Low light smorgasbord
  |  First Published: December 2009

January is generally the hottest month of the year on the Central Tablelands and daytime temperatures into the high 30s and low 40s change the game somewhat.

These high temperatures affect trout and native species. The good news is that they can concentrate fish in certain places, especially trout in our lakes and dams.

Depth and cold water are what it’s all about for these fish. The trouble with that is it can take some specialised techniques such as downrigging, lead-core flatline trolling, full-sink fly line, deep jigging and others.

When fishing from a boat a quality depth sounder can get you in the correct area quickly.

It’s a matter of concentrating your efforts where you can see fish on your sounder. Chances are the fish will be associated with a concentration of baitfish in or around the thermocline, a rapid change of water temperature. The depth of this can vary according to temperatures and local conditions.

Lake Lyell, near Lithgow, is a good location for these techniques but bear in mind that it is a very busy piece of water at this time of year, especially during holiday periods.


Lake Lyell and, to a lesser extent, Lake Wallace could well be worth a try for a bass this month.

I would concentrate my efforts after dark with a leaning towards surface lures around 50mm to 70mm long worked around the shore edges and weed beds.

Small wet flies in the surface film worked slowly have been winners in previous seasons and fly fishers targeting trout after dark have been catching small bass for quite a few years now.

Other native species in other dams in the district also respond well at night.

The full moon offers an advantage in being able to see well but I am not sure if it makes a real difference to catch rates.

There is plenty of evidence that the dark period of the moon cycle may actually fish better; it’s just that not as many anglers fish this part of the cycle.

I know from my experience how many times the bite has shut down as soon as the moon has risen above the ridgeline.


Late afternoon sessions casting for cod – what a way to end the day!

I generally start out with a subsurface presentation cast as close to good-looking structure as possible.

Keep in mind the sun’s position and where this may position the fish. I keep saying chase the shade, as this will be from where cod like to launch their attacks.

As the light levels drop, the cod become more active and by the end of the session you can be throwing your surface lure just about anywhere and still getting smashed.

The back end of a high-pressure system is the time to go, with the bite reaching fever pitch before the next change comes through.

Don’t be shy with your lure size at this time of year. The cod’s metabolism is possibly at its highest, so large meals are well truly on the menu.

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