The weather remained unseasonably warm in western areas until late June, when the cold weather (including snow in by back yard at Parkes!) arrived, bringing some much-needed rain.
A few native fish were taken on bait from the Central Western river systems prior to the cold snap. The Far Western Darling system has received some new water from rain in Queensland and has showed signs of starting to improve.
August is a cold time in western NSW with water temperatures tending towards their lowest.
The low temperatures will keep the Central Western fish quiet but the Darling River natives should start hitting their straps. With the Louth races on early in the month, there should be plenty of anglers trying their luck on this system through August.
Rains in southern Queensland have pushed new water into the Darling River, which has maintained low to moderate levels and showed occasional brief signs of clearing prior to new water disturbing the river again.
Bait anglers have enjoyed the best of the fishing with small yabbies, grubs, prawns and worms producing yellowbelly to 1.5kg and cod to 20kg. The Botten boys from Cobar have accounted for several large cod in recent weeks, all which were carefully released.
Where the river began to clear (mostly from Louth to Tilpa) several anglers trolled deep-diving lures with mixed results, mostly on yellowbelly around a kilo.
This month there will be many anglers trying their luck in the area. August is typically a good month to fish the river and the Louth races generally see a large contingent of anglers camping on the river and fishing, culminating in the race weekend – a great outback affair.
The rain seems to have begun falling in western areas and I can’t see the river clearing for some time so bait will be the best way to take fish leading into Spring.
Small yabbies and a well-positioned grub have always been my favourite bait in August and September. Yabbies from 5cm to 10cm (head to tail) fished around timber and weed beds should produce fish.
At this time of year the fish tend to stick to a fairly predictable pattern. The golden perch form large schools and prepare for spawning, holing up in sections of the river that offer them several things. When not feeding actively, they will congregate around some deep-water structure, be it mid river timber, a drop off or weed bed.
At various stages of the day or night they will move as a group and feed. At this time, they will patrol shallow areas that offer a good feed of yabbies, worms or shrimp.
These areas are typified by shallow, grassy banks (particularly if recently flooded), weedy edges or sand and mud with some good timber.
I usually locate areas that have both types of habitat and locate baits there.
When the fish are active I will get several in the patrolled areas and when they retreat to shelter I get a few in the deep structured areas.
When the fishing is quiet, get baits right into the deeper timber and employ techniques such as bobbing to try and get an aggressive response from the shut-down fish.
The Lachlan River remained low throughout June and early July. Anglers fishing baits reported several yellowbelly prior to the very cold weather. Worms and grubs produced most of the fish, including a few cod up to 10kg.
I hope some good Winter rains will be followed up by heavier down pours to produce much-needed runoff. Receiving good water flow at a time when the fish are beginning to think of spawning would be very handy for further natural river fish stocks.
August is usually quiet on the river upstream of Condobolin. The river at Hillston can fish well but is very dependent on river levels.
The annual fishing competition at Hillston is usually held in August and produces fish when a higher-flowing river is experienced. Anglers using yabbies, worms, grubs and prawns typically produce the best of the catches.
Here’s hoping a good river fronts up for those trying their luck.
The Macquarie River has remained stable and very clear for the past months and the cold weather has kept most anglers at home in the Dubbo area.
Anglers prepared to put in the hours have taken a few small cod with the odd fish topping 10kg but there is a lot of time between fish during the cold months.
Downstream of Warren has produced some reasonable yellowbelly on yabbies and worms and a few cod have been taken on grubs fished through the night.
The cod fishery in the Dubbo area will remain quiet for a few months. The cold temperatures will keep fish dormant until the days begin to lengthen during Spring, when the cod will be protected due to the closed season from the start of September to the end of December.
It’s great to finally report some reasonable rainfall across all of the areas I write for. The good news is that meteorologists are tipping further good rain through the Winter. Good luck to all those heading out to the Louth races, I hope the festivities and fishing are up to their usual best.
If camping on the river for a long period, keep only the fish that you need as this is the month that there generally is a Fisheries officer doing the rounds.
A well-conditioned Murray cod caught on the Darling River last August. This fish was released and has hopefully stacked on a few kilos since then.Reads: 875