TCD trout challenges
  |  First Published: July 2016

I was struggling to sleep; the moon was so bright it was like somebody had left the bedroom light on, only there was no switching this one off… My only option was to pull the swag flap up a little higher and just grit and bear it. It did get me thinking though… moon phase and fishing has been linked for thousands of years with arguments for and against; its one sure way to get some interesting opinions around the campfire.

I am not totally committed to any phase, preferring to fish during the twilight of early morning and late afternoon. For the most part, I am visually stimulated, so casting at things I cannot see just doesn’t do it for me. Each to their own, I guess.

When I did wake up it was much darker, some high cloud had rolled in silently like a thief in the night, robbing the moon of its glory, and small holes in the cloud base let shards of light down onto the water that danced in the ripple. I sat, watched for a bit and took it in. I took a deep breath and wished I had the knowledge and know how to capture it on film… maybe one day.


They’re not for the faint-hearted, and the weather can be downright ordinary. Weather windows do open up for those who can pick and choose, and flexibility is the key. Be prepared to put the trip off and pick it up in a week or so when conditions are better.

Cod are now quite popular to target at this time of year, and we have our fishing buddies to the south (pool water on the Murray) and more recently to the north (Copeton) to thank for that. If you think that the cod water in-between is any different think again… I’ve seen and done enough lately to be well and truly encouraged.

Deep trolling is one tried and proven method of catching these fish, but what’s not widely known is the potential for catching big fish in much shallower water. From what I have been able to work out thus far, it’s more food chain related, and these are big fish actively chasing fish that are preying on baitfish away from cover. The window of opportunity seems to very short, with low light times the key. Good structure close by in the form of a major change in depth, some form of cover in logs, trees, boulders also seems to be a must.

It’s still very early days with this style of fishing for cod in home waters, but the potential is untapped. By the same token, it won’t be the style of fishing that suits everyone, as for starters its quiet physical and involves throwing big heavy swimbaits non-stop. The expense involved will also put many off, as some swimbait offerings are in the $70 range, and add to that the gear upgrade to throw such lures. It’s a pricy exercise.


A Mecca for some, a place of mass frustration for others… if seeing your fly or lure being constantly rejected in clear water by large rainbow trout isn’t your thing, then you might be better to stay away. If you like a challenge, and if you like to adapt, then we might just have the fishery for you.

I touched on Thompsons Creek Dam (TCD) last month in my column, and to recap it is located between Wallerwang and Portland. At this time of year, the rainbow trout false spawn on the windswept gravel points, and the fishing is very much a visual affair in quiet shallow water, which brings about its own set of frustrations. Cautious, spooky fish that still want to hang around despite your best efforts to chase them off drives most anglers around the twist… the good anglers fish fly, down size everything, keep low, and hit them early in low light conditions. Those who have the time will chase them mid-week, away from the weekend crowds for best results.

Lure fishing is best done for TCD trout in pre-spawn or post-spawn away from the gravel beds using small soft plastics, although having said that the next one that grabs a big spoon or minnow won’t be the last.

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

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