All the wrong places
  |  First Published: July 2003

There have been significant amounts of rain around the country as I write this report – and, unfortunately, very little of it has fallen into our major catchments.

This drought is definitely becoming very frustrating. We get some fantastic cloud build-up that refuses to produce precipitation and then, when the heavens finally open, it rains in the worst possible places!

The fishing has gradually slowed in the Central West areas (Lachlan and Macquarie rivers) but has begun to pick up in the Far West (Darling River). If you are after golden perch this month, you could do worse than to head out back o’ Bourke. The fish are starting to feed well in western areas and should do so for the next few months. If, however, you are after that elusive big cod, then putting some hours in on the Central West rivers could pay off.

Bourke to Tilpa

The Darling River has remained dirty after significant rain in southern Queensland produced rising river levels last month. The murky river has kept the lure-fishos quiet but the bait brigade has fared well of late. Most anglers have reported good catches of yellowbelly up to 2kg. A few cod have been taken but the golden perch numbers have by far dominated catches recently. Most fish have been taken on small yabbies, shrimp (or prawns), grubs and worms. Areas where there is a little flow in the river have fished well in recent times.

June through to October are usually fabulous months to fish the Darling River. The golden perch become active and tend to hunt in large packs. Anglers can take good numbers of these fish, as well as tangling with the bigger specimens that tend to become active in the Winter. A number of interstate anglers who are aware of this will make the Winter pilgrimage to sample the fishing in these parts. The river will probably remain murky for a few months now, so bait anglers will take most of the fish during this period. Small yabbies, prawns and worms will produce.

Forbes to Hillston

The Lachlan River at the time of writing continues to run at a low level. Leading up to the cool change in June, the fish were biting very well. Anglers fishing from boats and from the banks were taking good numbers of golden perch and Murray cod. Worms and shrimp accounted for yellowbelly up to 1.5kg and cod to 30kg. Forbes anglers described the recent conditions as some of the best they had witnessed in years.

As the weather turns cold this month, the good fishing should taper off. The first sign of frosts usually signifies a change in the fishing conditions that we can expect. The golden perch and smaller cod will become subdued for a few months, but the big cod should remain active as spawning season nears. Using big lures, or grubs, yabbies and worms might get some interest from these bigger fish.

Dubbo to Narromine

The cold weather has really slowed the fishing down recently. The first frosts in this area tend to quieten the local native fish population somewhat. Anglers on the Macquarie River have experienced this lately, with few reports of good fishing.

The river is running at fairly low levels but has started to clear nicely over recent weeks. Those fishing the river this month will probably be targeting the bigger fish. Local anglers will testify to the rules of nature whereby the first frosts of Winter tend to bring out the bigger specimens of Murray cod. These fish become more active with the cooler water and stay this way through to the end of spawning season in October to November. Techniques used to take these fish entail trolling large lures or soaking baits of yabby, grub or, less frequently, unusual baits like boiled eggs.

With local impoundments now below 10%, we are not far from running dry. Our only salvations at the moment are low evaporation rates and a low irrigation requirement. One can only hope that our next bout of rain falls in an area where we can catch it!

Caption List:


There have been plenty of golden perch taken on bait from the Darling River, which has fished well from Brewarrina through to Tilpa.


The Lachlan River around Forbes fished well for Murray cod through to early June. A good number of 45cm to 55cm fish, like this one, were taken on bait.

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