Do it in the dark
  |  First Published: December 2008

Fishing in January on the Central Tablelands is all about avoiding the heat of the middle part of the day.

I guess you could say that about most parts of inland NSW, with daytime temperatures reaching the high 30s or more it really does make sense to sit back in the shade, cool drink in hand, maybe a good book, and just relax.

Fishing during the early morning or late afternoon, or even into the night are your prime times. That goes for all species and all venues at this time of year.

Brown trout in Lake Lyell are renowned for their Summer nocturnal habits.

Fly fishers for years have done well on this lake after dark.

Beetles can be abundant at this time of year and those unlucky enough to land on the water generally get eaten.

The fish generally start to rise out wide and then work their way in as the light levels drop; sometimes if you are wading they can be taking beetles of the top between you and the bank.

It’s not all about beetles, though. Mudeyes, yabbies and bull-headed gudgeon will also be on the menu, so keep this in mind.


Murray cod love surface lures and January is a great time to be out there doing it in the dark.

Not many people are throwing surface lures in the dams but it’s only a matter of time before it catches on. Wyangala has a good population of cod and on the right evening I’m sure you would see some action.

Windamere’s golden perch show a very keen interest in fire tail gudgeon at this time of year, especially during the early hours of the morning.

These little gudgeon can be seen swimming lazily around the dam close to the surface, although their speed picks up somewhat with 3kg of perch on their tail.

The take is a lot like a barra woofing down a mullet, only on a smaller scale. It’s a real implosion take and once heard it’s never forgotten.

‘Lures of similar size and shape to the gudgeon work well. Trout-type minnows and small, lightly-weighted curly-tail soft plastics are possibly the pick.

The golden perch position themselves around spindly upright trees in quite shallow water and chase the gudgeon out into open water before slurping them down.

They also cruise the edges of weed beds, chasing and eating gudgeon as they go. It’s great to watch when the water is clear enough to see.

The action may only last until just after the first rays of light hit the water, so be up at sparrow’s to cash in.


With school holidays upon us, it’s a great time to get the kids out to chase a redfin.

Along with Burrendong and Carcoar dams, Ben Chifley produces some great numbers of reddies during the Summer.

A depth sounder is a great tool for locating the fish and once you’ve found them, you can anchor up or drift.

Dropping down heavily weighted jigs, blades and soft plastics to the fish and jigging them up and down will have the kids into some action in no time.

Small yabbies are even better. Sometimes it’s a fish every drop, but as my old mate Baz always says, never lose sight of the cleaning afterwards.

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