If you live on the Central Tablelands, you more than likely will have cut your lawns a few times by now, possibly been swooped by half a dozen magpies and dusted the fly-fishing gear off ready for the start of the new season.
With some better rain through the off season, the opening of the trout season should be the best for quite a while.
Lure fishing with small minnows and bladed spinners is a good way to prospect water that you have not fished for some time.
Streams and rivers will have changed quite a bit since the close of season. New logs will have fallen in or drifted down, old gravel beds moved and holes flushed out – so it’s a good idea to move along and cover the water and make mental notes as you go.
The Fish River between Tarana and O’Connell has some good public access points and the fishing can be quite good early on. The Cambells River out around Rockley also produces some nice fish, although most of this waterway is tied up in private land so make sure you ask for permission first.
Lake Wallace, Lake Lyell, Oberon Dam and Thompsons Creek Dam traditionally fish well at this time of year.
With water temperatures rising and the food chain well and truly in gear, most of the trout will be feeding up after a torturous couple of months running up rivers searching for spawning beds.
Depending on local weather, some rainbow trout may still be in spawning mode and a little hard to catch.
Water covering new ground is always a big drawcard for trout. Early morning walks stalking big browns in 15cm of water or less is great fun and really gets the adrenalin pumping.
That fly rod you dusted of a few weeks ago is possibly the best option for this style of fishing. The quiet splashdown of a small nymph is pretty hard to match with any other fishing method.
I am yet to fish every golden perch fishery in Australia so I am going out on a limb here, but I don’t think I will get too much argument. Windamere Dam, near Mudgee, would have to be the best of them all, especially at this time of year.
I have fished this dam for over a decade and it still produces the goods. In fact, with the advancement in lures, boats, rods and reels, it fishes better than ever.
One thing that has surprised me over the years is the lack of really big golden perch and when I say big, I mean over 8kg or 10kg.
‘Whoa, Stewy, how big do you want them?’ I hear you say. But if you have fished Windamere for a long time you will now that we have been catching good numbers of 6kg to 7kg fish for more than 10 years.
Sure, you hear of the odd fish over this mark during the length of a season but I would have thought the numbers would be much higher.
Do they reach this mark quickly, then taper off and grow much more slowly? Do their diets and habits change and therefore they become harder to catch? Is there enough food to support the appetite of such a great number of big fish?
Golden perch have the potent ional to reach 15kg or more. I would have thought that there would have been quite a few of these behemoths swimming around in Windamere by now.
I have caught more than my far share of big goldens there over the years and a few of them have looked old. I know that might sound a bit odd but if you have caught enough of them you get to know.
I don’t mean old as in wrinkles and grey scales but tatty fins, a little longer in length, bigger head in proportion to the rest of the body, big blubbery bottom lips – you getting the picture?
Sorry I have posed so many questions this month but I have had these rattling around in my head for quite a while and somebody out there in Fishing Monthly land might be able to help me.
Remember, you can catch me bright and early on 2KY’S Hi-Tide radio program with Kieran and Bruce on Saturdays between 5am and 5.30.Reads: 598