Rivers flowing and hot fish are easy-going
  |  First Published: March 2017

The searing heat has plagued us all summer. Mercury rising above 38°C has been a regular occurrence. While this is draining on anglers, I have some great news despite the heat. The afternoon storms have kept the rivers flowing nicely and looking very healthy.

I don’t think I have seen so many quality fish come from the Peel and Namoi systems since before my fishing journey started. Articles from Dave ‘Hodgie’ Hodge and videos from Dean McFarlane and Michael Poulos always showcased how good our region fishes, but now even more so.

Although the rivers look great, I don’t think we are in for any relief this month as far as the heat goes. That may not be a bad thing. The warm temperatures will keep insect activity booming and surface strikes continuing this month. One thing I’ve discovered recently is that carp will take surface offerings. I know what you’re thinking – ‘he’s talking fly fishing,’ right? Wrong!

I have been experimenting with tiny walk-the-dog lures in the 40mm range, painting them white or picking clear shrimp patterns and have had a reasonable amount of success. Small rod tip movement is required just after landing, followed by dead-sticking the lure. This seems to be the gun technique. I challenge you to go out and give it a whirl. It’s highly addictive. They will take a surface fly as well as small ant imitations and floating bread flies work well.

Chaffey Dam

Chaffey Dam is still sitting nice and high with plenty of fish hiding in the snags. Anglers hit the water to catch the ‘fish of the day’ in the beautiful Peel Valley. The dam is bursting with boats and campers armed with rods keen to throw around their lucky lure to hook up to a fish.

Yellowbelly are cruising the steep rocky banks striking Jackalls and sipping soft plastics. Carp are swallowing worms and they’re more than willing to take flies cast from the banks. Also, if you have a sense of adventure, grab your kayak and paddle up the river arm of the dam through the submerged trees to hook up to some fish. Great goldens and silver perch are loving all the new vegetation and the view is spectacular, so you won’t be disappointed.

Peel River

With recent rain, the river is flowing pretty well. Fish the back eddies or the slack side of a snag if chasing goodoo (Murray cod) or golden perch in and around our township of Tamworth. Spinnerbaits are working a treat, with colours imitating the natural colours of our native fish putting a bend in plenty of rods around our region.

Bait fishers can’t go past bardi grubs for cod and large yabbies are a close second. Tinned corn and bread have also been satisfying the tastebuds of carp in our waterways. It’s a great way to spend a few hours, not only catching a few fish but by removing carp from our waterways – you’re doing a good deed for the environment.

Topwater fishing is still as popular as ever. Head torches are in overdrive as anglers stalk the banks on the hunt for the metre cod. It can pay to upsize lures in March. Subtle lures and other large swimbaits are perfect as are large top water soft plastics like the 6” ZMan Pop Frogs. Nothing gets the heart racing and blood pumping like a surface boof signalling the start to a great day of fishing ahead. Be ready and fish hard.

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