May can be like a weather preview of what’s in store, a warning almost, especially for those that have travelled from lower warmer altitudes to places like Thompsons Creek Dam (TCD). It hits them like a hammer when they climb out of the relative cosy comforts of a heated car.
You watch them slowly stretch as they walk around the car and say, “Hey, this isn’t so bad.” the colour slowly drains from their face and within minutes they are rummaging frantically through every nook and cranny of the car looking for anything that might give a measure of warmth.
Fear not, the walk up to the dam will keep you warm. You have a relaxing stroll on the lee side of the dam wall; birds are twittering and the breeze is but a puff. Cresting the wall is like the car park all over again, only this time there is no hidden jacket behind the seat. There’s no beanie stashed in the glove box. If it sounds like I’ve seen this a few times, you would be dead right. I’ve even experienced it a few times myself.
The good news is when the weather is like this it’s one of the best rainbow trout fisheries on the mainland of Australia. Trout just love cold, super clear oxygenated water. In May the browns will be in pre-spawn mode and can be very aggressive towards other fish, so don’t be afraid to up the length of your lures to 75mm and even 90mm. Keep the profile slender. Plastics and hardbodied minnows are the go. Low light periods are the key when fishing these larger offerings. Try to cast along wind lanes and mud lines. The browns love working along these.
Metal spoons in TCD are a big favourite of mine. This is especially so when the above mentioned weather conditions prevail. Spoons can be cast in all but the most shocking conditions, and ditto for blades. Line control on the sink is important, as fish will hit them on the drop as they flutter down. Be ready to set the hook.
When it comes to those clear sunny days with little or no wind (yes, it does happen) flyfishing has a definite edge at TCD. The ability to present small offerings on such light leaders to wary fish just cannot be done as well while lure casting. If there is some wave action and a slight breeze, all the better. You can dead drift a soft hackle wet fly across a point just keeping in touch with the fly. It’s a deadly technique if the breeze and wave action is right.
Low light conditions can mean stalking fish in shallow water is really hit and miss but a great challenge for a pair of fly anglers working together as a team.
The local trout streams have made somewhat of a comeback the last few years, good flows and continued stocking have boosted numbers. May is a good time to target a bigger brown trout, one of those ones that has been holed up in a blackberry lined pool that’s just about unfishable.
With a spawn run imminent the brown trout move upriver to find a good spawning bed. As they travel they rest in pools that may be a little less overgrown. Suddenly they are catchable with aggression levels climbing. Large minnows are readily chased down and eaten. It’s a great time to be on the rivers and streams.
The Fish River and its tributaries still hold enough fish to keep anglers happy. Access is limited, so remember to ask permission to cross any private land.
I look forward to seeing the results of more anglers embracing swimbait fishing for cod. May should see some real corkers come out of local waters like Wyangala, Windamere, Burrendong. One thing for sure is there will be a lot of casting between fish. When it happens, all those fishless casts will be forgotten.
|Some creature comforts on-board if you are boat-based always goes a long way at this time of year. Get some hot thermos of soup, the ability to boil some water for a cuppa and something to enjoy while you break the concentration. Getting out for a walk in a likely spot is also well worth a try. Stretch the legs and get the blood pumping. Tucked up||little corners with rocks and timber where it’s hard to troll are the go.|