Good fishing, shame about the weather
  |  First Published: March 2015

Canberra and Monaro region anglers have enjoyed some top class fishing in the past month or so, despite the erratic and unpredictable weather.

Trout Streams Refreshed

All the local trout streams — normally showing stress from lack of water at this time of year — have been repeatedly refreshed by runoff from thunderstorms moving through the area. Most have been running well and are carrying enough fish to make a visit worthwhile. The larger and more easily accessible streams, including the Moonbah, Murrumbidgee, Yarrangobilly, Eucumbene, Thredbo, Maclaughlin, Badja and Tumut have all been heavily fished, so to avoid the crowds, anglers with good local knowledge have been concentrating on the smaller creeks and rivers. The prizes mostly have been smallish browns and rainbows, but it has been testing and exhilarating fun casting in tight water with small dries and wets on a #3 or #4 weight fly rod.

Lakes Still Patchy

The big mountain lakes have been patchy and unpredictable, varying from bafflingly devoid of fish 1 day, to bountiful the next. Trollers and fly fishers have fared best.

Trollers using lead core line and downriggers with Tasmanian Devils and small RMG, Halco, Rapala and Strike Pro minnows have caught some good fish in both Eucumbene and Jindabyne. Browns have mostly been around the 2kg mark, and the rainbows just legal, but all have been in delightful condition, so perfect for the table or the smoker. Flat lining has not been as productive, as shown by a recent episode in Jindabyne where an angler used 1 lead core line rod and 1 flat line, trolling green and black and gold Tasmanian Devils. He landed 18 trout for the day — 15 on the lead core outfit and just 3 on the flat line.

Fly anglers have fared best using small brown or black nymphs, or midge balls fished into midge hatches late in the afternoon, and then larger wets and mudeye patterns after dark. Black beetles have also accounted for a few fish and there have been several falls of red flying ants.

Bait fishers have been doing it surprisingly hard, probably because of the intense algal growth in the shallows this season. PowerBait and scrub worms, normally eagerly sought after by the fish, tend to get lost in the algal mat and are hard for the fish to access.

Abundant Natives And Redfin

The big success story this summer has been the enormous numbers of redfin, golden perch and Murray cod that have shown in Canberra's urban lakes and some regional reservoirs.

Wyangala fished well, especially for the Grouch Cup in late January, with lots of golden perch, a silver perch, and Murray cod to 98cm taken on lures and bait.

Burrinjuck also fished well, with lots of Murray cod, golden perch, and redfin on baits and lures. Best lures were large Noxious Spinnerbaits and deep divers for cod, Burrinjuck Specials and bibless minnows for goldens, and soft plastics for the redfin. Better baits were scrubworms, yabbies and local shrimps. The good fishing slowed when excess water was released for downstream irrigation, but the area is still well worth fishing.

Bonanza In Urban Lakes

Some of the best fishing has been in Canberra's suburban lakes. Despite the continuing thunderstorms, the 5 lakes have remained clear enough for lure as well as bait fishing, and there have been some excellent catches of Murray cod, golden perch and redfin.

In Lake Ginninderra, there have been lots of small cod taking spinnerbaits late in the afternoon and early evening, but the larger fish have attracted everybody's attention. Veteran trier Matthew McCauley caught what is thought to be a new record for the lake, when he landed a 107cm fish on a worm bait. The fish was caught on 3.6kg line and took 45 minutes to land. Several times it took so much line that there were only 3 turns left on the spool, but Matt persevered and finally got the fish into shore for mandatory pictures of the release.

Other anglers also did well. One bait fisher landed 8 golden perch on 8 yabbies, while others reported cricket scores of redfin on Hogbacks, jig spinners and soft plastics.

Lake Burley Griffin fished well for redfin and a few golden perch and cod, but the best fish came from the Molonglo River just upstream at Dairy Flat Bridge. Two anglers using worms caught and released 13 golden perch in an afternoon session.

At Lake Tuggeranong, most of the attention was on the redfin schooling along the shoreline. They were easy to catch and regular visitor Greg racked up scores of 30-50 fish to 35cm each session, mostly using Atomic soft plastics.


Young anglers have had a great time catching redfin on bait and lures in Canberra's urban lakes, especially Lake Tuggeranong.


One of the outsized golden perch caught in Lake Ginninderra, reflecting the massive food supply available to the resident fish.


Small trout in the tiny creeks in the Canberra-Monaro region provided a lot of fun for fly anglers using lightweight gear in tight casting situations. These were a good alternative to the crowded larger streams.

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