After so many seasons of little rain and low, unproductive rivers and streams, I felt almost spoilt for choices on the trout opening weekend.
For the fist time in four years or longer, it wasn’t a case of hunting around until we found a stream that held fish. Everywhere we went the water seemed to be teeming with the buggers.
First stop were the rolling hills of the Ebor district. The Guy Fawkes River at Ebor had all and sundry trying their luck. With rumours about that there were some ex-hatchery fish up to 7kg stocked near the Common, everyone was keen and the kids were out in force.
By all accounts they weren’t disappointed and the pictures of children, posing with their prizes, being shown at the pub that night were great.
A little farther afield in the surrounding streams there were plenty of small to medium fish as well as the rare trophy to indicate the past two years’ stockings had survived.
The evening hatch was well worth hanging around for and we grassed a stack of fish that eagerly took Royal Wulffs and Elk-Hair Caddis drifted down the shallow runs. The larger fish were harder to tempt but still fell to the trusty Woolly Buggers and Booby Flies fished in the deeper holes.
Closer to Armidale, the story is the same; Plenty of trout for those willing to look. The class of fish in these streams is a bit larger for (a result of the bigger food, as discussed in last month’s column) but they still fell for the usual flies – Buggers and Boobies.
A new technique learnt from a client was fishing boobies on a floating line so that they hung just in the surface film, causing a small, bulging wake on retrieve. This tactic worked after matching the hatch failed – showing it always pays to keep your mind open. I’ll be adding that one to my arsenal of tricks, for sure.
November has always been when I start to make the most of the warmer weather and get into the upper Macleay bass. With the water now over the magic 20° and the cicadas starting to hatch, the surface fishing can be terrific and will only get better.
Don’t be afraid to try surface lures at any time of day as the bass will be constantly on the look-out for food from above. In areas where the they can be a bit cautious, concentrate on getting your presentations right in under the cover and you won’t be disappointed.
If the river level stays up this season, another good place to target is the head of the pool where the rapids run out. When the water’s up, big fish will congregate here waiting for food to be washed down and are real suckers for a diving lure or spinnerbait.
When the sun drops, a surface lure chugged over these spots can also be a good producer, particularly if the water is very clear and the fish aren’t hitting much during the day. It’s amazing how they just materialise when the sun goes down.
Rising water temperatures are also a trigger to get the yellowbelly fired up in the rivers and dams on the western fall. By November these fish are fired up and waiting for the right trigger to breed. It’s often now that we experience the best fishing for goldens.
Their usual timidity is replaced with hungry aggression and they’ll regularly take a variety of lures.
Fishing the usual golden haunts you’re sure to bump into the occasional Murray cod as well. Just remember, these guys are out of bounds until December 1 so if you do catch one, make sure you keep it in the water and slip the hook out with a minimum of fuss.
November is always a good time to target yellowbelly and fish like this one held by Jamie Flett. They will regularly hit a variety of lures.Reads: 416