Pressure on local rivers eased
  |  First Published: February 2016

With the country music festival been and gone, the streets will clear and the dust will settle on our normally quiet town.

Last month was a busy time with it being almost impossible to find a spot along the river that you could call your own, this month will be a little tough in the rivers but with a little luck and some persistence, you should be able to get onto a few. Going back to basics and fishing a few worms under a float or a shrimp along a running sinker rig will be a simple yet effective method of bringing most species undone, including golden perch, murray cod, catfish, European carp and trout.

Collecting you own bait can be just as much fun for the kids, and digging worms in the garden or catching yabbies using string and some meat can be as big a thrill for the kids as the fishing itself, so get the family involved and have fun.

Peel River

The Peel River received a lot of pressure last month, so I expect the fishing to be quite tough, but if you can find a bit of river a little out of town, your chances will be much greater. European carp are still in prolific quantities and fishing for them with bread, corn or worms will see many rods bent and reels singing as these imported brutes run havoc around our local waters.

Namoi and Manilla Rivers

The Namoi and Manilla rivers have been fishing quite well with Murray cod and golden perch frequenting anglers catches. From all reports, little vibration lures have accounted for many of the yellowbelly with brands like Balista, Kokoda, Jackall and Mazzy all successful around these parts.

The Murray cod have also been fired up and surface lures are a crowd favourite around dawn and dusk. Quite often people forget cod will feed well into the night and will still take conventional lures such as spinnerbaits and diving hardbodied lures.

If you’re camping by the river and are throwing a line in, you won’t find a better bait then bardi grubs. These juicy cod lollies are the number one bait for Murray cod, so if you can get a few grubs then the cod won’t be far away.

Split rock dam

Last month the dam really fired up and anglers from around the region travelled to join in on the spectacular golden perch fishing that had been occurring on the dam. Fishing the rock walls and weed-covered edges is a popular technique. Casting to the edges and winding out with a slow steady roll was all the was needed to put a few fish on the score board and the action should continue this month.

Going a little deeper to around the 4m mark with trolled hardbodied lures close to the bottom will be a sure fire way to find some quality fish as the water warms up.

Anglers fishing the banks have also done well using yabbies, shrimp and worms for bait.

Carp are also very common in the dam and my favourite way to chase them is on fly. A 6wt rod and some floating line is what we use and by walking the edges, we can spot the feeding carp and cast Woolly Buggers or Woolly Worms about a metre in front of them. Then it’s time to hang on! They are great fun to catch like this and really pull hard.

Lake keepit

Lake Keepit has been a consistent dam since the warm summer season started. Golden perch are very common and a good number of large Murray cod are also being caught, and trolling large lures is the most common method for finding these larger fish. The bigger cod lures in the 100mm range or bigger are perfect.

For golden perch, we find casting lures around the sunken timber to be best with vibration lures, blades and soft plastics all very effective on any given day.

For those anglers who prefer to fish with bait, all the usual favourites will work but finding the older broken down trees has been the way to go about finding fish.

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