If you’re heading to Blowering Dam this February you’ve picked the right time of year, with comfortably warm nights, perfect water temperature and a lot of water for the first time in years. It all adds up to hot fishing.
Since the holiday crowds have left the fish have come out from heavy cover down deep and really started firing, as they generally do this time of year. So with all the crowds gone, getting your own private patch, so to speak, is quite easy.
If you’re not lucky enough to own a boat, don’t let it get you down because this is definitely the best time of year for shore-based angling. Casting and retrieving spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and soft plastics works well but in all my time spent over there, the most reliable technique would have to be bait fishing with worms and yabbies.
If you're after a trout or one of Blowering’s famous monster cod you can’t go past the old wood grub. Some very big cod were caught last year on these tasty morsels.
Best areas for bait fishing are along the trees and snags or in one of the warm bays like Browns Bay or Yellowin Bay. Use paternoster rigs, particularly with the yabbies, for fewer snags and better fishing results.
Trolling catches a lot of fish around February with large redfin the main catch, although you'll get your fair share of golden perch well as the odd trout or big cod if you’re lucky.
I like to stick to depths between three and seven metres when chasing yellowbelly or cod, using lures that that dive deep enough to hit the odd snag every now and again.
My favourite technique which I’ve used with great success is to troll a silent deep-diving lure like a StumpJumper, Oar-Gee or Viking in front of a lipless crankbait such as the Jackall.
Leaving the deep-diving outfit in a rod holder, I hold my rod with the Jackall so I can make sharp 30cm or so forward movements with the rod tip which makes the lure swim with an erratic action and emit an unbelievable amount of noise. This racket can be heard up to 40metres behind the boat on a calm day.
These two combined seem to really stir up the fish. So try trolling lipless crankbaits next time you’re on the lake and it might just pay off for you, too.
Best places to troll can vary from day to day with your best bet being to stick with the Batlow side until the middle of the day, then head over the Tumut-Talbingo side for your afternoon session.
When chasing cod in the ’Bidgee the best bait is bardi grubs, closely followed by shrimp, which are plentiful at this time of year and free if you own a shrimp net.
The shrimp also work well on the resident golden perch, which can’t get enough of them, particularly through Old Man Creek and the other tributaries.
Some good fish are also taken every season on spinnerbaits with AusSpin Twin and Quad Spins the standouts. Surface lures, lipless crankbaits and big soft plastics worked slowly over and through snags should also get you some action.
With high water flows this time of year the fishing in the Tumut can be patchy at times and anglers may have to work hard. The preferred technique in high flows is to spin with big bladed lures.
With results often few and far between, what the fish lack in numbers they sure make up for in size with trophy specimens around so it definitely pays to persist. Soft plastics also work, well in particular white Scrounger lures and Berkley Drop Shot Minnows in any green colour.
Bait fishing can be difficult but not impossible with wood grubs the most popular but garden worms also work well in this river.
Fly fishing can be a bit of a hit and miss at times but this is the time of year for lots of surface action so if you’re in the right spot when there’s an insect hatch and you have dry flies, match the hatch and have the time of your life.
All the creeks in the area are also booming after the perfect Spring season and high water levels, with reports of 30 and 40 fish per session for some anglers. So if you want a change of scenery, slap on your waders, jump in one of our local creeks and go exploring – you might just be pleasantly surprised.Reads: 1930