Getting hot out west
  |  First Published: June 2004

THE DROP in temperature and woefully low waterways over the past two months have had a strong effect on the fishing.

Native fish in the Central Western areas put on their typical pre-Winter burst of activity before becoming subdued. Some good fish were taken in the Macquarie and Lachlan rivers prior to the Winter doldrums settling in. With the onset of cooler conditions in the Far West of the state, the natives have turned up the activity levels for those fishing the Darling River of late.

This month traditionally produces a strong contrast in the activity levels of native fish across the State. Resident fish in the Macquarie and Lachlan rivers become relatively subdued for the next four to five months. However, native fish in the Darling and Lachlan rivers become increasingly active through the next few months. So this promises to be a good month for anglers out west.


Following a good rise through April, the Darling River has abated and remained stable, relatively low and murky. Due to these water conditions, the lure brigade have found little reason to target fish of late.

Bait anglers, on the other hand, have reported some good fish. Small yabbies, worms and prawns have accounted for a lot of golden perch from 1kg to 2kg. Due to a lack of fish ladders on weirs along the river, there has been an increase in fish numbers beneath these structures as their migration path is blocked . The majority of yellowbelly taken recently have been caught in these areas.

Anglers using wood grubs have also taken a few cod to 10kg in recent weeks.

June is a great month to fish the Darling. The weather is usually comfortable and when those big, Winter high-pressure systems start rolling through, the fishing can be awesome. There is a slight chance the river will start to clear this month but bait is likely be the order of the day for much of the time.

The increasingly active golden perch are suckers for small yabbies and prawns at this time. Soaking grubs through the night or early and late in the day will put you in with a good chance of tangling with a Murray cod. If you are in need of prawns for bait, drop in to the Bourke BP and hassle Murray for some.


The active native fish encountered through April began to quieten down through May. A few Golden perch to a kilo and some small cod have been taken from Condobolin to Hillston recently in deeper sections of the Lachlan. They fell to yabbies, worms and grubs. It has been encouraging to hear of the good numbers of small cod taken over recent months.

A low and cold river should produce slow fishing upstream of Condobolin. The river in these parts might offer the chance of some bigger cod as they tend to get active.

Those fishing downstream of Condobolin stand more chance of finding active golden perch, which will feed sporadically in the deeper sections. Yabbies, worms and grubs should produce a few fish.


Prior to the cold weather arriving, some good fish were taken in the Macquarie downstream of Dubbo, with lures and baits producing cod to 5kg and golden perch to 2kg. Apart from the large cod becoming active, the fishing tends to shut down somewhat. The cold water will keep most fishing quiet for the next few months.

Those keen to tackle a good cod tend to spend some time on the water over the next few months. The onset of frosts will more than likely bring out those wily old local anglers with their strange baits, such as steak and boiled eggs. I hope if they get the chance to catch big cod that they release them.

So this month signals the end of a great season of fishing in the Macquarie, where the quality of the fish has been good.

Now that winter has arrived I will turn my attention to far western areas, where the fishing should just be starting to hit its straps. I think a good campfire and a few good sessions on the Darling River goldens are calling me...

The cold temperatures of Winter will slow down what has been a fabulous season for luring Murray cod in the Macquarie River.

The cooler temperatures will produce some top bait fishing for the natives in the Darling River.

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