It’s a mixed bag
  |  First Published: September 2003

SEPTEMBER really is a mixed bag and that goes for weather as well as fish.

Winter tends to hang on like grim death. Those warmer Spring days are teasingly few and far between. If you’re anything like me, you hang out for the sight of new green shoots on willow trees or the sight of a magpie carrying nesting material. They’re certain signs of good times ahead.

Water temps in Wyangala and Windamere make their first upward movements this month. Winter surface temps of 11° and 12° jump up to 13° and 14°. Native fish feel this increase, along with many other aquatic species. Having said all that, a cold Antarctic blast is by no means out of the question. Such a blast can have anglers and fish ducking for cover.


September is usually the first month that Windamere comes into the picture as far as lure-fishing goes. Bait anglers have had the dam to themselves over the Winter and have fared reasonably well.

Trolling lures slowly, using an electric motor, can be a lot more effective in September. Use a strong-actioned lure, something that works well at a slow speed. Deception Shrimps and the 40mm and 50mm Invaders account for many fish at this time of year. The new Viking Talisman should be a real winner as well.

Walking the banks casting lures and baits is always a good option at Windamere and early Spring is no exception. One of the reasons it works so well is that it slows the angler down. Not being in the boat forces anglers into repeat casts to the same area. It also forces anglers to slow down their retrieve speeds as the lures get close to the bank. These two things are exactly what are needed in most situations when fishing for golden perch in early Spring.

Soft plastics are also a good option at this time of year. Squidgy Wrigglers, worked slowly with some hops and pauses close to the bottom, are a sight many golden perch find hard to resist.


While on the subject of golden perch, this Spring could be a good time to get out and try for one in Ben Chifley Dam. As each year goes by, more anglers are catching these great fish. I am yet to land one there but hopefully I can turn it around this Spring. I am told trolling accounts for most fish, with a variety of lures working. Glyn Sargent from Bathurst accounted for a good golden there during the year, a fish in the 6kg category trolled up on a JP Hornet, a locally-made lure from Orange. Glyn said the fish came from the edge of a ribbon weed bed in the early hours of the morning.

Redfin are, of course, the mainstay in Ben Chifley. Reddies bite fairly well over the Spring and September can still see the last remnants of spawning females spread around the dam. Ice jigs and Baltic Bobbers account for many fish in the deep water, while trolling works well around the edges. Baits take a good number of fish as well, with a yabby jigged up and down in a school of fish very hard to beat.


The Spring season is also good for our trout. Some rainbow trout are still in spawning mode and are proving hard to catch. As the waters warm in Oberon, Lyell, and Thompsons Creek dams, their attention quickly turns from the rigours of spawning to feeding. They will be easier to target.

Brown trout have finished their spawning run and have a head start on the rainbows. Lake Lyell is a great place to target these browns. Yabbies play an important part in the diet of these fish.

With the warmer weather and the jump in water temperature, yabbies are on the move and so are the browns. Early morning and late afternoon sessions walking the bank casting lures and jigs is a great way to target these fish. Concentrate on areas where you can see yabby holes above and below the waterline.

Oberon browns are not much different at this time of year, although the yabbies are not in the same sort of numbers. Ribbon weed, of which there is not a great deal around at the moment, is a good place to fish for a brown in Oberon Dam. Make casts with baits or lures on the shallow and deep sides before moving on.


I spent quite some time telling anglers of the fishing available in Thompsons Creek Dam over the Winter. Unfortunately, due to lead times and the forces of nature, the fish put up a no-show. I can only put it down to the lower water levels in TCD.

For the past two or three years up there over Winter the fishing had been sensational, with plenty of visual action. So I do apologise. One can only hope next year will be different.

I look forward to seeing you on the water. Stay tuned to 2KY, Australia’s No1 fishing and boating radio program, for up-to-date reports on the Central Tablelands, usually between 5.30am and 6am on Saturdays.


Glyn Sargent caught this big golden perch at Ben Chifley Dam on a trout-pattern JP Hornet. The fish was caught trolling over the top of a ribbon-weed bed.


September is a great time to target brown trout in Lake Lyell and Oberon Dam. This one was caught in shallow water in the late afternoon.


The Old Man gets in on the act. The author’s Dad likes nothing better than a good Spring day chasing golden perch on Windamere Dam. This one was caught on a Deception Shrimp, still the benchmark lure there, even after 10 years at the top.

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