Way out west is best
  |  First Published: August 2003

This tends to be one of the coldest months of the year in the Central West and Western areas. Fishing for our local native species slows right down in the Central Western regions but starts to crank up for anglers in Far Western NSW.

Good rainfall in southern Queensland has pushed some new water through the Darling River. The influx of new, colder, water into the system has improved the fishing lately. With some good fishing reported last month in western areas like Hillston, on the Lachlan River, and Bourke, Brewarrina, Louth and Tilpa on the Darling River, I would be heading west for a fish this month.

The journey west this month is made more attractive by the warmer weather out that way, as well as features on the social calendar such as the infamous Louth Races!

Bourke to Tilpa

The Darling River traditionally turns on some good fishing for the Louth Races. With the races falling on the second weekend of this month, I am hoping this year is no different. This time last year there were some fabulous fish caught on lures, both upstream and downstream of Louth.

The Darling has fluctuated a lot over recent weeks with new water moving into the system following that Queensland rain. The fishing in early July was a bit patchy but I think things should only improve into this month.

The murky water has meant that baits of small yabbies, prawns and worms have taken most of the fish recently (see below for more detail on using prawns as bait). The majority of the fish taken recently have been golden perch up to a kilogram, with the occasional cod.

Traditionally in August, small yabbies, prawns/shrimp and grubs outfish all other baits. Deploying these baits around structure in or close to deeper water should yield results. If the river starts to clear, this is a good month to start dragging some big lures around. The Murray cod start to become active as spawning season nears, so be prepared for the odd monumental bust-up.

Forbes to Hillston

The fishing through Central Western regions of the Lachlan River has quietened down somewhat in the past month. However, in Far Western areas including the stretch from Condobolin through to Hillston, there has been some good fishing. The river has remained very low throughout this period, but this has not stopped anglers taking some large cod and yellowbelly on grubs, worms and shrimp (where anglers have a store of frozen ones).

Fish the deeper water into the darkness for the best results. Joe Sprattford, of Hillston, took some good Murray cod up to 15kg last month. He is to be congratulated on releasing the bigger ones to go on and hopefully spawn next month.

August on the Lachlan River is often a time of extremes – extremely low temperatures and either exceptional fishing or very quiet times. The western regions are still the place to target this month, and if the river remains stable or rises slowly, the fishing should still remain productive.

Dubbo to Narromine

At the time of writing, things have been quiet for a few weeks on what has been a low Macquarie River for many months. The low temperatures in Central Western NSW from June to September really slow the fishing down. The big cod become active at the onset of spawning season, but these fish are protected for three months from September 1.

I have heard few reports of fish being caught recently and I expect this to be the case for the next month or so.

The raw prawn

I was emailed a question last month asking me to expand on the use of prawns as a bait source.

During the Winter, shrimp become very hard to catch in the river, both for us and the fish. The humble bait prawn, however, (the ones you can buy frozen in the bait shop) makes a great substitute. Fish them as you would a shrimp and you may get a very pleasant surprise with the results.

The fact that bait prawns from the coast are sold at Frank’s BP Service Station in Bourke is good evidence that they do work. Anglers can buy them from Murray Stewart at the service station or, alternatively, bring them with you.

Thanks again for asking the question, Col, I appreciate the effort. Readers’ questions often make me review and expand some of the things I have written about and not necessarily clarified as well as I should have. My email address is at the top of the article so feel free to fire away with the comments and questions.

Caption List:

Slide 1:

A Darling River golden perch is bought to the boat after taking a prawn bobbed around the timber in about three metres of water.

Photo 2:

The Darling River traditionally produces some quality golden perch through August.

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