Camping and fishing go hand in hand and after a very warm Spring season and with a predicted hot, dry Summer ahead, finding somewhere cool to camp is at the top of most people’s priorities.
Situated at the foothills of the Snowy Mountains and with a mild to cool climate to match, Blowering Dam’s tree-lined shores would have to be the perfect location for the Christmas camping fisho.
With the dam being fairly low there is not a lot of weed forming on the edges so most fish species will have to be located in deeper parts holding close to structure and a good sounder makes it easier to find them. I like to run my Lowrance X125 around 90% sensitivity and once I’ve located some fish, I then find a technique that will catch them.
This month the bigger fish tend to come from the lower section of the dam, mainly due to the abundance of deep water in this area. Early and late in the day it pays to fish the banks with plastics, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits in any gold colours because they look a lot like baby golden perch and crucian carp.
As the day progresses it’s best to head out a bit and target deeper structure. Trolling big deep-diving lures is well worth a try this month, with the Murray cod season now well under way. Lures that get down between 5m and 9m, like Cod seekers, Custom Crafted 130mm Hammerheads, Goulburn Codgers and ultra-deep Predatek Boomerangs should be worked along old creek beds, drop-offs and timber to target big Blowering cod.
Golden perch fishing over the last couple of months has been unbelievable. With plenty of double hook-ups and yellas free-swimming with their hooked mates at the boat it has been nothing short of unforgettable.
The average size of the goldens this year has been around 50cm, which is well up on previous years, and the numbers of fish are unheard of. My other half and I averaged three good yellas and a dozen or so redfin per three- to five-hour edge-casting session for eight weeks straight.
The biggest fish measured a staggering 650mm and touched 9kg and several others were over the magical 60cm. All fish were in good condition with big, fat, full bellies. Best casting lures for goldens were lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits although these lures work very well trolled also.
Due to the warm weather this year the redfin have come on the troll a little earlier than usual and will take trolled lures in big numbers from the beginning of this month all the way through Summer.
Best lures to troll for redfin would be small StumpJumpers, Merlins, Jackalls, Stuckeys and the little RMG Ultra Deep P50. All these lures will also catch cod and yellas but being smaller lures, you won’t go through many schools of reddies with out hooking up. So you should have plenty of action happening to keep the kids happy.
I’ve found the stop-and-start trolling technique works best when targeting redfin. Simply shut off the motor then start it back up again or just knock it out of gear for a few moments.
This makes your lures rise slowly and then dive and take off suddenly like a scared or wounded baitfish. This incited the reddies’ instinct to eat the lure before another fish, which yields much better results than simply going at the same speed all the time.
Baitfishing should hot up this month with the redfin already up on the banks pinching plenty of bait, normally to the dislike of anglers using expensive and hard to find bardi or wood grubs.
If you do get sick of catching redfin which will continually eat your worms and grubs, your best bet would be to put a decent-sized yabby, say 8cm or bigger, on a paternoster rig for the resident natives.
This bait might sound big but Murray cod and golden perch have huge mouths. I’ve caught undersized yellas on yabbies 8cm to 10cm long and with cod over 45kg in the dam, I don’t think you could have too big a bait or lure.
Baitfishing has been the most successful technique in the Tumut River of late, mainly due to the high flow making it difficult for lure and fly fishos. Wood grubs, bardi grubs, PowerBait, mealworms and garden worms have all caught fish and are worth a try.
Lure anglers are getting the odd fish on Tassie Devils with yellow winged lures like numbers 36 and 82 the pick. Other successful lures include minnow style lures in brown and rainbow trout colours, lipless crankbaits and Rebel Crickhoppers.
Soft plastics are slowly becoming more popular in the river and I have had success this year on Scroungers, Ecogear Grass Minnows, Berkley minnows and Squidgy paddletails in trout colours.
The biggest trout I’ve heard of so far this season from the Tumut River was a 3.4kg brown that was caught on a wood grub just below The Junction.
Fishing in the smaller streams has been really good considering the low water levels and it’s still worth hiking up there casting lures and flies. The Adelong, Gilmore, Yaven, Mannus and Tumba creeks have all been producing good numbers of rainbows and browns. Gilmore and Mannus Creeks have been yielding the bigger fish but that’s not to say there aren’t any big fish in the other streams.
Spinning works well in all these streams and Celtas, Rooster Tails, CD3 Rapalas and small soft plastics are best. The bait drifter will do well on worms when the water is a little discoloured and with grasshoppers when the water is crystal clear or the wind is strong.
Fishing has been tough in the Bidgee, Old Man Creek and Tarcutta Creek of late with not much water to even talk of. The fish are still there and can be caught using a number of techniques but you will generally have to work hard for them unless you’re after carp, which seem to be more prevalent and can be caught on almost anything during the Summer.
By putting repeatedly casting lures into a likely-looking snag or by using small amounts of berley regularly if you’re baitfishing, your chances of landing a fish are dramatically increased. Best baits have been bardis, wood grubs, shrimp and cheese with the odd fish taking a juicy scrub worm. Yabbies are also worth a shot.
Lure fishing should really pick up as the water warms more to the liking of the natives. Try to target areas that have structure of some description that aren’t too far away from deep water because the cod and yellowbelly tend to spend the middle of hot days right up hard against structure or out in the deeper, cooler water.
At dawn and dusk the fish can be found right up in the shallows hunting small fish and shrimp and can even be seen with their dorsal fins sticking out of the water at times. Hard-bodied lures still get these fish with Predatek Boomerangs, Custom Crafted lures, Oar Gees and old-style wooden lures working best on the troll. But they are still worth casting amid structure and rocky banks and drop-offs. Other lures worth casting into these areas are red, black or purple spinnerbaits, good-sized plastics and lipless crankbaits, which work well in the river but be prepared to lose a few.Reads: 1230