Torn between species
  |  First Published: April 2015

For me, April is a tough time of year. Not because there isn’t anything happening — quite the opposite in fact.

Should I grab the pack and some lures, hike in and fish for cod high up in the catchments? The serenity is hard to beat, I must say, with nights under a blanket of stars, a warm fire and a snug swag. Or should I grab the little punt, slip it into the backwaters of one of the local dams like Lyell and chase bass and trout (a rare double)? Should I hitch up the boat and head to Wyangala chasing a mixture of species like cod, golden perch and carp on fly? Burrendong will be on the lips of many as this goes to print, and with the Classic on over Easter, it will be a hive of activity. There’s trout in local streams, the Fish River and the Duckmaloi, slowly sipping down caddis, black spinners and the like.

As you can see, it’s a real smorgasbord; a crossover of seasons, a rare opportunity to do and be just about anywhere. I have been caught out a few times by trying to do too much at this time of year, and by this I mean planning way too much and not really getting the best out of a situation. By all means be flexible, just don’t try to cram it all in.


Some waterways will be busy, no doubt about that, so it can take a little bit of outside thinking to get amongst the fish. Lighter line, smaller presentations, quiet boats, smaller boats, kayaks, canoes, off the bank, try something different from the norm. There is not much the bigger fish haven’t seen or heard these days. They may not do the bolt when they hear you coming, but eat a lure? No way.

To give an example of this, I recently fished a section of cod water that gets quite a pasting, I was using a surface paddler and there was nothing wrong with the lure, these things have caught hundreds of cod in this water. I knew there were cod in the pool. The evening was wearing on, the light was fading fast, and it was warm and humid — perfect. After 10 or 15 casts with the paddler, the old grey matter kicked in. I started to think, how many of these have been cast in this very pool? I took it off straight away, tied on a large jointed swimbait and got smashed first cast. A lucky cast? I don’t think so, just different acoustics, different shape, different action… food for thought.

How many times have you returned to the ramp empty-handed or with very little action, and old mate is loading up the ’yak or the canoe. You get to talking and he has had a blinder. “Just along here, mate,” he says, pointing to the bank straight opposite the ramp. Windamere is a special for this — smaller craft, a different make or composition, different acoustics under water, no sounder pinging its head off, no electric motor whirring away, just the occasional paddle in the water. Think about it — I certainly have. There are pros and cons, no doubt, and weather conditions on our lakes can be very unkind to the small boat/kayak/canoe option. You can spend more time correcting where you need to be in the wind to a point where it all becomes counterproductive.


It’s been too long. Ben Chifley, Burrendong, Carcoar, Oberon — they’re all good options for a feed of fillets. Oberon is kayak/canoe water or from the bank, but just keep an eye on the weather conditions as it can get pretty nasty pretty quickly up that way.

Redfin are a schooling fish for the most part, although the bigger ones of 40cm plus tend to march to the beat of a different drum. Loose groups at best, these critters are savage, with attitude to burn. If they grew to over a metre you wouldn’t swim in the same water. The bigger ones are a little more structure orientated ambush feeders, but having said that, don’t be surprised if they turn up trying to take smaller hooked redfin off the hook out in deeper water.


Trout in the local rivers and dams will readily take lures and flies at this time of year. It’s just another option to get your head spinning.


Most cod water holds carp, so why not make use of them by spending part of your Easter holidays targeting them on fly? It’s great fun and a big help to our rivers.


It’s hard to beat high catchment cod water. The fish are not always big, but the clear night skies, serenity, a warm fire and a snug swag make for an enjoyable experience.

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