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Food chain gets a kick-start
  |  First Published: September 2008



Those first little willow buds are coming through, you just spotted a magpie with some nesting material in its clutches, maybe you’ve even cut the grass out the back – all signs that a new season is under way.

On the water, things are changing as well. As the water warms from those extended daylight hours, the shallows of Windamere Dam and other impoundments in the district stir and the food chain gets a massive kick-start.

The shallows close to deep water (usually the old river bed) are my first port of call at Windamere in September.

Golden perch move up into these areas to feed on shrimp, yabbies, mudeyes and, to a lesser extent, firetail gudgeon.

Casting lures from the boat back towards the bank and working them slowly in 1m to 3m can be very productive. Lipless crankbaits, Beetle Spins, soft plastics and crankbaits 50mm to 60mm long all have their moments.

Skirted jigs were a revelation to me at Windamere last year at this time. They outfished lipless crankbaits on some trips.

One thing I learnt was to trim the weed guard, or in some cases cut it off completely; this helped with my hook up ratio no end. Darker colour skirts and the addition of a small trailer with some scent on it rounded off the presentation.

THE BIG ‘B’

A shadow of its former self but still a big body of water, Burrendong Dam is also a great place to target Spring goldens.

It fishes a little differently from Windamere at this time mainly because of the redfin pin fry here. These juvenile redfin are a great source of food for the golden perch.

Burrendong’s topography and nutrient levels are also different and the goldens tend to hold a little deeper than in Windamere.

A more likely depth to target at Burrendong is around 3m to 5m. Quietly trolling lures at this depth can be dynamite, so look to repeat productive trolling runs.

Lures that mimic the size and shape of the redfin pin fry have definite advantages.

Casting lures up tight gullies that have horizontal timber pushed into them by the wind can also be a good option.

TROUT DAMS

Spring is also a good time for the local trout dams.

Oberon has been low for some time but if rains have prevailed and we have water over new ground, it can be a great place to fish.

Brown trout love to cruise the shallows there and it can be great fun actively targeting these fish by polaroiding them and casting a fly or small lure in front of them.

Lake Lyell also produces some great fish in September and flatline trolling various spoons and minnows is very popular.

Walking the bank in the early morning casting small soft plastics and working them close to the bottom is a good way to get a nice brown. This works best if the bottom is clear of any algae growth.

Lake Wallace (‘Wang Dam’) can also fire up now and some of those big rainbows the dam is famous for are on the cards. Most of them will be returning from the spawn run and looking to feed up.

Ribbon weed beds hold a lot of small shrimp in this dam and the rainbows rip into them, disturbing and eating shrimp as they go.

So you have plenty of options for your Spring fishing forays on the Central Tablelands.

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