Fishing around southern NSW

It was time to get on the road again through southern NSW and Victoria to do a series of talks on fishing, but this time around I was keen to avoid staying in hotel rooms each night so I opted for a motor home so I could park by the water and do some fishing before and after work.

First fishing stop was Devil Bend Reservoir near Melbourne, a decommissioned water supply dam which will be opened to fishing in the very near future.

I had the job of helping to appraise the trout fishing, and write up some info on how to fish the lake when it opens.

However, just because a place has been well stocked and has never been open to the public before, it doesn’t mean it will be a push-over – my fishing colleague Lubin Pfeiffer agreed.

But the lake did look very promising right from the start, so we covered ground swiftly to fasttrack our way to pay dirt.

Like many lakes, we needed a small selection of shallow-running floating minnows, shallow-running sinking minnows, deeper-diving minnows, and some suspending minnows as well to work the shallow gutters in the weed effectively. 

Armed with these it was half a dozen casts in each spot before moving 20 metres to repeat the process.  

Sticking with this in various spots around the lake we caught four cracking brown trout in the 1.5 to 2.5-kilo bracket!  

There are much bigger trout in the lake and we can’t wait to give it another go when the lake opens to the general public.

We then toured north through Tocumwal and then onwards to Griffith, talking about the latest in fishing tactics to keen groups of anglers each evening (but making sure we tested the tactics in the local waters along the way).  

On this northern-bound leg I had my two eldest daughters helping out, and they loved being able to wake up and have a cast in a new place each morning.

Griffith was a surprise, friends got into some great fishing for golden perch in local lakes, meanwhile en route to Wagga Wagga I tracked along the Murrumbidgee looking for some fast-water action.

Between Darlington Point and Wagga Wagga there is a good number of weirs and off-take channels with very swift to strong flowing water.  

At this time of year these areas attract migrating golden perch and combined with excellent stocking programs the fishing can be exceptional.

I simply parked by the weirs and had a cast while the kids stayed in the Winny to avoid the strong midday heat.  

It was the third weir I tried that yielded perch and numbers of them, and Caitlin (my eldest daughter) came out to join in the action.  

Swinging a little 5cm long Cranking Rap in fire tiger down and across was the best technique – the goldens were right in close to the bank in the eddies, and we even spotted a good number of free swimming perch in such spots.  

I also sighted a much bigger fish which could only be a Murray cod – metre-plus specimens are caught and released in these areas with surprising regularity.

I jigged a 5cm ripping rap down deeper and hooked what felt like a big snag, however I was preoccupied watching that Caitlin was safe near the fast water and while trying to jiggle the lure off the snag it swam out into the current and shook itself off!  

A big cod no doubt and quite funny I thought – it is closed season for cod and I let them go anyway.

I also had a fish right near the Wagga Wagga Beach Side Tourist Park, where the shallows and in particular the man-made rock wall just upstream is a great spot for golden perch (that’s if you can keep your lure away from the super aggressive trout cod, which of course must also be released).

For table fish  you can keep golden perch year-round, and they are sensational eating.  

They have a high fat content, so they stay nice and moist even on the barbecue – a touch of salt and a squeeze of lemon, served with a salad and chips – who said you can’t squeeze in some quality fishing while on the road for work!

See you on the water,

Rob Paxevanos

Rob Paxevanos hosts Fishing Australia Sunday 1pm on GO!

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