Lowering levels doesn't mean less catches.
  |  First Published: January 2015

Falling water levels in our impoundments have become the norm during the summer months all over Australia, and is normally associated with shutdown fishing. This is certainly not the case at Blowering Dam though, where plenty of fish are still being landed.

As the dam level slowly drops, the resident yabbies and crayfish no longer have freshly flooded weed beds and grass flats to hide in, and must keep on relocating to remain undetected under the changing conditions. The fish are clued into this and take advantage of the easy pickings.

It goes without saying that anything that resembles these tasty morsels will give you a good chance of putting a bend in your rod. Baitos can’t go wrong using a yabby on a paternoster rig that will hold the bait up in the fish’s face while you have a lure fish, cook some dinner or whatever it is that is stopping you from hand-holding the rod. Fishing yabbies like this works fine, but the best way to fish one is ‘actively’, like you would with a soft plastic or a blade.

Basically, just rig your yabby on a hook (or a jighead if extra weight is needed), cast it out into a likely looking area, allow it to sink to the bottom, and then lift it 50-100cm off the bottom and allow it to sink back down again. You will be surprised at how many more fish will be caught by using a yabby actively like this. Most Murray cod, redfin, and especially golden perch prefer a moving bait, so to increase your chances next time, actively fish that bait.

Big yabbies fished off the bank will give you a very good chance of hooking a decent Murray cod or golden perch, and small yabbies used either from the bank or from a boat near timber, points or dropoffs should see you amongst the redfin.

Redfin can also be targeted with lures, either by casting or jigging with ice jigs, blades, spoons, plastics, vibes or rattlers. If you’re not into casting or jigging, trolling will also account for plenty of fish. The best lures to use when targeting redfin are the AC Slim Invaders, but any hardbody less than 60mm in length will give you a good chance.

When targeting redfin this way, you will get even better results when a small 1-2” soft plastic is added to the line about 1m or so above the lure. This setup really stirs the redfin’s competitive nature and can be the difference between fish and no fish on really tough days.

Big Murray cod and golden perch are worth targeting with lures this month also, as most fish are actively seeking out the relocating yabbies. Skirted jigs or soft plastics that have a yabby-like appearance or action are probably the best bet this month. Just remember to use these lures very slowly, with lots of pauses, keeping in contact with the bottom almost all the time. You would be very lucky to catch a single fish with these lures if you simply retrieved the lure through mid-water. If you haven’t got the patience for this style of fishing, straight cast and retrieving with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits or my new Angel Baits will produce action at some stage.

Trolling with big hardbody lures in the 90-180mm range are ideal for targeting Murray cod in those snaggy trolling runs, as these lures are very buoyant, which makes them ride over even the nastiest of snags with ease. When these lures are trolled with rod in hand, you can feel the snags quite easily and can feed slack line out when needed or lift the rod to ride the lure over snags. You will find they very rarely snag up when used this way.

Golden perch are worth targeting on the troll this month as well, but while you will still catch the odd golden on the above-mentioned lures, slightly smaller ones are needed for best success. I would have to say that my all-time favourite trolling lures for golden perch are lipless crankbaits. These are under-utilised as a trolling lure, and most people don’t even realise they can even be trolled, but they do work unbelievably well on golden perch and almost every species of freshwater fish that swims, including Murray cod.

The new Insanity Tackle Slap Walkers are probably the best lipless crankbaits, as they have three tow points meaning you can adjust trolling depth by simply changing holes.

Even though the new boat ramp at the Pines area of Blowering Dam has taken a lot of pressure off the ramp at Log Bridge, it has still seen a lot of traffic this summer, with fishos, skiers and other water users also using it. These summer crowds are to be expected, and on the whole a very good thing for the district, but unfortunately it also draws out a lot of lazy and inconsiderate boaters.

The constant wave action created by water skiers and the like is something we all have to get used to in the summer months. Rude fishos that come cruising over to fish right beside you in the bay you’ve just pulled a nice fish from can also be tolerated ‘at times’, but it’s the lazy, inconsiderate jerks who park their cars and trailers right at the bottom of the ramp in everyone’s way that raises the blood pressure.

These fools really make my blood boil, especially when the next 20 people have followed suit, leaving no swing around room and making for a long reverse from 500 metres or more at times. There are no signs up for those people without any common sense, so it comes back to the individual to understand that sufficient swing room should be left at the bottom of every boat ramp. Think before you park, and then everyone can enjoy their day out on the water.

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