Mental toughness is essential
  |  First Published: July 2006

Winter fishing for natives can be mentally tough. Fishing for a whole day, or even a couple, without an inkling of a bite can put engender serious doubts about what you are doing.  

Things that worked to perfection in Summer seem hard to remember after a couple of tough days of Winter fishing.

I recently experienced such a day on the river. I hadn’t been fishing for a while and a trip to the Murrumbidgee near Wagga was being organised with my brother and my Dad.

When a fishing trip is coming up, the usual weekly or fortnightly phone calls become far more frequent with stories flying around and generally talking things up. After about seven hours on the river trolling, casting for hours and soaking bait, the boat was dead quiet.

We were trolling a nice section of the river the lures bumping over snags as they had all day and my mind was somewhere else when the hit came. Before I could wake up and say ‘I’m on’, the line was slack and we were mourning the loss of what seemed a good fish.

As we drove home we talked and one thing become apparent: Persistence is the key and you just have to be ready when something does happen.


The Macquarie is still relatively low with not much water being released from Burrendong Dam. The good thing about this is that the water is clear, really clear, which means trolling or casting lures around snags can be effective.

I recently fished this water and caught a couple of nice fish but the Astill brothers, Pete and Luke, showed me how it was done. They trolled up a couple of nice cod in quick succession and the worst thing was they did it right next to where I had been bait fishing for the previous 20 minutes with my nephews. I blamed the kids for my lack of action!

The brothers also had another hot session a few days later, even catching a cod while they were checking a lure’s action right next to the boat.

Bait anglers will still catch a few fish but lures will be more productive in the clear water. Green lures seem to be working well but make sure they are hitting the bottom because if they’re not, your chances go down hill.


The Darling around Bourke remains still dirty put if it doesn’t rain any more it should start to clear up. This allows trolling in the deeper sections for big cod and there are some big cod in this system.

Bait fishing will still do the job and early morning seems to get a hot bite going, especially for yellowbelly.


The Hillston Hook, Line And Sinker Festival will be held on the Lachlan River on August 26 and 27. Cobar local Brad Wynd recently fished hard all weekend on the Lachlan between Forbes and Condobolin for a few good yellowbelly and a few carp.

The fishing in the Lachlan is tough at this time of year but put the hours in and you will get something. This river is starting to clear enough to spin. I recently had a session spinning with my favourite cod lure, a black and red spinnerbait, just out of Condobolin. The water was clear and low but I managed to spin up a nice little cod around 35cm.  


There will be plenty of boats at Wyangala in August for the annual Grabine Classic.  This event is getting bigger and better every year with heaps of great prizes on offer. This year it’s on August 26 and 27, call Wayne Cummins on 02 4835 6024 for details.

Wyangala and Burrendong have both been relatively quiet with only a few reports of anglers who have fished for long periods for just a few fish, generally taken on the troll along the deeper walls.

Burrendong has been the better of the two with a few consistent reports of big Winter redfin on baits around the timber. Try drifting first, then once you have found the school tie up and get ready for some action. Redfin are a great fish catch on soft plastics and it is well worth a try once a school is located.  

The results of an early morning trolling session on the Macquarie River. It pays to get up and get out there in Winter.

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