress to blend in and break up your outline. Low light conditions and poor weather will also help.
We have the advantage of being able to pick a number of different dams that have both species in them – Burrendong, Ben Chifley and Carcoar. You can divide your day up to include redfin sessions early and late and concentrate on a cod during the middle part of the day when light penetration and warmth are greatest.
I’ll admit that the cod part of the deal is hit and miss. With the season about to close you are targeting fish that are aggressive and in a pre-spawn mode. When fish are in this type of mood and you get the right day, anything is possible. Trolling allows you to cover more water at the right depth, but if I was to see some good structure on the sounder I would pull up and cover it with a few casts.
Redfin schools can be found out on the flats. With the sounder technology available to us today it is possible to target bigger fish, so keep this in mind. Bigger fish are generally found in loose groups of half a dozen or so, or on their own. If you have no luck with these fish, run the bank casting as you go, targeting weed edges, rocky banks and the like. Beetlespins are hard to beat around the ribbon weed in Ben Chifley, with lipless cranks and soft vibes getting the nod at Carcoar and Burrendong.
The added bonus with this style of fishing is you may just run into some early season golden perch.
I hope to see you on the water soon. Until then, tight lines.Reads: 678