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Soaking up the sun
  |  First Published: October 2014



I may be slightly premature with this headline. I have lived in the district long enough to know that we can still get stung by a cold front from the deep south, but for the most part the tables have turned weather-wise. The fish know it too, especially the natives.

Cod are of course off the agenda until December 1, so golden perch, silver perch, catfish, and bass in the impoundments will become the mainstay for most freshwater anglers. With the opening of the trout season in the rivers on the long weekend in October, the options are almost endless!

WINDAMERE THE MECCA

It’s hard to go past this impoundment in October and November. People travel from far and wide to fish this great impoundment, which is arguably the best golden perch fishery in the country. Bigger fish may get caught from other impoundments but the consistency of 50-60cm Windamere fish is hard to beat.

I have fished the impoundment for over 20 years, mostly in October and November, and know it well, but I still learn something new on nearly every trip. I have been fortunate to fish the dam with some very good visiting anglers from all over the country in their boats, and doing this is a great way to open your eyes to a fishery you thought you knew. Everybody fishes a little differently, everybody works their boat a little differently, and everybody brings a different skill set. If you approach things with an open mind it’s amazing what you can pick up and learn.

As water temperatures rise in Windamere there is an explosion of life. The food chain really kicks into gear from the smallest tidbit to the higher end predators – ourselves included! Boat traffic and fishing pressure have definitely changed the way the dam has fished in the last few years, and a bream angler skill set is definitely an advantage – smaller lures, lighter leaders and so forth. It’s been interesting watching these guys featuring high up in the leader board at the annual Windamere Golden Classic. Guys such as Dave Welfare, Dean Hammonds and other talented anglers are always raising the bar.

TROUT STEAMS

With trout opening this October long weekend it gives everyone the opportunity to walk the steams casting lures, flies and baits. It’s such a great space to be in at this time of year with everything in blossom, the water bubbling around your feet, and birds whistling in the trees. Just be mindful of who you may be sharing your bank and water with! Snakes have also had a long, cold winter and want to enjoy the sun. For the most part they are petty good and will move on, it’s usually when we try to intervene that things get ugly.

Those anglers who are prepared to sit back on a pool before they approach will do best, especially flyfishers. Take in the serenity, the water movement, the insects above and below the water, maybe even a fish rising, and plan an attack and presentation. Make the first cast count because you may not get another chance.

The trout lakes should not be forgotten either. Lake Lyell will produce some good fish before it gets too busy with other water uses. Keep your bass gear handy as well. It can be touch and go with the bass; they’re totally different fish when you hook up. I’ve found that 50-60mm lipless crankbaits and small surface lures on the right afternoon can be deadly. Keep your casts close around the downed black wattle and bush, and don’t say I didn’t tell you!

Thompson’s Creek Dam has been really busy over the winter period. The false spawn rainbow trout will slowly move off the gavel banks and disperse around the dam this month, and brown trout will start to feature more in anglers’ photos. For lurefishers, micro plastics are had to beat in this dam. The water is very clear so 3.5lb leader is the go – or lighter if you dare. Play the fish with this in mind. Fighting curves in fishing poles, micro drag settings and the like need to be taken into account for best results.

I hope to see you on the water soon. Until then, tight lines.

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