May’s moody autumn natives
  |  First Published: May 2017

The cool weather has come early and the cold, icy hand of winter is well within reach of toiling anglers working hard for their fishing fix. Those who persist will be rewarded.

Late autumn natives can be moody mistresses as the change of season plays havoc on key feeding times in both the dams and rivers. The golden perch are a little sulky but the greedy goodoo (Murray cod) can surprise even the most seasoned of anglers. If goldens are your goal, head to the dams and fish the shallows in the mornings. Fish deep as the sun rises. In the early sessions I would run two different lure styles if you can. Have one person flicking a soft plastic, crawling it slowly along the bottom and methodically working the area. The other angler should then fish a reaction bait such as a small spinnerbait or a lipless crankbait, and burn it around the shallows searching for a reaction strike.

As the sun gets up, if you have a sounder, look for the thermoclines – that’s where fat pre-winter gold chunks will be waiting for an easy meal. In this scenario, bottom tapping lures or tail spinners fished slowly along these areas will hopefully have you in with half a chance of a fish or two.

Over the last month afternoon thunderstorms have brewed up and have created some great fishing sessions in the Tamworth region. Surface lures are still working a treat and XOS lures are leading the charge. Thirsty Lures, Mudeye Lures and New England Lures all suit this style of fishing.

Lake Keepit

Lake Keepit is looking good. It has been hard for me to crack in recent times, and my go-to luring techniques have been really struggling to get bites or interest at all. From all other accounts, anglers fishing deep around the trees with shrimps have hooked a few golden perch and eel-tailed catfish. Another productive technique is to fish soft plastics very slowly on the bottom, puffing up silt to imitate a yabby or shrimp foraging around the bottom. Slow rolling blades will also work.

Those anglers in the know have still been getting the odd large cod. These bigger models have been taken on large trolled spinnerbaits and deep divers around drop-offs and weed beds in the main basin. The lead up to the full moon is a great time to fish, and working the shallows on dark rolling chatterbaits and large soft plastics could see a cold night heat up with red hot action. Stay alert and look for signs like fork-tails and carp getting boofed in the shallows.

Chaffey dam

Chaffey Dam is alive and well. The dam is full and the edges are where to find the fish. The carp seem to have gone quiet, but the golden perch, silver perch and catfish have been on fire. It’s not common at this time of year to have such aggressively feeding golden perch, but the fresh new ground and the explosion of life around has the fish feeding up before winter sets in. Enjoy the bite and remember to limit your catch, not catch your limit.

Goldens have been feeding actively around the weed beds and rocky points in the last hour or so before dark. Small vibrating lures like the Jackall TN50 have been a clear standout. Bladed lures and 3” plastics are accounting for a good number of fish as well. These nugget shaped goldens will respond well to baits of shrimp and worms, while bait fishers can expect some by-catch as well. Eel-tailed catfish and silver perch are the repeat offenders.

Peel/Namoi River

The river is looking better and better with all the rain we have had, so there is no better time than now to be hitting the local haunts in search of Murray cod. The Peel is looking great around the Dungowan and Piallamore stretches. Most of the access here is private property, so seeking permission to fish is essential. If you have access to a kayak, launching at any of the bridge access points near town can get to many of these spots.

The Namoi is looking great and fishing superbly with many big fish being caught on a variety of different lures. The key is to fish big surface lures and diving hardbodies of 120-350mm. You can also try large spinnerbaits with 5-9” soft plastic trailers. Get out there and spend some quality time on the water and eventually the fish will reward you.

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