Nice place, shame about the name
  |  First Published: May 2005

The old saying ‘a fish is a bonus when fishing in such surrounds’ could not be more true than when you are talking about Dunns Swamp.

Perhaps not the most endearing name, you’re thinking? Well don’t be surprised if the signs are all changed to Wollemi Waters by the time you get there.

Dunns Swamp is essentially a section of the Cudgegong River near the towns of Kandos and Rylstone, just south-east of Mudgee. Look for the Kandos Rylstone turn-off just the other side of Ilford on the way to Mudgee.

A weir was built as the primary water supply for the Kandos cement works back in the 1920s. Now part of the Wollemi National Park, Dunns Swamp conforms to laws that pertain to these heritage wilderness regions.

Bush camping is provided with adjacent parking. Bush toilets are the sole extent of the amenities but all this fits in well with the magnificent surrounds. Basically, if you don’t like roughin’ it, don’t go!

Although not primarily promoted for its fishing and rather more as an eco-tourism area, Dunns Swamp fishing can be very good for golden perch and catfish during the warmer months and in Winter bait-fishing for the humble river blackfish or ‘slippery’ is on the agenda.

Dunns Swamp is stocked annually by NSW Department of Primary Industries and in 2004/05 2000 Murray cod and 5000 golden perch were released. Previous stockings include silver perch and trout.

Other natives that can be caught here include the eel-tailed catfish and the lesser-known native known as the slippery or river blackfish.

Fishing the bank is certainly an option here but there could be a bit of walking between casts. Essentially a flooded gorge, there is plenty of deep water in Dunns Swamp to make bankside lure-casting an option.

Bait fishing is popular with locals and visitors and if you can procure some local shrimp from Dunns Swamp itself then you’re in good shape for some action.

Try float-fishing these live baits along the edge of any reedy areas, especially if they have some rock or other structure adjacent to them.


Much of the camping is at the water’s edge so night fishing right by your camp can be a real treat.

Kayaking or canoeing is definitely where it’s at if you want to explore Dunns swamp. And if you don’t have one then not to worry – you can hire one when you get there.

Trolling from a canoe is a great way to find where the fish are in this long, slender stillwater and admire the surrounding beauty.

But for me there is nothing better than chasing a twilight golden perch from this piece of sweetwater.

Casting small to medium lures around the shallower weed weds at the eastern end of the dam can be very productive. Fish will be cruising in seemingly open areas as they graze on a multitude of bait.

Bibbed minnows, spinnerbaits and some of the smaller bibless crankbaits are my favourite lures here but keep them on the small side, say about 50mm up to 70mm.

There is a large population of goldfish or crucian carp (not European carp) that have found their way into this system and I’m betting from my results with small gold/chrome lures that they are on the menu of the larger predators.

There is little in the way of timber in this dam so you will have to look elsewhere for fish-holding cover. Plunging and undercut cliff faces have produced fish for me but weed beds seem to be the key to hungry fish in this dam.

Typically the change of light periods excels for results but methodical daytime casting and trolling will put fish in the boat

If you have a canoe then a weekend will just begin to unfold some of the great fishing opportunities in this dam and make you want to go back for more – but hey, don’t take my word for it, go and see for yourselves.



Contact Dunns Swamp, Wollemi National Park, phone/fax 02 3673 4300



It’s pretty hard not to relax in surrounds as picturesque and tranquil as those found at Dunns Swamp. You still get tangles though!


Casting and trolling around and over the many weed beds is often a productive method of catching Golden perch


Casting lures late in the afternoon during the summer months is the prime time for some golden perch action.


Try and keep lures on the small side 50mm to 70mm. This time it was one of my 50mm Viking Talismans. Other good lures include Halco poltergeist, McGrath Minnows, Deception Nipper, Cotton Cordell Super Spot, you get the picture.


An unabashed plug for Jamie Robley’s T-shirt range, soon to hit the streets.


Trolling from a canoe or kayak is a great way to search for fish and get a closer look at this special place.

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