At the time of writing the fishing is set to improve – quite frankly, it couldn’t get much quieter!
Apart from a few hot spells, January and early February produced some unseasonably cool weather with sporadic rainfall. The impoundments dropped slowly and our rivers maintained mostly low levels.
The Central Western native fish populations have been strangely quiet through what is generally a good time of year to fish. Apart from some reasonable fishing in Burrendong Dam, the other impoundments, Windamere and Wyangala, produced tough fishing. As if to follow suit, the native fish in the rivers proved equally tough to tempt.
The Lachlan River produced some better fishing despite remaining low. The fishing was best in the Goologong and Forbes area due to rises from storm run-off.
After picking the Dubbo section of the Macquarie river as the place to fish in January and February, I was largely disappointed by the apathetic fish populations I and many other anglers encountered.
The Darling River has experienced some large rises over the past two months. The majority of the water was warm, murky stuff the Queenslanders kindly sent us and it shut the fishing down. I think even the carp were quiet for extended periods!
Although the fishing sounds pretty tough at present a change in conditions is usually not too far away. At the time of publication, temperatures may be peaking prior to the onset of Autumn. If this is the case, expect the fishing to pick up considerably.
Rapidly rising river levels due to warm runoff from Queensland rains have left a murky Darling River. The new warm water has shut down the fishing. The turbid river encouraged only bait anglers to venture out and they reported very little success.
Local anglers say that only illegal netters in the area have taken any fish from the system over the past month. Locals are expecting conditions to remain quiet until a change in the seasons.
The onset of cooler weather and water out west tends to bring the native fish on the chew. If the river remains stable through the next few months, some degree of clarity may also return. If this is the case, anglers fishing deep-diving lures should start taking fish again.
Prior to this happening one would expect bait fishing to produce the best fish. Bobbing yabbies and shrimp around the timber is a favoured technique this time of year, as is sitting back on the bank with a cool drink waiting for a fish to take interest in your yabby, worm, grub or shrimp.
A few small rises due to local storms have produced some reasonable fishing in the Lachlan River at times. The fishing was best around Forbes, where anglers using yabbies, worms and shrimp fished around the timber to take some good yellowbelly and the occasional cod.
Although the river has remained low for past months, the influx of some new water has had a positive effect on the fish. Over the past month the river has fished more consistently than most of our other waterways.
Through March and into April we should start to encounter cooling temperatures and shorter days, encouraging native fish to begin their pre-Winter feed that sparks some good fishing.
The river has remained relatively clear which means that the bait anglers and those working lures stand a chance of taking some fish. Areas to target will once more be the deeper, timbered sections.
The Macquarie River remained low and stable into early February. Apart from a few patches of increased activity, the local Murray cod and golden perch have remained largely subdued. Anglers fishing baits of grubs have reported a few cod to 5kg while lure anglers have struggled to take mainly undersize fish. The uncharacteristically low activity levels are a bit of a mystery but should hopefully come to an end with a change in the seasons.
The lead-up to Winter should stimulate some increased activity from local native fish. Bait anglers fishing grubs, worms and shrimp around the timber should continue to take fish while anglers fishing large, noisy deep-diving lures such as StumpJumpers and Oargee Plows will stand a good chance of connecting with Murray cod.
It was disappointing to fish the Macquarie River recently and see nearly every snag in one large section of the river hosting a set line. The law allows for four an angler and if the fish are feeding, this should be enough to take home a feed.
This month should see some improved fishing. It is generally a comfortable time of year to fish weather-wise, so make the most of it and get out there.
The Macquarie River cod have been very elusive over the past month.
Natalie Grima, of Sydney, headed out west recently to sample the cod fishing on the beautiful Macquarie River.Reads: 502