Meat-hunters a big worry
  |  First Published: April 2003

For the first time in many months we have experienced follow-up rain in Central Western NSW.. It will, however, take some substantial rainfall to lift some of our rivers from their currently woeful conditions.

Several rivers are in shut-down mode, with fish barely surviving in stagnating conditions. In other rivers, such as the Darling, fish are still being caught. Unfortunately, it is mainly by the meat-hunters who seem to be targeting substantial fish populations trapped in large pools along the river.

It has given some of us hope, however, to hear of anglers taking fish from such pools and releasing them above weirs where there is currently more water to be found.

Unless we have some good rainfall, one would expect our rivers to remain the same through April. The pick of the rivers to fish this month will more than likely be the Macquarie River from Narromine to the Burrendong Dam wall. There should still be some water in the river and the local cod population should be receptive to well-presented lures and baits.

Bourke to Tilpa

Many anglers may have seen helicopter television footage of the Darling River on news reports. At the time of writing the river is still looking very sad. There is still some reasonable water trapped above the weir at Bourke but below this point the river has been relegated to a series of pools scattered along the river bed.

Anglers working the river are taking some good fish on mainly lures. There have been golden perch to 2kg and Murray cod to 20kg reported. The fish are competing strongly for food at the moment and therefore make an easy target for lure and bait anglers. Everyone is urged to release fish they don’t intend eating.

Meteorologists have suggested that lower ocean temperatures of late could mean a break in the El Nino cycle is not too far away. One would hope this translates into some good rainfall and a flowing Darling River next month. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.

Forbes to Hillston

The Lachlan River has dropped substantially following the end of irrigation season. Further downstream, in the Hillston area, the river has been depressingly low for some time now. The fish consequently have been subdued for several months. Ray Richards, of Hillston, has reported taking a few silver perch and the occasional golden perch, mainly on worms, but there has not been much else to report.

One would expect the river to remain low until we receive some decent rainfall, so the immediate outlook is not that promising. However, with a low, clearing river and the onset of Winter not far away, anglers might encounter some increased activity from the resident native fish.

Lures and baits of worm, shrimps and yabbies should produce a few fish.

Dubbo to Narromine

The Macquarie River has dropped following the cessation of irrigating season. The waters have started to clear and the water temperatures have risen somewhat (due to less cold dam water being pumped into the system), producing increased activity from the local Murray cod. Anglers have used lures and bait to take cod up to 10kg. Large deep-diving lures in darker colours have accounted for a lot of fish. On the bait scene, grubs still seem to be the best-performing bait.

The river will more than likely remain low this month. Targeting the deeper sections with the above-mentioned techniques should produce fish. This month the cod tend to become more aggressive. With this in mind, fish your lures accordingly and don’t overlook the surface options of an evening.

The lack of water in the Darling River has resulted in large fish populations surviving in small bodies of water. A similar situation is currently the case in Wyangala dam, where fish stocks are residing in a small volume of water.

The fish are behaving quite aggressively, more than likely due to a lack of food for the compressed fish population and are becoming easy targets for anglers fishing the waterway. At times like these we really do need to remember the old saying, “Limit your kill, don’t kill your limit.”

Photo Caption List:

Photo 1:

The author recently took the opportunity to test some soft plastics on the Lachlan River natives around Forbes. The natives may have been a bit quiet but the carp weren’t shy in taking these offerings.

Photo 2:

There have been some big cod coming out of the small pockets of water we call the Darling River at the present. This one, held by the author, was taken earlier in the year by Darren Haymen of Bourke on a Knol’s deep-diver.

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