In the states they call it a white Christmas and the weather in Tamworth this season has been much the same with a wonderful white winter! The snow has been regular on the hills surrounding Nundle and up towards Bendemeer and Uralla. However, even though the snow is beautiful and well worth seeing make sure you take every precaution to ensure your family’s safety and the safety of other families on the road. If I can offer any advice it would be to visit these icy conditions in a 4WD vehicle only, as normal 2WD cars won’t handle the conditions.
That beautiful ‘boof’ sound anglers long to hear can be few and far between during the colder months, and you’ll have to resort to alternative fishing methods to get that bite. With the water so cold you may find you need to let the water warm up and fish the afternoons and into the night to reap the rewards. Fish preserve their energy in the winter and will strike at something they find worthy of stalking and eating, so now is a good time to hit the water with that big wake bait you’ve been itching to throw.
Divers have been working a treat with the cod; recently I have used 70-90mm divers and have caught some nice goodoo as a result. Full Moon Spinnerbaits are still getting the reaction we are after; if you stick out the cooling afternoon and pepper the willows and snags you could find a decent Murray cod on the end of your line.
The Tamworth District has received some much-needed rain that has stirred up the fish. Chaffey Dam is sitting around the mid-30% mark. Dungowan Dam reached 100%, which means Dungowan Creek has a very good flow pouring into the Peel River in the heart of Dungowan Village – so it’s time to get excited and hit the water. Look for logs and other debris that has been washed downstream as it makes for perfect snags for fish to live in. You’re going to need a lot of patience to score a Murray cod at this time of year and with the churned up dirty waters think big and bright lures for your best chance. Carp and yellowbelly tend to shut down in the winter but the right bait can draw them out of hibernation if you’re keen enough to wait it out on the banks. Carp sift through the riverbed seeking worms, shrimp and aquatic insects and yellowbelly hang low sulking in the riverbed at this time of year. So take a mate, have a laugh, enjoy the scenery, set your hook with some bardi grubs and throw a line in the River to coax out those lethargic winter warriors.
Quipolly Dam is situated 55km south of Tamworth and was constructed by the Peel Shire Council (now the Liverpool Plains Shire) in 1955 to provide drinking water to the nearby town of Werris Creek. These days many people head out to the dam to have a BBQ with friends and family or drop in a line for catfish, Murray cod or golden perch. There is a boat ramp at the dam but water activities using a motor are not permitted, however you can fish from the shoreline and I can assure you that the monster catfish in the Dam won’t disappoint you! Wrangle the kids, grab a rod and head to Quipolly Dam for some fun family action!
There are also some very large cod in the dam worth chasing. There are some nice rocky walls and marshy edges that look good enough to hold some decent pockets of fish. Use natural coloured spinnerbaits to tempt the cod as these lures resemble young catfish that the cod like to feed on, or if you wish to create your own colour combination head into Tamworth Fishing Tackle and the Great Outdoors in Tamworth and see Dean and the boys to knock up a spinnerbait of your colour creation. Hardbodies also work on fish. So perhaps pack a mixture of your favourites between these two lures types to increase your chance of securing a big one and putting a bend in that rod. – Hayley McDonaldReads: 534