Planning pays off
  |  First Published: December 2003

YEP, ANOTHER YEAR is here with endless opportunities for places to fish, new species and techniques to investigate.

Now all we have to do is balance our work and family commitments so we can manage a crack at some of those options.

I find that as life gets busier, I need an approach to optimise fishing time. By this I mean do some of the planning work before you go. Rather than arriving at your chosen destination and spending half a day finding the fish, try to do some of the homework before setting off.

For example, I heard the fish were becoming active around Narromine recently, so I planned a trip, then rang Brett at Inland Fishing and got the low-down on where to expect fish and what they might be feeding on. This info helped to short-cut the system through better planning and optimising my time on the water.


Some rain and a rise or two in the Darling River during December produced an improvement in the fishing. The best action to date in the area has been mainly downstream of Bourke, where those fishing small yabbies and prawns have fared well on golden perch to 2kg and several Murray cod up to 12kg. A low river has meant that best places to target fish have been the deeper sections. Fishing structure such as timber, weed beds or drop-offs (particularly in well-shaded areas) has produced a lot of fish over the past month.

Local anglers are expecting the fishing to improve through January. Although the weather tends to get very hot at this time, those who continue to fish the river should experience some good action. If the river starts to clear, lures will become popular among local anglers, otherwise baits of prawns, yabbies, shrimp and grubs will most likely be the big successes.


No water, no fish, has been the call from local anglers this month. Anglers out this way have certainly done it tough over recent months due to extremely low flow rates in the Lachlan River. Although not catching many fish at the moment, some good fish were seen in the river by Hillston local Ray Richards. Unfortunately, these fish were trapped beneath a weir with no fish ladder. The eight or so Murray cod up to 30kg were more than likely in spawning mode and have been forced to retreat back downstream.

If no new water moves through the river this month, conditions will more than likely remain the same. Anglers in this neck of the woods are begging for rain – and fish ladders – at the moment. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for both.


The pick of the river fishing of late has been the Macquarie River in the vicinity of Dubbo and Narromine. With Burrendong Dam around the 20% mark, flow rates have sustained a consistent level. The river has stayed clear enough to work lures around the timber and this has produced some good fish.

Large, dark, deep-diving lures and baits of yabbies, grubs, shrimp and worms have produced golden perch to 2kg and Murray cod to 16kg. The cod have been particularly aggressive and have responded well to large lures that are thumped and bashed through their territory. Don’t be afraid of getting your lures right into the timber because if you don’t get in their face, so to speak, you don’t get the fish.

This month should be another good month on the river. If the cicadas arrive this year, one would expect the fishing to crank up another level again. If this is the case, there may hopefully be some surface lure action – a nice change from the deep-diving lures and bait-fishing.


I was recently asked to produce my fishing licence by Fisheries inspectors at Narooma. It was good to see the Fisheries boys out and about and it was interesting to have a chat about the local waterway. Matthew, one of the local inspectors, was even kind enough to point out another good fishing spot on the way home. Thanks for the info guys, keep up the good work.

And a gentle reminder to everyone to carry your fishing licence with you this holiday season.

Landing a lure-caught Narromine cod can provide plenty of exciting moments.

A 3kg Murray cod taken at Narromine on a trolled Stumpjumper lure.

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