With golden days upon us, it’s hard to look back at the crazy angling conditions we put ourselves though to tame winter beasts and scratch that angling itch. Fast forward to now, we have complete contrast – warm spring days, sun overhead and the yellowbelly have gone wild!
Many of our local dams had a good winter, with above average rainfalls topping up the dams. Last summer we were speculating if we would have any water left in our catchments this year. It’s great to see the dams looking refreshed. The fishing has boomed, setting the pace for a great season of hunting gold.
Golden perch are generally dormant during the winter months, so in spring they feed vigorously to put on weight before breeding. For me, flooded edges and shallow bays are where I’ll be searching. Long casts and light leaders will account for a few extra fish on slow days. My typical setup is a 6’6” spin or baitcast setup with a 2000-2500 sized spin reel, or small low profile baitcaster with 10lb-15 braid and 10-20lb leader, depending on the structure.
Lures to use in these shallow margins are usually quite versatile and can be fished slower and deeper for other applications. Spinnerbaits around 3/8oz or smaller fit this category, as do vibration baits like the Jackall TN series, Viva Mazzy Vib, or Kakoda G-Vibe. Metal vibes like the TT Lures Switchblade and the Ecogear ZX and VX series, or soft plastic lures, are also a great option on golden perch. Since the introduction of the AYC competition, these lures are commonplace in our arsenals. Soft plastic craws, yabbies, worms, grubs, shrimp and minnows all have their place, so pack some on your next trip.
Split Rock has not been as lucky as the rest of the dams, close to our beautiful township. It’s still a great fishery, but with the dam still struggling to fill, golden perch have been holding deeper on rocky points, and in the warmer thermoclines around the dam. Once you find a decent bank and get a few fish, work that area. Golden perch are schooling fish, so where you find one you will generally find a few. There are also silver perch and carp in the dam worth targeting this month. Both of these omnivores are likely to take a bait of worms or small shrimp, fished lightly weighted on the bottom. If you catch a carp, please dispose of it humanely and discard it properly.
Chaffey Dam has been in the mind of most anglers for the past few months. Seeing the dam level rise and flood the margins has anglers excited. From the carp-chasing fly flickers, to the edge bite golden brigade, this month has something for everyone. For the carp chasers, gentleman’s hours are 10am to 3pm, prime times, and the hungry carp will be cruising the edges chasing small shrimp, worms and insects. Wearing a good pair of polaroid sunglasses will enable you to see feeding carp before you cast a fly to them, which saves wasted casts and won’t spook other targets if you’re a little off the mark. My motto for catching carp on fly is ‘stalk, spot and save’.
Golden perch will be hard along the edges of the flooded new foliage and weed beds, and will take a variety of techniques. Fish the prime times around dawn and dusk for better results. Be patient and work areas methodically before moving on, as these goldens often cruise up and down these areas searching for food. You might not get a bite for thirty minutes before you land three fish in five. That’s fishing for you.
Murray cod season closes September 1 in NSW, but Copeton Dam is fishable year round.
Even though it’s still fresh in the mornings, golden perch like this will take a slow worked vibe.
Slow rolling a Mepps Thunder Bug was this Sheba Dam rainbow’s undoing.Reads: 953