GOOD, but patchy, rainfall in Central Western NSW has been the highlight at the time of writing.
This has certainly helped to increase water levels in some of our local waterways. The increased flow and turbidity has improved the fishing in some areas and slowed it down in others. The Darling and Macquarie rivers have received some new water recently but the Lachlan has missed out on a lot of the rainfall. Wyangala Dam has risen slightly in the past month but it will have to rise a lot more before large volumes of water are released once more.
March is traditionally a good month to fish the rivers. With temperatures showing the first signs of cooling off and rivers holding a little flow, thee is every reason to get out there and give it a go.
That Darling River rise I was talking about in the February issue finally arrived and turned the river upside-down. The new water was not as warm as initially expected, so rather than slow the fishing, the rise produced some active fish in places. A lot of fish were taken beneath the weirs along the system, where fish trying to get upstream remained trapped for quite some time. The lack of fish ladders in this neck of the woods continues to hamper our western population of native fish.
As well as being trapped behind weirs, the initial influx of warmer water into the system did produce a small fish kill. Fortunately, this event was not as bad as some of the kills recorded in the past few years.
The fresh water in the system improved the bait-fishing scene markedly. As mentioned, anglers around the weirs took a lot of good sized fish, with golden perch to 2kg and cod to 15kg reported. I hope my words about fishing adjacent to weirs are not misunderstood: I am not opposed to fishing in these areas, just the practice of taking home more fish than any family could possibly hope to eat in a month of Sundays.
With more water on the way, it seems as though the fishing on the Darling should continue as it has over past weeks. Using baits of worms, shrimp, yabbies and grubs will most likely continue to be the most effective means of taking fish as the water is likely to remain too turbid for lures.
Water release remained low through the past month on the Lachlan river. Apart from some rain which pushed some water through the system, water levels have remained low for some time now. A few fish have been taken from deeper sections. Golden perch to a kilo and a few small cod have been taken, mainly on yabbies, shrimp and worms. A few fish have been taken on deep-diving lures cast in amongst the timber.
This month, as we have done for the past few, anglers wait in hope of rains and some new water into the system. If conditions stay the same, fishing the baits mentioned or casting deep-diving lures around structure should yield a few fish. The fish in the deeper sections of the Lachlan should become more active at this time of year, so these places would be well worth targeting.
Increased flow rates leading into February have kept the fishing on the Macquarie River relatively quiet. The water became quite dirty and somewhat cooler, which had the effect of slowing up what had been a very good spell of fishing.
Bait anglers have had the most success on the river recently but the majority of fish have been undersize. A good number of 40cm to 50cm Murray cod have fallen for worms, shrimp and yabbies recently. The carp have also become somewhat of a nuisance.
Through late February we should see flow rates abate and the river hopefully start to clear. This will hopefully improve fishing.
With clearing waters, the lure and bait brigade should be able to take advantage of what is usually a very good month to fish these parts. I noticed Inland Fishing have started stocking the new Skywalker range of surface lures. With a few cicadas about lately, I think these are well worth presenting to some of the evening feeding fish.
In summary, the rising waters on the Darling River recently have prompted anglers to once again question the need for fish ladders. It makes it difficult for anglers doing the right thing on the river to watch other groups of anglers taking advantage of trapped, feeding congregations of fish and remove a lot more than they could possibly eat.
There have been a few small cod taken on bait recently in the Macquarie River, with bait working better than lures in the water discoloured by recent rain.
Carp have been hampering bait anglers in western river systems, following an influx of warmer water.Reads: 501