August: Let’s skip it!
  |  First Published: August 2003

August blues have really set in around here. All those Winter tackle, boating and camping adjustments have just about been done and the job list around home is just about complete. If only the wind would stop blowing and the sun come out and warm things up a bit!

Don’t worry, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, ever so faintly glowing just the other side of September.

Having said all that August can be a good time of year to target any post-spawn browns that return from the rivers. They tend to do it fairly tough up the rivers, so they are hungry when they get back into the dams. Lake Lyell and Oberon Dam are the pick in this department. With the water temps still down, there is not a lot of tucker about and the browns tend to move about quite a bit looking for a feed.

TCD false spawn

I touched on this false spawning activity in Thompsons Creek Dam last month. It is a real saviour for me over the Winter. August is prime time, so do yourself a favour and get up there and have a look.

The fishing is frustrating for many. Seeing the fish and not being able to catch them drives many an angler around the bend. Fly-fishing with glo-bugs and small nymphs, in combination or as a single unit, is the way to go on most occasions. Even though most fish don’t race off to the depths when they see you, it pays to remain unseen, so keep a low profile. You will catch more fish this way.

Fishing pressure on weekends does have a negative affect. Mid-week early morning sessions are the best times to catch a few.

NSW Fisheries officers keep a very close eye on TCD over this period. So be warned. This dam is a trophy fishery and a two-fish limit applies. The dam is also for lure and fly only.

Last chance for cod

This month is the last chance for anglers to target Murray cod in our rivers and dams. The season closes on September 1. I don’t think there would be too many anglers targeting Murray cod on the Tablelands at this time of the year, anyway.

I will make the effort to get out and chase a river fish, even though my chances will be slim. High barometers and stable weather for a few days in a row might just be enough to get the big fellows fired up enough to slam a lure. There will be a lot of tough walking between spots and quite a few casts to the same spots. If that’s what it takes, then count me in. The rewards at the end of the day, no matter how tough it’s been, are all worth it if you can catch and release such a beautiful fish.

Wyangala could be worth a try for a cod in August. Just don’t expect a red-hot bite. I suspect many hours slowly trolling with repeat runs along heavily-structured banks will be your best chance. Pinpoint casting with a spinnerbait around known structure, such as large logs and rocks in combination, may also be worth a try.

Bardi grubs and yabbies, slowly jigged in and around the same sort of structure, could be a better option. Baits have the advantage of smell to attract fish. Crushing the heads of your yabbies at this time of year is not a bad option. Keep them on until all the juice is gone, then repeat the process with a new one.

Prime time for big redfin

Female redfin can weigh up to 200g heavier over this period due to being heavily laden with eggs. They also tend to school up in groups of similar size. If you can get onto a patch of bigger fish, it can be really good action.

Finding them can be the hardest part. A top-quality sounder and the ability to read it in manual mode helps no end. If you know your sounder well enough, you can even determine fish size.

I recommend you spend some time motoring around, keeping a close eye on your sounder. If the fish are deeper than four metres, jigging a bait or a soft plastic such as a Squidgy could be the go. If the fish are in shallow water, standing off and casting with hard-bodied lures would be a better option. Anchoring can be good in both situations.

Ben Chifley Dam has the bonus of reasonable numbers of trout and golden perch mixed in with the redfin.

Boondooma bass

Lake Boondooma is a long way from the Central Tablelands of NSW. I have fished all rounds of the ABT BASS tournaments so far and Boondooma is the last round before the grand final and my last chance to qualify for it. My results to date have been disappointing.

The consistent performers, such as Tim Morgan, John Schofield and Carl Jocumsen, really are on another level when it comes to catching bass in impoundments in a tournament. These tournaments are a great learning experience. The innovations and techniques used have ripple effects right across the freshwater scene.

Keep tuned to Australia’s No 1 fishing and boating radio program, Hi-Tide, on 2KY for up-to-date fishing information on the Central Tablelands. Tune in between 5.30am and 6am on Saturdays.


This Thompsons Creek Dam rainbow showed quite a bit of greed. It ate both the author’s glo-bug and the trailing nymph. You can just make out the small nymph to the left of the glo-bug in the fish’s mouth.


Glyn Sargent caught and released this Murray cod when the weather was a little warmer. The lure is a jet-black AC 50mm Invader. Anglers will have to work a lot harder and smarter if they want to catch fish of this calibre in August.


Peter Keidge is one of those consistent performers in the ABT BASS Tournaments. The author was his observer in the 2002 grand final on Lake St Clair. Here Peter shows how it’s done, hooked up to a solid St Clair Bass. Note the front-mounted sounder on Peter’s boat – his eyes were never far from the screen.

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