Happy Perchtober!
  |  First Published: October 2008

You would be hard pressed to find an unhappy angler on the Central Tablelands at the moment, there are just that many good fishy options available.

Murray cod are the obvious exception with the closed season until December 1 but, for everything else, it’s all go.

Hopefully with some good Spring rains the dam and river levels will be on the rise, increasing fish activity in the shallows and making presentations of lures, baits, and flies a little easier.

Perchtober, what a month! That’s what I call it, anyway, it’s possibly the best month of the year to tangle with a golden perch.

Windamere, Burrendong, and Wyangala dams hold good populations of golden perch but each impoundment fishes a little differently for them.

As I mentioned in last month’s column, Windamere’s waters hold higher nutrient levels and therefore has more weed beds in shallow water. This growth encourages fish to hunt for the abundant shrimp, mudeyes and gudgeon that live in and around the weed.

Treetops with good algae growth out in deep water that reach up to the surface or just below also hold a lot of food which the golden perch take full advantage of.

Treetops also allow the fish to move up and down in the water column without moving far from the food source. It’s a bit like not moving to far from the fridge when you want a beer.

Burrendong’s nutrient levels are nowhere near the same, as a general rule, and golden perch there tend to hold a little deeper.


One thing Burrendong does have, though, is a large biomass of Spring food in the form of redfin pin fry; don’t underestimate the role these tiny morsels have on the golden perch, especially this month.

The goldens become quite pelagic in nature, hunting them out in deep, open water and sometimes even pushing them to the surface like tuna. Pity they didn’t fight like tuna but they’re still great fun on light gear.

Wyangala’s golden perch growth rates are nowhere near the other two dams due to a lower nutrient level again and competition for a smaller food source. The shrimp and bull-headed gudgeon that take cover in the many shale and granite rock beds hold the key to catching goldens here.

For some reason, Wyangala seems to turn on a real frenzied bite at dawn and dusk. I know that these are great times to fish anywhere but, for some reason, Wyangala seems to really turn it on at these times compared with the other two dams.

I cannot put my finger on a reason yet, but I’m working on it. Maybe a large, mottled creature otherwise known as a cod hunting at night has something to do with it? Eat your food quickly, kids, and let’s get the hell out of here.

I hope Perchtober is kind to you; I will have had my fill by the end of November, just in time for the Codcember 1!

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