What a great time of the year to wet a line – so many options, so little time!
Trout rivers such as the Fish River, the Duckmaloi and their various tributaries all fish well at this time of year.
With the weather cooling off, particularly the night temperatures, camping out is also a very good option so there’s plenty of incentive to get out there.
Golden perch, Murray cod and other native species are also very active at this time.
Lakes and dams such as Windamere, Burrendong, and Ben Chifley will still be busy with other water users but that doesn’t seem to worry the fish too much.
I remember catching redfin at Carcoar Dam quite a few years ago with water skiers buzzing around me everywhere.
Where do the options end?
Fair dinkum, it’s a real quandary these days when I go down the shed to prepare for a trip locally.
What do I fish for? What do I pack? So many lures, so many rods.
Bass at Lake Lyell could be a real good option, especially if they close the dam to outboard-powered boats due to low water levels.
This possibility was looking strong at the end of February, so make sure you check with Lithgow council authorities before heading up this way.
Last time they closed the dam there was some good fishing for bass and trout for those with kayaks, canoes and other watercraft.
Bass populations are not high in the dam so a good quality sounder can help find fish much quicker.
The average size of the fish is only small so they tend to be in a school or loose group, which makes them stand out on the sounder.
Seeing the bass on the sounder and catching them are totally separate things, though.
Soft plastics can be a good option, especially if the bass are a little deeper.
If the fish are shallow, it’s more effective to sit off them, then throw small deep-diving cranks or spinnerbaits.
Small surface lures cast up into the gullies and along weed-lined edges at dawn or dusk can also have you leaning into a bass.
With water being pumped up to Thompsons Creek Dam from Lake Lyell during late February, we saw a level rise there.
This extra water could encourage the rainbow and brown trout to venture into the shallows, especially if we get a few cooler days and nights in early March.
Early morning fish spotting could be on the cards.
Fly-fishing is a great way to target these trout because the presentation is generally soft and delicate – depending on the ability of the caster.
Small soft-hackle wets or nymphs can be deadly.
Lightly weighted soft plastics cast on threadline gear could also be an option.
Night fly-casting with larger flies has always been a popular option up at TCD, with some great fish being caught at times.
Beetle patterns can be effective if the fish are rising but if they’re not, a mudeye pattern retrieved very slowly just under the surface can be deadly.
It’s great to see a fishery come on line and progress and Murray cod in Ben Chifley Dam are one such case.
Five years ago it was a struggle to get one there. Now, by specifically targeting the fish and being patient, it is highly likely that you will succeed.
To date, rocky areas around the dam have been the best structure to target. Spinnerbaits have been the lures to use, although rattling lipless crankbaits have also accounted for a few fish.
It’s great to see caring anglers returning these fish to the water after catching them. The majority of the fish have been 45cm to 65cm and fatter cod you will not have seen.Reads: 959