Dam fishing a chilling experience
  |  First Published: July 2007

This is possibly the coldest month on the calendar around the Central Tablelands. The frosts can be huge, some little dams that receive no sun in the pine forests around Shooters Hill can freeze over and even throwing rocks the size of a house brick have trouble breaking through.

I worked night shift up at Oberon for quite a few years and some of those nights were spent outside working, I remember one night coming in from a job and washing my hands in the nice warm water – what a mistake that was! My hands stung for the next hour.

So make sure you come prepared when travelling up this way to do some fishing.


Rainbow trout, brown trout, and redfin all come from northern climates in much colder countries so they thrive during the colder months around here. Obviously by this stage the creeks and rivers are out of bounds for trout but I have found over the years that there is still a good population of fish to be caught in the lakes.

Thompsons Creek Dam, between Wallerwang and Portland, produces some great fish at this time of year, Flyfishing with small Glo Bugs and a trailer nymph can be deadly.

Sight fishing these fish on a good day is also on the cards.

When lure-fishing the dam, we have often found that the windy days (of which there are quite a few in July) fish the best. I think this is because the water is so clear and the chop water makes it harder for the fish to see you.

I guess the chop and light refraction also break up the shape and colour of the bigger spoons and lures.

Lake Lyell has been low for quite some time now and the water quality is poor, to say the least. The fish are still there, it’s just not a real pleasant environment at the moment.

This could change with some decent inflows, so let’s keep the fingers crossed.

Lake Wallace at Wallerawang has been the pick of the dams in the district with some big rainbow trout coming in. This should continue into July although the numbers will drop off.

The good thing is the quality of the fish will get better. Rainbow trout to 2.5kg are quite a possibility. PowerBait is a good option, although the bubble may have burst a little. There doesn’t seem to be the same number of fish being caught on it as in previous years.

Spoons are still my pick – slender shapes, big bulbous shapes, silver ones, gold ones, coloured ones – it doesn’t seem to matter that much, just get them out there and cover the water.

I love to chase big redfin at this time of year. You might get only one or two fish but they can be crackers. Carcoar Dam is possibly your best option but you will get plenty of argument from Ben Chiefly regulars.

Casting lipless crankbaits and small spinnerbaits has worked for me in previous years. Bright colours on the spinnerbait skirts seem to get them going but bobbing various metal slugs in deepwater is also very effective.


It’s great to see one of the local fishos doing well on the big stage. Andrew Pullbrook, of Orange, is right up there in the Angler of the Year points for the Bass Pro series. Pulleys closest bass water would be a good four-hour drive away so it’s not like he can slip out after work and try a few techniques.

To be in the running for AOY takes a lot of hard work and determination and I don’t think enough credit is given, so good on ya, Pulley, keep it up, mate.

You can catch me bright and early Saturday mornings on 2KY with Kerion and Bruce for all happenings fishy in and around the district.

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