Time for big trout
  |  First Published: May 2006

May is big fish time around the Central Tablelands. I am sure cooler temperatures trigger a feeding response in larger specimens at this time of year: With Winter just around the corner and lean times ahead, the big fellas get in for one last top-up.

Big Lake Lyell brown trout should be on the talk of the town. The bite last May was astonishing, so much so that some diehard Jindabyne and Eucumbene anglers were fishing Lyell instead. That was last year, though.

Flatline trolling and downrigging worked with a variety of lures including Tassie Devils, spoons and deep-diving shads. High numbers of crucian carp at this time of year can really get these big browns on the chew, so keep an eye out for these pods of fish on your sounder. Rest assured, the browns will not be far away.

Berkley PowerBait will be a good option for rainbows in Lake Lyell and Lake Wallace. Keep the hook small enough and light enough to hide one nugget, which should also float the bait off the bottom. Make sure the rod is anchored somehow – rainbow trout tend to hit the bait quickly.

Anglers need to be on the water early to get the best action. Big fish love these times of low light and move around much more freely.

Walking the banks at Lake Lyell is much underrated. Quite often trout and birds will push baitfish into the back of short steep gullies. Land-based anglers have the advantage of not putting the fish off if they keep a low profile and cast their way into the bays.


Carcoar and Ben Chifley should be improving for redfin, whose numbers will have possibly dropped off but hopefully the size will be better.

Hard metal jigs can get them going. If the bigger fish are proving elusive, move around the edges of the school or try to get something heavy underneath the main school because this is where the bigger fish will hang out.

Most of the time it’s just a matter of wading through the small ones until a big one gets stirred up.

Casting the edges, especially at Carcoar, has proved very productive while the water level has been down. The dam at a low level has heaps of structure and the big redfin take full advantage of this.

Don’t be surprised if the odd Murray cod doesn’t get in on the act either.


Get your big trolling lures out, folks, May is one of the better months to target a good-sized Cod. You’re not going to break any numbers records but if you set yourself a goal, it is achievable.

I remember a few years back at Lake Windamere it happened 50 metres into my first troll run of the season. More often than not, though, it’s after a few trips. The buggers are there but it’s just that there is quite a bit of water between them.

Why this time of year? My pre-winter feed-up theory is valid but I think the smaller, more active, fish taper off at this time of year and give bigger fish more opportunity to attack your offerings. However, it could just be the smaller active fish don’t want to be the next meal so they vacate the area.

Remember you can catch me most Saturday mornings live on Australia’s No1 fishing and boating radio program, Hi-Tide with Kieran and Bruce, usually between 5am and 5.30.

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