The pre-winter bite fires up
  |  First Published: May 2015

With the cold weather now settled in, a lot of anglers think that the best fishing is behind us, but this is far from the truth. Most fish species will be super active in May; some because they are starting to think about spawning, which makes them aggressive. This leads to some sensational fishing, especially for trout and redfin.


Natives will also be quite active this month as they feel the temperatures start to really drop, and will be out in force hunting down anything that resembles a meal before the slim pickings of winter. Murray cod will be the main target, but there will be plenty of golden perch keen to get amongst the action as well. Bait anglers will do well targeting the natives with bardi and wood grubs, but if you can get shrimp and yabbies, these will also work a treat.

Lure anglers will also do well and most lures will get some action. As it is now late in the season, these fish have seen countless spinnerbaits and big hardbodies, so it pays to mix it up and try something different to increase your chances of getting one of the big ’uns to let their guard down. You can just try something as simple as adding a rear teaser to your favourite hardbody, or a bigger or smaller plastic to your spinnerbait, but for the best chance try something a bit different like plastics, chatterbaits, my new Angel Baits, or lipless crankbaits, especially large ones. Whichever way you, go giving them something a bit different to have a crack at is going to be your best bet this late in the season.


The trout fishing in general has been good to great at times. When low, the Tumut River has fished well, with fish averaging 500-800g. The smaller creeks have been a bit hit and miss, with some creeks not fishing so well, while others are producing plenty.

The annual Eucumbene River pilgrimage will start this month, as anglers from all over the country converge on this unique fishery. If the spawn run is half as good as it was last year, then there will be some sensational fishing to be had for anglers willing to make the journey.

I went up last year for the first time in 10 years and accounted for some nice browns up to 8lb. They were definitely worth fishing shoulder-to-shoulder with other anglers for. Although the trouting can be great, it is worth noting that everyone now knows this and it is not uncommon to see hundreds of anglers lining the riverbanks, from the lake up to the trees — and that’s during the week!

It is a sight to behold though, and if you have never been there before, it will certainly open your eyes. Watching hundreds of trophy sized trout cruising and resting in a tiny little river sure does get the heart racing, and is something you don’t see in too many places around the world. On top of this, seeing so many anglers co-operatively fishing together on a tiny river is also a real surprise and there aren’t too many arguments despite everyone being so close to each other. There’s more then enough fish to go around for everybody.

If you want to avoid these sorts of crowds, then lakes like Jounama and Tantangara have fished quite well. Like the rivers and streams, they should only get better over the course of the month.


The cooler weather suits redfin just fine and they will become more active due to the urge to spawn. Big schools will form in deepish water (7-20m) in our lakes, and are best targeted vertically from a boat.

Paternoster rigs and 2 hooks is the way to go if bait fishing. Start with 2 different baits, and once you see which the fish prefer, you can rig both hooks with their preferred meal and give yourself double the chance of hooking a fish.

Lure anglers will do best jigging with ice jigs or hopping blades or plastics, but at times rubber vibes like Jackall Mask Vibes or large 70mm lipless crankbaits can be an even better option — especially if you want to avoid the at times plagues of small redfin.

So as you can see, most fish species will still be very catchable this month and worth rugging up and braving the cold weather for. Dressed appropriately, you will hardly notice the cold weather amongst all the fun and action you will be having. So get amongst some sensational late season fishing action — I know I will be.

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