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Stability restored and big fish active
  |  First Published: March 2017



Predictability is tough in fishing; sayings like “you should have been here yesterday” are quite common. I’ve got no doubt we have all been on both sides of this quote more than once.

Variables and scenarios in Mother Nature and fishing are like one big puzzle with trillions of pieces, pieces that constantly change colour and shape. Seconds and minutes can literally make the difference between pieces fitting together. We anglers rarely get it exactly right. There are always a few pieces missing, or ones that didn’t quite fit, even on the good days.

Dams

The good news is that March around these parts, at least in my experience, is one time of year where the pieces are a little easier to find and fit together. The weather, which is a major factor in what fish do and how they go about their business, is possibly at its most stable in March. Water temperatures have peaked and are just starting drop back down with the cooler nights. The hurly-burly comings and goings of other water users on lakes such as Wyangala, Lyell and Burrendong have begun to wane, breeding cycles for all species are all well and truly done and dusted, and even with just these few factors taken into account, you can see that things are starting to level out.

One factor that can throw a spanner in the works is the water level. Drawdown for irrigation of crops below Wyangala and Burrendong can have water dropping fast at this time of year. It can affect where and how baitfish and predators interact or position themselves, and is something to be aware of.

RIVERS

Fluctuations and flow releases from lakes and dams into rivers below like the Lachlan and Macquarie need to be taken into account before fishing, depending on the species, water temperature, turbidity and flows. All of these factors have a major effect on how and where the fish will be and their willingness to bite. They can be very unstable environments, especially if flows are changing from week to week.

On the other hand, the upstream creeks and rivers higher in the catchments are a lot more predictable and stable. During summer, trout spent the hot days hiding under willows and undercut banks, only to venture out when light levels and temperatures allowed. Now, with temperatures dropping, they can sit happily in open runs and riffles, slurping insects off the top as they drift lazily overhead. Sideways attacks on nymphs underwater are done with speed and little hesitation. This is truly a blessing for those with a long wand in hand.

The hierarchy of lower snags has been well and truly sorted; big cod take prime daytime position and attack anything that comes close, and as light levels decrease they venture out on patrol. Casts no longer need to be right on the money. It’s like a calling all corners shot on the pool table – all pockets are in play.

Bigger is better for cod as this month rolls into April and May. By that time of year all the smaller lizards have grown into bigger lizards, smaller ducks and coots have become bigger ducks and coots, smaller carp and redfin have grown into bigger carp and redfin... you get the picture. Nothing is sacred when those mottled green monsters are out on patrol.

NOTABLE CAPTURE

Incidental notable captures take place from time to time in the local angling community, and one that grabbed some attention a month or so back was a rather large cod caught by Richard Gear in Ben Chifley Dam near Bathurst. Richard and his partner Nadine from Oberon are well known and are as keen as they come, putting in long hours in many of the local impoundments. It was great to see their efforts rewarded with such a great fish.

Incidental captures of cod do occur in Ben Chifley dam from time to time, with random maulings of lures targeted at redfin, like with as was the case with this capture. The light gear and spiderweb thin line meant cool heads were needed. Well done guys!

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

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