August can be a very windy month on the Central Tablelands, making fishing very uncomfortable for those who are not prepared.
It may be sunny and 17° when you leave the coast, but two-and-a-half hours away and 900m higher, it’s 5° or 6° and the wind could blow the dog off its chain.
The upsides to all this are no crowds, plenty of peace and quiet and the opportunity to catch some great fish.
Brown trout as a general rule will have returned from spawning activities up in the rivers and will be very hungry.
Waters such as Oberon Dam and Lake Lyell are prime targets for these fish at this time of year.
Low-light periods are your best bet for these browns, especially if you’re walking the banks throwing lures and flies.
You will be surprised at just how shallow these fish will be.
Try to stay back from the water’s edge and keep elevated where possible – quite often you will spot the fish cruising the shallows looking for any tasty morsels to eat.
More often than not these browns will be working a regular beat.
If you think that movement will spook the fish then it probably will, so don’t move.
Wait until the fish moves past, then make a cast.
Try not to line the fish (land the line over the top of the fish). A neat little trick is to lay the line along the bank with just the leader and fly, or lure for that matter, landing in the water in front of the fish.
The fish’s reaction to your presentation will tell you immediately if it’s been a success.
If the fish moves in the direction of your fly or lure and looks like an excited puppy dog just about to be fed, you know you’re on the money.
If it bolts off in a cloud of silt, well ,you missed out on that one and it’s time to move on.
Burrendong, Ben Chifley and Carcoar dams should all have populations of large redfin keen to attack metal jigs, soft plastics and trolled lures but finding them can be difficult.
They quite often hang on the edges, or under large schools of small redfin, so keep this in mind.
Sometimes a heavy jig can get through the smaller fish to the bigger ones below.
Another method that can be worth a try is to slowly drag a scented soft plastic through the mud on the bottom. Andrew Pullbrook from Orange put me onto this tactic a few years ago.
Early morning and very last light are also better times for the bigger fish – not easy when it’s cold and windy.
The main basins of these dams have been kind to me over the years as far as redfin go, which is fine by me because a run up the dam in an open tinnie at this time of year is not as pleasant as it is in Summer
A Murray cod is still not out of the question in August, the last month of the cod season, so keep this in mind when packing the boat.
A few hours out of your day actively targeting these fish at this time of year can be well worth the effort.
I would pick the warmest two or three hours and don’t mess around with the small stuff, go the whole hog with big lures.Reads: 1011