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The whole dam thing to yourself
  |  First Published: June 2007



This would have to be one of my favourite times of the year to fish Blowering Dam. The Summer crowds are well and truly gone so getting a bit of water to yourself is quite easy and the fishing during Winter can be awesome.

The surrounding native bush and pine plantations reflect on the water like it’s a sheet of glass most Winter days, making for some spectacular views. But the weather can change very quickly up in the hills and a beautiful, glassed-out day can turn to howling winds, rain, snow and whitecaps in just a couple of hours so always prepare for the worst of conditions by taking a jacket, gloves, beanie, thermals if you can get them, and wet-weather gear.

Most fish species can be targeted with success during the cooler months but golden perch are probably the hardest to get in any sort of numbers. With big Murray cod on the bite, Murray crayfish season in full swing, cricket scores of redfin to be caught and trout starting to really fire, I’m sure the yella fishing can wait another couple of months.

MURRAY CRAYS

When it comes to chasing crays, I’ve noticed that most people are doing the right thing and understand the rules and regulations. But it never ceases to amaze me how many people have either no idea (thinking they can catch crays without a fishing licence) or have strange ideas – like you can scrape the eggs off females. Both of these practices are definitely illegal but with people not clearly understanding the rules, here they are.

The bag limit is five per day, 10 in possession, with only one greater than 12cm in carapace length (from the eye socket back to where the tail meets the head/ body section). The minimum size limit is 9cm. It’s important to note that Murray crayfish are extremely slow-growing, taking up to seven years to reach legal size and a large specimen may even be over 60 years old.

It is illegal to remove claws and tails from crayfish in, on or adjacent to waters or to keep crayfish with eggs or to remove those eggs from females. Crayfish can be taken only by the use of a hoop, lift or drop net or by fishing line.

Hoop nets must be marked with your name and address and are limited to five per angler. Best baits to use for crayfish include cat food, bull liver, sheep heads, liver, hearts, redfin or carp fillets.

The cray season started on May 1and runs until the end of August so it doesn’t give you long to get out there and get them.

BIG COD

Cod fishing can be a little slow at times during Winter but the cooler months seem to bring the really big boys and girls out to play. The best way to target these fish is to troll with big to really big deep-divers. Most models will work but they must be moved slowly, touching the bottom and the odd snag occasionally.

Best places to target these guys are around drop-offs, points and up on the flats.

Jigging for redfin in 12m to 18m with ice jigs, Gulps or lipless rattlers is an almost guaranteed way of getting a feed during the cooler months. If you prefer to use bait, yabbies, worms and grubs on paternoster rigs will also just about guarantee you a few fish. Most of the reddies encountered out in the deep are of excellent size and 1.4kg fish are fairly common.

The trout season might be about to end in the creeks and rivers (the end of June long weekend) but it’s only just beginning at Blowering Dam.

Most of the techniques used on the river trout will also work on the lake, like casting Tassies, Celtas, Rooster Tails, Rapala and plastics from the bank or your boat.

Flies like Mrs Simpsons and Woolly Buggers with trailing nymphs will also get the generally larger lake trout. The shallower banks and bays are your best fly and lure spots but walk and move slowly because these fish can sometimes feed right at the bank and they are easily spooked. A softly-softly approach is very important.

Some really good trout have been caught in the Tumut River lately with even the odd trophy fish over the magic 10lb mark as well as plenty around a kilo or more. Wood grubs have been the pick of the baits and olive and brown nymphs have been the most consistent flies.

The Murrumbidgee has been tough lately but fish are still there. Casting spinner baits and Chatterbaits is by far the best technique for the natives.

Yellas around 1.5kg are fairly common at the moment, so they are definitely worth targeting. Some nice Murray cod to 80cm have also been caught and the biggest trout cod caught recently was 595mm,taken on a white Bassman spinnerbait.

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