With summer now officially over, the weather will slowly start to cool, and although some species may also slow down as it gets chillier, others will really start to fire.
Trout in general love the cooler weather, and although the fishing has been very good in the Tumut River and some of the smaller creeks and tributaries, I expect it to improve further. Good numbers of both rainbows and browns have been encountered, and due to the Tumut running a banker most of the season, the fish have not seen that much pressure so are relatively easy to catch.
There is not quite the numbers we had a few seasons back, but there are still plenty about. The average size is also the best we have seen in a long time. Most encountered are in the 500g-1kg range, which is way up on previous years, but there has also been a smattering of fish over 2.8kg. Catching 10 or more of this size a day sure is great fun in the fast moving crystal clear waters of the Tumut.
Due to the lack of fishing pressure these fish have received, we have found the best technique to be lure casting, in particular with the ever-reliable Rooster Tails. Walking either just in or just out of the river and casting these flashy lures up and across in the low flows and across and down in the higher flows has accounted for many fish so far.
Bait anglers have also been doing well and the ever-reliable garden worm has been the most productive bait, but wood grubs have also held their own. Another great option that is highly under-utilised in this area is the good old maggot, or gent. These tiny wiggly things are loved by trout and are gun bait in other areas and other countries.
If you’ve never used them before, simply rig 1-2 of them through the bum end to keep them alive and wiggling as long as possible on a tiny hook, I have found the Gamakatsu size 10 Single Egg pattern to be perfect for this type of fishing. It is also beneficial to throw out a handful of maggots into the intended fishing area as berley, as this will attract and hold the fish in your area. As I said, this technique is highly under-utilised, but it works unbelievably well in creeks, rivers and lakes.
Once again, the Murray cod fishing, especially for big ones, has been insane at Blowering Dam, with anglers coming from far and wide to test their luck against giant clearwater cod. One very pleasing thing to report is that a lot of these big fish have been taken during the day, which hardly ever used to happen in this impoundment. I’m not sure if it is because more anglers targeting them now, or that the dam has been reasonably full for a few years and there has been a lot of structure around the margins to make the cod feel a bit more at ease when the sun is up.
In the past, the lake was almost always low, with very little structure for the cod to ambush from, so they would sit in the deep water, almost in hibernation, and only coming out at night to gorge while they felt safe and comfortable. I’m hoping it is the latter reason, as it would be great to have a good chance of landing these fish during daylight hours.
The biggest cod I’ve seen landed during the day this season was 136cm long, but there has been great numbers of 120cm-plus fish caught too. Most techniques have been working as well, so it seems to be a case of being in the right place at the right time.
One last piece of good news is that an old favourite haunt may soon be back to its former glory. The repair of Mannus Lake’s wall is now complete, and it is finally filling after a long, arduous rebuild. Depending on the amount of rain we receive between writing this article and you reading it, the lake may even be full, so it shouldn’t be long until we can all head back out there for a fishing fix. If it ends up being half as good a fishery as it used to be, I’m sure I will be reporting good things from there!
Trout of this size have been very common in the Tumut River this season, with much larger fish about as well.
Due to the lack of angling pressure on the Tumut River, bright spinners have been the standout lure this year. The scarring on the side is from a much bigger fish, showing how big trout can get in the Tumut.
A typical football-shaped golden perch from the old Mannus Lake. Now that the lake’s wall has finally been rebuilt, we may be catching fish like this again in the very near future.Reads: 1013