Nice weather for dam trout
  |  First Published: August 2008

The next two months traditionally produce the slowest angling across the region. Generally south-westerly winds plague the region for the next month, bringing cold air from the Southern Highlands and the native fish go to ground.

The introduced trout don’t mind. In fact this month usually produces my better quality fish for the year.

However, angling is limited to private lakes such as those discussed in earlier columns. It’s a case of pay or be in the know but, either way, anyone targeting the rainbows this month will enjoy some excellent sport.

If you want to chase a trout but don’t want to part with any cash then give Sheba Dams, near Nundle, a shot. The fishing has been consistently good right through the Autumn and I suggest hitting the dam for an early morning session.

Pack the beanie, thermos and large streamer flies or Tassie Devils and you should pick up a rainbow or two. The Nundle Trading Post in the main street is a good spot for current info and supplies, if you’re heading out that way.

On the native front, I’ve hit the water a few times in recent weeks for nil result.

A couple of weekends ago I drove down to a mate’s property on the gorges near Walcha for a firewood run. The weather was cool but a strong southerly came up late morning.

With the wood cutting on hold, we spent a couple of hours fishing several large dams well stocked with bass and yellowbelly.

Although I tried a variety of lures and flies I never had even a ‘bump’. Adam raised a single fish on a worm below a clear bubble float but it spat the hook before reaching the net.

Normally it is no trouble to land half a dozen fish between us but on this visit it was dead as a doornail.

Reports from regional dams are pretty similar. It seems that although the weather has been mild, fish have gone right off the chew.

Lake Keepit was fishing well until June but appears to have hit the skids. I have heard that Chaffey fired up over Autumn but I expect the action to have backed off there as well.


Copeton can be a bit of a sleeper throughout Winter but few local anglers get out there when the mercury drops.

Shallow trolling, as discussed last month, is the preferred tactic although some surprisingly good fish continue to be spun up along the shore.

Copeton holds larger areas of submerged boulders cliffs than most other regional impoundments. It seems that in conjunction with standing timber, which reduces wave action, such areas hold pockets of warmer water throughout the cooler months.

At this time of year such locations draw the smaller baitfish and the bigger fish aren’t too far away.

Although cricket-score bags of redfin have been noticeably absent at Copeton in recent years, now is the time you may stumble across a dozen or two.

Particularly in mid-depths around the timber of smaller bays, the reddies gather in numbers over the next month. Hot pink soft plastics are a great option but don’t go for heavy heads, lighter jigs allow the offerings to sink slowly down the timber and often this is when you’ll get smacked.

The cod season closure is imminent and in all honesty the green fish will have pretty much shut down.

I’ve heard of a few cod being picked up late to the season over recent months, usually in the western streams. This has probably been helped by the mild Winter; the weather has actually been pretty warm and the barometer stable.

With the breeding season approaching, the cod action certainly tapers away but the drive isn’t generally so strong in the golden perch population.

Yellowbelly feed right through this period, if you can find them. They tend to school up more over the cold months throughout the impoundments, reducing the likelihood you’ll bump into them.

Consider my earlier comments on structure and work lures, rather than traditionally bobbing bait. Fresh baits are killers over the Summer/Spring but generally the best way to target cold water is casting lures.

Get into the timbered pockets of bays and adjacent to shallow weed beds which tend to hold warmer water.


Don’t be overly concerned if you lack a boat. Walking the banks is a pleasant way to explore the shoreline and you’ll also be able to target areas too shallow for boats or inaccessible because of dense stands of drowned timber.

An often overlooked lure for this type of angling is the larger in-line bladed type such as a Celta or Tiger. The lead bodied models facilitate longer casting when the structure is a bit out from the bank but for shallow work the old Celta is a great option.

Years ago I remember reading an article on ultra-light beach spinning. The key was to pick the ‘eyes’ out of the shoreline, working likely areas thoroughly then moving on. The same applies to the freshwater version.

Don’t spend any time on long, flat featureless sections; target the areas I’ve mentioned and be flexible in your approach.

Generally I find endless hours of trolling mind numbingly boring. When we used to fish Keepit a lot I’d nearly always get Dad to drop me off for a couple of hours of bank bashing. The results can be surprising so fill the daypack and give it a go.

I guess most of us in the know tend to spend the next month getting gear sorted, flies tied or hooks sharpened. Despite the difficulties, I’ll continue to duck out for a quick fish through August and September.

The fish are there, it just takes a little extra effort to get them to bend the rod.

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