Jack Frost shows up
  |  First Published: March 2010

April on the Central Tablelands is all about frosty mornings followed mostly by warm, clear days.

Daytime temperatures are generally around 20°, depending on location. Some of the hills and ranges in the Oberon district are quite high, around 1200m, so these areas can be up to 5° cooler than lower areas. That’s why the trout do so well up there.

Streams such as the upper Duckmaloi, upper Fish River Creek (above Oberon Dam) and the upper reaches of the Tuglow are cool enough to be very hospitable to trout.

Most of the fish are small although the bigger holes, generally on the bends, hold good resident fish.

These large fish know their surroundings above and below the waterline, very well. Anything out of the ordinary is met with a hasty retreat under the bank.

Keep this in mind by staying low and well camouflaged and make your first presentation count.


Lake Lyell and, to a lesser extent, Thompsons Creek Dam, will be well worth a visit for the chance to catch a bigger than average brown trout.

Overnight chills and a corresponding drop in water temperature are triggers for these fish to feed up before the rigours of spawning later in the year.

A very effective way of catching these fish is to walk the banks in the early hours of the morning casting lures or flies. It surprises most people how shallow the fish will be.

Casting from boats back to the shore can be effective as well but I believe the noise of the boat on the water can spook quite a few fish.

Thompsons Creek, of course, is a bank-only proposition but some of the weed beds up there have some great cruising browns to challenge you.


As with the brown trout in Lake Lyell, native fish also respond to the falling water temperatures of Autumn.

With Murray cod, I believe larger food items such as bigger baitfish, redfin where available, crucian carp and European carp will draw the cod to certain locations.

If you can find structure close to a concentration of any of the abovementioned species you will increase your chances greatly.

Golden perch will also react to the cooling water although they will chase shrimp and yabbies. But as the water temperatures drop, these critters are harder for them to find, hence the focus on small baitfish.

Matching the hatch, to use a fly-fishing term, is what it’s all about. The depth of your offering should be your first consideration, followed by the size and shape and then maybe the colour.

Windamere, Burrendong, and Wyangala dams have all suffered from low water levels for quite some time. We have had some recent rain but need quite a bit more.

Don’t be put off, though, as all three dams should fish well in the next month.

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