Rug up and get amongst them!
  |  First Published: July 2016

It can be pretty cold up in the greater Batlow area during July, but if you dress appropriately it can be a great time of the year to be on the water. Thermals, beanies, hoodies and a jacket are necessities at this time of the year and if you buy quality gear, you will barely notice the cold.

At this time of the year, most lakes in the area are regularly glassed out, which goes well with beautiful scenery. With no ski boats to contend with and a lack of other die-hard anglers on the water, you have conditions that make for a great day on the water. As a bonus, the fishing can be sensational at times, particularly if you’re after a feed of succulent redfin.

Redfin can be caught in huge numbers through the winter months and a lot of these fish are large models. When targeting them, jigging vertically with lures or bait will work best.

The schools are normally sitting fairly deep at this time of the year, and anywhere from 30-80ft, but once a school is located, it is quite easy to entice them with any vertically presented bait or lure. As a general rule though, especially at Blowering Dam, start searching in around 30-40ft of water. I find most often this is the ideal depth, but if you find they aren’t sitting in this depth, slowly work your way deeper until you find where they are most concentrated on the particular day that you are fishing. Once a school is located, remember to keep your presentation moving, especially when bait fishing as this will entice far more bites.

When bait fishing for these redfin schools, it’s hard to beat garden worms, but small to tiny yabbies are very hard for them to resist. Use the bait on a paternoster rig and keep the bait moving by employing a small but subtle lift and drop of the rod, commonly known as yo-yoing. Using your bait this way will entice fish from a much wider area, which will help you hook into more fish.

Lure anglers don’t need to get too fancy and only really need a small selection of lures. I always start by using an ice jig, but if I find the fish are being a bit tight lipped I will opt for a blade and if the fish still won’t play the game, I then swap to a heavily weighted soft plastic. The beauty of the blades and plastics is that you can cast them well away from the boat and slow roll or hop them back to below the boat, and this really helps when trying to find active fish.

Once I find an active school, I then find it is best to try and position your boat above the school and either stick with the same lure, or change back to an ice jig until the fish move on or go off the bite. After the fish move or shut down, you can repeat the process with another school.

Jounama dam

Anglers who are still keen to get a trout fix will have to fish the lakes now that all the creeks and rivers are closed. What better lake to target big trout, both rainbows and browns, then the mostly overlooked Jounama Dam. This picturesque little lake is a great place to take the kids and family for a fun-filled day beside the water.

The big trout and redfin this lake houses coincidently fire right after the official close to the trout streams. This is a bonus for those addicted to trout fishing in the area, as you can successfully fish for good-sized trout in good numbers all year round without having to venture too far.

Jounama has fished well over the last couple of months and this should almost definitely continue through this month. Casting lures or flies from the bank is very productive, and is my preferred way of fishing the lake, but bait fishing with dough baits, grubs or worms is also a great way of hooking into a trout or two at this time of the year.

Murray cod

The king of freshwater fish, the Murray cod, will also be a viable target this month. The lakes such as Blowering and Burrinjuck are renowned for yielding monster-sized fish at this time of the year and are worth the effort required to catch them. Often long days of casting and trolling are required for one fish, but at this time of the year more often than not that one fish will be of trophy size.

The Murrumbidgee and Upper Murray rivers are often overlooked at this time of the year and it might surprise some anglers to hear that good numbers of fish can be caught in the rivers, even in winter. The fish will be a bit slow and lethargic, but being an opportunistic river fish means if a really good meals swims right by their nose they should eat it.

In saying this, accurate casts to within a metre of where you think the fish might be holding is required to catch fish at this time of the year.

As you can see, there is still plenty of options for anglers in the area this month. Rug up and go get amongst them.

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