Late autumn amusement
  |  First Published: May 2016

Around the gardens the colours of autumn are fading fast. Leaves seem to cling to branches, hanging on with every last ounce of strength, but the inevitable will come soon enough, a graceful fall back to mother earth, another cycle of life will be completed.

The same happens in water, cycles of life, the beginnings and endings of creatures and critters that feed the fish we chase. Understanding these changes as an angler is underrated in my books, as it can point you in the right direction, start you in the right spot, and even help you decide what you tie on.

Fly anglers get it big time. For the good ones, I think its tied into their DNA. They educate themselves by reading entomology books, getting hands on study in stream beds turning over rocks, dragging fine mesh scoop nets through lakeside weed beds. Some bait anglers get it too, but most lure anglers have a lot to learn; myself included. Too many times we just tie stuff on without too much thought in regards to the life cycles that are happening around us and below us, or in front of us! The good anglers, the ones that always seem to catch the fish, I can tell you right now are fully tuned.


May is a great time of year to target brown trout in Lake Lyell, Thompsons Creek Dam and Oberon Dam, with a spawn coming, the fish are building up reserves in preparation for the lean period.

These fish will be travelling long distances, tussling for prime spawning position and partners. Add to that the removal or reduction of certain warm water food items and it means working harder, moving more, taking risks. A boom time for savvy anglers I’d say.

Bank walking can be the best way to target these browns I would recommend working in pairs, as four eyes are better than two. This way you can take it in turns and one can sit higher spotting, and the other lower and ready to cast.

Low light periods are the key, these are early mornings, late afternoons and cloudy or misty days. Wear drab coloured clothing, walk slowly, sit and watch scanning the water ahead, concentrate on the water and bottom where you can see. Don’t make the mistake of looking for a whole fish, look for bits and pieces. Look for things like the white of the mouth, the flick of a tail, a shadow on the bottom. Be ready and remember your first presentation is your best chance. The fish and your mate will let you know when you get it wrong!


Winter cod are still very much an open book for many of us, still so much to learn, still so much potential. Do the bigger cod have a higher tolerance to colder water temperatures? Does their body mass help insulate them from it? If so, this would surely place them at a greater advantage to smaller native species, and maybe that’s why some real big ones get caught in late autumn and winter…

Locally, Wyangala has been on everybody’s lips, and the mind boggles at the number of quality fish that have been caught over the last few years – a big thumbs up in my books to NSW fisheries and the stocking program that has taken place.

As surface water temperatures cool rapidly, cod will no doubt seek a level of comfort that suits. They may not feed as often, especially the bigger ones, and one decent size carp may hold them over for a week or so, which is about the time it takes for one low pressure frontal system to move across this wide brown land.

The oncoming high pressure system is the one to get on, it’s like catching a wave; get on it, stay with it and it’s all thumbs up.

Hope to see you on the water soon until then, tight lines.

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