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Shallow water feast
  |  First Published: October 2016



With widespread rains across the district in late winter and early spring, the rivers and creeks have had a good flush. Moving water is such a powerful medium – with minimal effort, logs, trees, rocks, and boulders are shifted and tossed about like corks in the ebb and flow.

It must be a real curveball for the fishy inhabitants we chase, like being thrown in a washing machine. Depending on the species, it could be time for migration, a chance to move upstream. For others it could be time to batten down the hatches and weather the storm. As the flows decrease and the clarity returns, it’s no doubt a time to establish a new pecking order in the pool.

Those anglers heading out for the opening of the trout season on this October long weekend on the Fish and Duckmaloi rivers can take full advantage of this. Large minnow style lures up to 7cm in length can get quite the reaction from the resident boss of the pool.

The changes to the impoundments in the district, such as Wyangala and Burrendong, are also evident. Water level increases have been quite significant. The effects would no doubt be felt by the fish. Savvy lure anglers again can take advantage of this situation.

Smaller inflows with clearer water coming in can be a real honey hole, especially for golden perch. Don’t let a drop in water clarity stop you from fishing lures in other parts of the dam. Often the fish will be sitting a bit shallower, due to less light penetration in the muddy water.

Go up a size in lure to offer a bigger profile, use a contrasting colour or a flashing LED, and something with a rattle inside the body. If you’re using small spinner baits, go for a bigger Colorado blade that thumps away at a slower speed (keep in mind that it’s the cod closed season). Scents are great to apply at any time, even more so when there is a drop in water clarity.

WINDAMERE

It would wrong not to mention Windamere – it’s a great place to fish at this time of the year. People travel from far and wide to experience what is arguably Australia’s premier golden perch impoundment. With a smaller catchment, the level increases are usually not as dramatic or turbid, so fish have time to adjust. It’s business as usual.

The lack of weed around the edges the last few seasons has definitely changed the edge bite. Fish that normally feel comfortable in 8-10ft of water are sitting deeper in 14-18ft depending on cloud cover, sunlight penetration and shade from banks. Hopefully with some good inflow and water over new ground, we may see a return to the luxurious green weed of old.

The tree bite in Windamere has been very consistent in the last few years, slow rolling grubs up through the branches. Not all trees are created equal though. Quality sounders with side scan can cut down time spent on unproductive trees. The technology is that good. Don’t be too concerned if things are quiet on the first drops. Golden perch will move away from trees as the boat sits over the top. As the minutes tick by, they slowly return to their woody home.

Stepping it up in the tackle stakes is a good idea while grubbing trees; the environment just doesn’t suit the spider web gear of the flats. Many fishing tournaments for golden perch have been won grubbing trees – it’s a tried and proven method of putting fish in the boat. Not only that, it’s fun and relatively easy for anyone with a boat.

TROUT ARE ABOUT

With the opening of the trout season in the rivers and creeks, quite a few anglers will be walking the streams. The better fishing will be off the beaten track, and possibly on private property. Always be respectful and ask for permission to cross private land. Google Maps can be a big help when searching for areas to fish on the local streams, state forest, travelling stock routes (TSR) and some national parks. Clearly marked in most cases, these can allow you access to great water.

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

1

The use of Google Maps can assist you in finding productive trout water away from the crowds. It may mean extra effort footslogging, but it’s well worth it when you find pools like this.

2

Drowned standing trees are an important habitat for golden perch in impoundments. They provide cover and food in the form of baitfish clouds that hover amongst the limbs – golden perch heaven.

3

Just a tad greedy, a bigger profile lure can sometimes be the difference in catching fish in dirty water. Fish are not seeing the whole lure; underwater acoustics are also louder even without rattles.

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