Go the extra mile
  |  First Published: April 2003

By the time April comes around on the Central Tablelands, most fish have had a fair hiding. All sorts of baits, lures and flies have been thrown, trolled, and bobbed, so it takes a little more nous and persistence to catch some fish.

Finesse tactics, such as lighter lines, smaller baits, lighter sinkers, smaller lures or even more tiny flies, may well have you back into the fish. Going the extra mile, so to speak, is also important.

If, for instance, you normally stop a trolling run in Wyangala Dam at a certain spot because the timber is too thick – push on. Chances are every other Tom, Dick and Harry stops at exactly the same spot. Shorten your troll drop-back and go with a wide-bibbed lure. If things get real nasty take the back treble off. These are the sort of tactics that can turn the tables in April.

If you fish Oberon Dam or Thompsons Creek dam and go to a certain spot before turning around to go home,. walk to that spot straight off and start fishing from there. You might not get the same amount of time on the water but it could be a lot more productive.

Flowing again

Most, if not all, trout streams in the Central Tablelands area are flowing again now. This, however, is after weeks and, in some cases, months of dry stream beds. I have been working the Fish River in the Tarana area for more than 10 years now and this year is the first I have seen it stop flowing. Hopefully some fish will have survived in the large, deep, shaded pools.

We are heading towards spawning season for brown trout .One can only hope that water levels will be maintained so that any fish that are left can replenish stocks. It will take three or four good seasons of water flows to get back to where we were.

Lyell bass

It’s good to see some bass being caught in Lake Lyell, even if most are small. There has even been the odd one caught on fly. Bass are relatively slow-growing compared with other native species. Most fish have been caught by trolling deep-diving Aussie-made lures.

Anything that is relatively small but still gets to four or five metres will do the trick. Having said that, late afternoon and early morning will have the bass in shallower water, hence the fish being caught on fly.

Lake Lyell trout should be starting to feed a lot more in shallow water this month, brown trout especially. You will get these fish by walking the banks in the early morning and casting small jigs. Cast forward and at an angle to the bank. Your jig should still be in two to three metres of water and then you should hop the jig back along the bottom.

If your jig gets snagged, it’s just a matter of walking forward past the jig and pulling the jig in the opposite direction. If the bottom is covered in slime, you’re better of casting a small floating minnow or yabby-pattern lure.

Windamere cod

April traditionally is a good time of year to chase cod in Lake Windamere. It’s unlikely you will get a lot of fish but when you get one, it’s generally of a good size. Stick with big lures; say around 80mm to 120mm long. Trolling is the gun tactic.

Pay close attention to your sounder. If you see a big solitary arch on the screen close to the bottom, chances are it will be a cod. Cod at 10kg or 15kg put out a pretty big arch. Stay in the area – sometimes it takes the big fellas time to fire up, although sometimes you get crunched fist pass.

Don’t mess about with the finesse tactics and light gear on these fish because they have plenty of low-down grunt about them. If you want to catch these fish, you have to go without. That is, forget about the golden perch and the small lures, put your trolling hat on and get down and dirty with something big and nasty.

Redfin double

Ben Chifley and Carcoar dams have been producing a lot of redfin, especially on steady or high barometer days. I don’t know if I am alone here but I really struggle catching redfin on low barometer days. more so than any other fish. Is there anything in there make up that makes them that way? Maybe somebody out there who knows more about redfin than I do could let me know. Give me a ring on 02 6355 7202.

Boat-based anglers will do the best. Redfin are schooling fish and are quite pelagic in their nature. They are quite happy cruising open water, feeding on other small redfin and anything else they can get into their mouths.

They really are an awesome predator – thank God they don’t grow to man-eater size! Early morning and late afternoon seem to be hot times to get among the reddies, as it is with most other species.

Find the fish on your sounder first, then try various baits and jigs to tempt them. I have found on some days when the fishing is tough, a live yabby lightly hooked through the tail is the best. These yabbies can outfish anything else by a big margin when the going is tough.

Ben Chiefly Dam received a stocking of Murray cod just recently – in the vicinity of 15,000 fish. This would not have been possible but for the hard-working members of the Bathurst RSL Fishing Club. This club, and many other fishing clubs in the district, does a great job. My thanks and the thanks of many other anglers go out to them.

I hope every one has a fishy and safe Easter break. I have had a time slot change on 2KY High Tide. I now get a sleep in and get more coverage in country areas so stay tuned between 6:30am and 7am for up-to-date action in the Central Tablelands area.



Dale O’Neil with a fine brace of Ben Chifley redfin. These fish were caught in the main basin of the dam using finesse techniques –2kg braid, 3kg leader and a small 10g home-made jig.


Greg Coles went the extra mile to catch this Windamere golden perch. He chose to stay and fish a wind-blown shore even though it would have been more comfortable on the opposite side of the dam, where everyone else was fishing.


Let ’em go, watch ’em grow! You would be mad at the moment if you caught and kept a quality river brown trout such as this. The rivers and streams of the Central Tablelands are going to need all the help they can get in the fish replenishment stakes.

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