It’s Rocktober!
  |  First Published: October 2003

I wouldn’t trade a day of any other month for a day in October. October rocks! Take your holidays, tell the boss where to go, and get out there. The fishing can be that good on the Central Tablelands of NSW.

Finally – some rain worthy of mention across the Tablelands! It was great to see water run-off in all the gullies, some of which hadn’t had water in them for nearly 12 months. Hopefully some follow up rain will be forthcoming.

Back in late August / early September Burrendong Dam rose over 10 percent in a week. Wyangala and Windamere didn’t fair quite as well but they still got a small rise.

Spring patterns

Whenever you get an influx of water and a rise in water levels it pays to fish shallow. This goes for all species and all methods of angling. Water over new ground after such a long dry period will have fish coming from all directions. Drought on the land means drought in the water, so when the drought breaks the food chain gets a real shot in the arm.

Bait anglers possibly do best from a flooded ground situation. The water us usually little dirty so bait has the added attraction of smell. Small inflows, such as little gullies, are prime spots, and worms are the top bait. Keep your terminal tackle as light as possible for the situation. Keep your casts short, especially if the water is dirty, because most of the fish will be close to the bank.

Lure and fly fishers don’t miss out either. A change of tactic is needed though, with bigger, bulkier presentations being the order of the day. Use spinnerbaits for our native fish, and suspending rattling crankbaits for the trout species. Plain black is a good colour for dirty water. Flyfishers should go for something big, black and nasty; large woolly buggers are hard to beat.

The good thing about these patterns is they apply to all our dams and rivers across the Central Tablelands in October where you have an influx of water.

Lake Lyell bruisers

Lake Lyell has turned on some sensational fishing right through the year for those in the know. A small group of anglers from the Orange area put in a big effort there.

The trout caught and lost at Lyell are astounding. One story of an angler hooking up and being spooled was one such case. Admittedly the angler was using lead core line, which does take up a fair amount of space on a baitcaster spool, but still…! Apparently the angler was getting low on line and could see the spool appearing at a rate of knots as the unseen ‘Godzilla trout’ steamed off into the distance. Not trusting his spool knot (who would) he dropped the outfit to the floor of the boat and started to handline the fish. After some time and some regain on the line by hand the great Godzilla trout decided enough was enough and departed the scene, breaking the leader tied onto the end of the lead core line. Wow!

One of the secrets to these anglers’ success has been big lures, namely the No. 2 StumpJumper. Pink and purple in combination has been a good colour scheme.

How many of you carry No. 2 StumpJumpers in your trout box? There wouldn’t be many trout anglers who do. I know for a fact that Ritchie Ryan has taken strikes on the No. 1 Stumpy while trolling Lake Lyell. How scary is that?

Trout season opener

The long weekend in Rocktober is a weekend that many people look forward to. This year may be a little different. With possibly the worst drought in 100 years just broken it will take years of restocking the rivers and streams with trout to get them back to pre-drought days. All is not lost though, as some streams still hold the odd fish.

The tailrace fishery below Wyangala Dam could be worth a look, along with some of the rivers directly upstream of our major dams, Rivers such as the Coxes River above Lake Lyell or the Campbell’s River above Ben Chifley Dam. These rivers may have benefited from trout moving upstream from the dam when we had an influx of new water.

Heading off to trout waters further south could be an option. I recommend making a few phone calls to tackle shop owners down that way to get the latest.

Trout releases

Early Spring saw the release of 30,000 trout fingerlings into some of the local dams. Lake Wallace, Carcoar, and Ben Chifley dams shared the batch of fingerlings.

All local trout stocking groups, in conjunction with NSW Fisheries, have many more releases planned for this month and next. Waterways such as Lake Lyell, Oberon Dam and most of the district’s streams and rivers will be receiving plenty of trout. Let’s hope the birds and redfin don’t get too many.

Burrendong bite

I am going to stick the old neck on the chopping block here and make a bold predication: Burrendong could be the place to fish this month. If memory serves, the last time Burrendong had a big rise it fished really well. I remember some switched-on guys from Wellington who actually preferred to fish it over Windamere for golden perch when Burrendong got its last big rise.

There will be a lot of floating debris about the place and plenty of dirty water up in the arms so take it easy in the boat. Those Spring patterns I mentioned earlier could be red hot.

Good luck

Good luck to all the guys and gals who made it into the ABT Yamaha BASS Pro grand final at Bjelke-Peterson in Queensland, especially those from NSW. Steve Almond from the Hunter Valley came through with a great first place in the non-boater division, and second place overall, at Boondooma in the last round. Go the Blues!

Remember you can catch me live on 2KY for Australia’s No1 fishing and boating radio program on Saturday mornings at 5:30am to 6:00am.

1) Lake Lyell rainbow trout don’t get much bigger than this 3.8kg specimen, caught by Ritchie Ryan from Orange. Ritchie is the gun when it comes to catching big trout!

2) Tom Mackenzie, owner of Canobolas Marine in Orange, caught this 2.5kg brown in Lake Lyell. Precision depth trolling and large lures play an important role in the guy’s success.

3) The author with a golden perch from Lake Windamere. The rock wall in the background soaks up sunshine all day and the surrounding water heats up as well, getting those old perch rockin’!

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