Hunting cool water
  |  First Published: December 2007

January is all about finding cool water on the Central Tablelands. Whether it’s a deep, willow-lined hole on one of our fabulous trout streams, a deep thermocline 10m or 15m down on Lake Lyell or a shady, bulky snag in Wyangala Dam, trout and native fish will search out these areas to seek comfort from the warm weather.

January is a great time to target cod on surface lures. Their metabolism is very high and there are a lot of insects, lizards, snakes and small birds on or around the water.

Given the chance, the cod will feed on all of these tasty offerings.

So when your surface lure lands close by you can bet a fish will be watching and listening. The big fish will be a little more wary, especially if they have heard the commotion of a clumsy pair of feet on the bottom of an aluminium boat or the thump of size 10 boots thundering along the bank.

Don’t be afraid to throw surface lures in dams such as Burrendong or Windamere, either. I have not caught cod on surface lures in either of these dams, nor have I heard of anyone doing so, but stocking rates of cod have increased in these dams over the years and it is only a matter of time before we start getting them on surface lures. And you certainly wont get one if you don’t tie on a lure and give it a go.


Trout will seek out the depths of lakes such as Lyell and a quality sounder will help you find these fish. Concentrate your efforts in the deeper parts and look for a thermocline (an area of rapid temperature change that can be picked up as a thin cloudy line on your sounder). This is usually found between 6m and 15m at this time of year.

Fish arches will show up just above or through this cloudy line and then it’s just a matter of getting your downrigger bomb and trolling a lure down to the fish.

Keep in mind that an increase in trolling speed may be required to impart the same action in your lure at depth.

Fly fishers should use a full-sink line and a weighted fly from a boat to drift over fish found on the sounder.


Carcoar and Ben Chiefly dams will be good options this month, with plenty of ravenous redfin on the chew.

Working soft plastic grubs and worms on heavy jig heads down to these fish can result in some hectic action. Kids on school holidays can have a great time pulling them up from the depths.

Be warned that the holiday period is always busy time on local waterways so be patient and alert. You can catch me most Saturdays bright and early on Hi-Tide radio with Kieran and Bruce between 5am and 5.30.

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