March can be a difficult month to fish in our waters around Tamworth, not because of the lack of activity, but the abundance of species on the move feeding up heavily before the winter chills slows the natives down for winter. Last month saw a good amount of rain bring some much needed flow back into the rivers, and a steady top-up to our picturesque dams that are still desperate for a well-deserved deluge.
If you’re fishing in the Tamworth region this month, pay close attention to water clarity, as in many places fishing natural baits of shrimp, worms or grubs might see you in with a better chance of landing a few golden perch or a Murray cod. Lure fishing may require a different approach; if the water is heavily stained, for golden perch a small dark coloured hardbody, vibe or spinnerbait will be hard to beat. Opt for the rattling versions with the best vibration, as the murky water will make it harder for a fish to find your offering. Murray cod are still regular catches, so focus your efforts in the low light periods for best results.
In the shallow, clearer sections of our rivers, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. My current favourites are soft plastics and lures that are a little outside the square, so try something different and you may well end up with a new favourite and another tackle box full of goodies!
The Peel should continue to be the better of the 2 rivers this month. The rains mean the Naomi River running fast in many areas, and a little difficult to fish in the upper reaches. The Peel has more typical slow moving pools, which has seen many anglers landing some solid specimens, with cod in the 80-90cm bracket making themselves known.
A kayak is a great way of finding new spots, and with dozens of access points around the region, you would be hard pressed not to find your own piece of solitude on the water. One thing worth noting though, is if on your travels you pass fellow anglers along the bank, be courteous and give them a wide berth — not only will they appreciate it, but it’s just good manners.
Chaffey Dam has really started to turn it on in recent weeks and I hope this continues through March. Anglers from both the bank and boat have caught good numbers of golden perch; targeting points and shallow weed-lined banks are the gun techniques. Silver perch are still being taken on baits of worm, but getting past those unwelcome guests, the European carp, can be a real battle of wills and persistence.
Everything else around our region’s waterways has fired; shrimp plentiful, golden perch plentiful, and our cod hungry, but things are a little too quiet at Lake Keepit. Have the fish shut down or are they firing? If I know anglers I’d say that the fish are willing and aggressive, so get in while the activity’s there. A friend of mine picked up half a dozen trolling the main basin and first and second inlets, so sticking to the front half of the dam may pay dividends.
Divers like the Balista Dyno 75 is a hot favourite, with dark colours like purple, blacks and blues a great option. Don't discount fluoros though, as each day can be different. Remember that even though autumn is upon us, be sure to pack plenty of liquids as the sun can cause you to dehydrate you very quickly and is a serious threat for unprepared anglers.
The author displaying one of many golden perch frequenting the Peel River of late.
John Feebrey, proud as punch with a Murray cod caught on a Kokoda lure.
Sundown is prime time for golden perch.
Keeping a Brag Mat on board will ensure you measure your catch correctly. Lucky for this guy he got to swim away free of harm.Reads: 633