It’s winter again and just in case I was in denial, the sound of my wife’s teeth chattering over the phone (telling me I should have cut wood before I went fishing for the week) really brought it home.
It’s time to break out the fly-tying gear, some good whisky and let the dog go to sleep on my bare feet. Oh yeah, and cut some wood!
It’s not all over for the season, though. Those of you who have been hovering at the newsagent or waiting for the postie in anticipation of this issue will still have some time left before the end of the trout season, which closes on the June long weekend.
As we near spawning time and water temperature drops to a more favourable level (for trout, anyway) the fish will be far more active and pushing up into the shallow runs in hope of spawning.
On my last day out with some clients we found many fish in full spawning colour feeding in shallow, sandy runs. Actually fooling these fish is another thing; after being harassed by anglers for the entire season they can be particularly wily.
Many local trout have become so accustomed to the presence of anglers that they don’t even flee, they just stop feeding.
It is at this time of year that good stream-craft really comes into play. Drab clothing, crawling into position and delicate presentations are the only way you’re going to get consistent results.
It’s also worthwhile spending time watching the fish, observing their feeding behaviour and turning over rocks in the shallows to find out what else they might be eating. All that stuff you saw on A River Somewhere does have a purpose other than an opportunity for a few humorous one-liners for the camera.
As you would have gathered, now is not the best time for the spin rod in these streams. The best places to concentrate on with spinners are in the deeper holes in streams such as the Wollomombi, but don’t hold your breath because these areas seem to have suffered the most over the drought.
Most trout have been coming from the high-country streams around Guyra and the Ebor-Dorrigo district.
Another option is to start concentrating on the redfin in the western –flowing streams or in the dams. As I’ve mentioned previously, these imports seem to thrive on the miserable weather that shuts down the local natives.
Closer to home, Dumaresq Dam has been producing a few good redfin and even the odd trout for the occasional lucky angler. Redfin are schooling fish and can be targeted with great success bobbing soft plastics or ice jigs in the impoundments where they are prevalent.
Pindari Dam has historically been a good place to look for these tasty ferals. Redfin fishing is also the rare exception these days where judging your success by how many eskies you can fill is still encouraged, so if you like a good feed of fish then get out there and make the most of the cooler months.
Finally, I’d like to make a quick correction. The big cod, caught by Gavin Berry that featured in last month’s column was, in fact, ‘only’ 130cm long, rather than the 140cm I reported – not that anyone else has noticed. Gav actually caught an earlier fish that measured 142cm and I got confused. Sorry, Gav!
I also have a report of yet another leviathan (you guessed it, Copeton again) but I’ll save the story until I have a photo for you – something to have you hounding the newsagent again next month.Reads: 556