Cold but plenty of promise
  |  First Published: August 2008

Fortunately for those of us who live on the Central Tablelands or who choose to travel here to fish, the depths of Winter still hold promise.

Northern Hemisphere species such as redfin, brown trout, and rainbow trout thrive in our waters over Winter.

Ben Chifley Dam, near Bathurst, holds reasonable numbers of all three species although it has to be said trout numbers are not what they used to be.

Browns and especially rainbows can be targeted at the back end of the dam during August. Trolling and casting spoons and small minnows in the last deep water before the Campbells River is one way to run into some fish.

Big redfin can also be caught in the main basin, mostly by ripping heavy metal jigs quickly off the bottom.

Find them with the depth sounder first, then drift across the school ripping your heaviest jig (3/4oz or heavier). Be sure to keep in contact with the jig as it drops because this is when a lot of strikes occur.


The more I fish for Murray cod the more I realise that Winter water temperatures have less effect on these fish than I thought.

Maybe the greater body mass of the bigger fish insulates them a little better from the cold, maybe their extra size and body mass needs more food to function, maybe I just fish for them more often! Whatever it is, I am passing the knowledge on.

Don’t put your cod gear away because these fish are definitely catchable during Winter.

Don’t expect a fish a cast, though: You will have to pick your days and work damn hard but the results are there.

Good solid structure is the key. Fallen timber is my first option and ideally you want something the fish can move vertically in and still have good cover.

Standing trees with solid limbs and forks are another good option and the depth of water the tree sits in does not seem to matter. I have caught cod in Windamere from standing trees in 20m of water.

Rock piles, especially in Wyangala, are also good structure. If the rock pile has some form of timber leaning up against it then you have really hit the jackpot.

Take time to search out these areas and you will be surprised what you come up with.


This can be a good time to target golden perch with soft plastics at Lake Windamere.

On any of the warmer days, the north-facing banks and water can be 2° or 3° warmer and this gives the limited food chain a gentle nudge and can attract golden perch into the shallows.

Casting plastics from the bank and working them slowly back up the slope can be quite productive.

Separating the weight from the plastic at this time of year seems to work a little better, two or three split shot crimped to the line 300mm up from the hook is ideal. Craws, grubs and worms are good starting points.

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