The depths of winter well and truly surround us now. The cold icy wind will push snow clouds up from the deep south, and clear nights will bring big frosts so thick it will look like snow. However, it’s still great to be on the water.
Introduced species from the northern hemisphere do really well over winter on the Central Tablelands of New South Wales. In fact they love it, trout and redfin are right at home in water temperatures well below 10ºC.
Spawning activities of trout can push a lot of the fish up the rivers, which are off limits, but not all fish spawn at the same time. The fish left in the headwaters of the dams can be very aggressive towards other fish, and this is an opportunity to seize. Large minnows and shad shaped offerings can work well.
On the other side of the scale very small nymphs presented to a sighted fish are rarely refused.
Fly fishing at night in July for trout. It may sound crazy but this time last year local boys Ben Lane and Jason Shanahon accounted for some great trout in the local dams. Needless to say over crowding was not a problem.
This style of fishing is not for the faint hearted or ill prepared. Ben told me on a few occasions they had to leave the water after wading for some time as they could no longer feel their toes or lower legs. Alex Hickson had a trip out with the boys; afterwards he told me it was the coldest he had ever felt in his life.
But for the brave, night fly fishing can really pay off. Large wets some with fluoro beads and dubbing have been the standout flies.
Big redfin over 40cm are hard to come by, especially in summer. I suspect the small ones beat them to the lures most of the time. In winter the tables are turned somewhat, as the small specimens disappear.
Ben Chifley, Burrendong, and Carcoar dams are the go. Casting the edges with lipless crankbaits and small spinnerbaits work well during low light periods. Trolling during the day can also produce some good fish. Look to repeat productive runs and always keep a close eye on the sounder for any changes the fish make.
Down rigging has some merit, especially in the main basin of Burrendong. Just be aware to react quickly to any trees spotted on the sounder.
Hope to see you on the water soon until then tight lines.Reads: 1004