The New South Wales trout season officially opens on September 30 but for those who want to brush up on some trout angling techniques for the new season, there is no need to wait.
Anglers who are itching to get started should head out to Dunmore Trout Waters. I fished there in late May and even though the cold weather prevented any insect activity, the fishing was excellent. This bodes well for September when the warmer weather will kick start the insects. These are private waters so normal closed season regulations and licensing requirements don’t apply.
Woollala is situated around 15km west of the tiny New England town of Ben Lomond. The turn-off is around 37km south of Glen Innes. If you’re travelling south avoid the first Ben Lomond turn off as this is a gravel road and look for Inn Road (also signed) a little further south, which leads directly into the town. At the southern end of Ben Lomond the road is posted to Dunmore Trout Waters where proprietors Peter and Cath Ivey will make visitors feel very welcome.
With three main lakes to explore and two new cabins to stay in it was sometimes difficult to decide where to fish. All of the lakes are easily accessible so the choice came down to the prevailing breeze on the day. Each lake offers some shelter from the winds, which are common at trout habitat altitude. It’s also a good idea to pack some extra clothing to keep warm if you’ll be fishing at the change of light at this time of year. A pair of thigh waders or gumboots will make all the difference to early morning trips when heavy frost is about.
Although Dunmore’s lakes are artificial rather than naturally formed, they provide everything that trout need to keep them healthy and growing fast. There are small islands, extensive weedbeds, heaps of rushes around the sides and cover in the form of logs and trees.
The bank areas have being specially designed to allow easy angler access to likely hot spots such as the main embankment walls, side areas next to cover or islands and the like. Each lake has a jetty and small boat as well.
Mayfly hatches should be taking place as soon as the weather warms towards the end of July, and be in full swing in September with the first burst of spring. Size 14 or 16 mayfly imitations should be good but along with the mayfly hatches other likely insects to excite the resident trout will be falls of flying ants and black or brown beetles, either of which can kick start a surface feeding frenzy on any warm, cloud filled day, especially those with a storm brewing of a late afternoon. When flying ants are on the water, trout go completely out of character with dainty sips turning to greedy gurgles and slurps as the fish compete for the food. When beetles are on the water a black beetle imitation or Humpy will certainly do the job.
The best part of fishing a well-stocked fishery like Dunmore is that you can catch fish even when the insects aren’t around. Try working a wet fly such as a dark coloured Woolly Bugger, Woolly Worm, Matuka or a dark green rabbit fur leech. Just remember that the fish will be cruising around looking for tucker and won’t be coming down current like stream trout would.
If you have a spare spool for the trout outfit with a sinking or slow sink line it’s ideal for searching out the water with wet flies while a floating line is a must for evening or daylight fishing when trout are certain to be rising.
Five or six weight fly tackle is ideal at Dunmore as long casting won’t be necessary although presentation skills with the dry fly or the nymph (black or brown seal’s fur, size 14) are still needed when the fish are surface feeding. I used a 2kg breaking strain tippet and didn’t lose any fish, although they did fight very hard. Trout are notorious for jumping right to the end of the fight and Dunmore rainbows are particularly boisterous – so don’t forget a landing net.
I guess the last aspect we might consider is whether the fish are as hard to take as truly ‘wild’ fish. They aren’t and as long as one can cast a bit they won’t have too much trouble catching some on wet flies allowed to sink and then stripped back very slowly.
One of the hardest things for the new chum fly angler is locating hard to find fish in a stream without spooking them but the beauty of this fishery is that there are plenty of fish and they’re all willing to have a go. And don’t all anglers like to catch a lot of fish from time to time? I don’t know how you think but I’ve long given up the notion that a fishing experience must be difficult to be enjoyable!
Guests are allowed one fish per person for the table but its catch as catch can otherwise.
Peter and Cath Ivey can be contacted on (02) 67794210 or on email at --e-mail address hidden-- will provide information about bookings.Reads: 1013