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Go slow or go for trout
  |  First Published: August 2011



August is a slow time of the year in the Murrumbidgee around Wagga Wagga. Cold water shuts down the majority of fish in the system and even the carp quite often don’t even respond to bait.

The good side to this is that the fish that do stay active are the above-average specimens; it just takes many hours of fishing to elicit strikes. I work on one strike a day at this time of year, so patience is necessary.

A key element to eliciting a strike from a Winter Murray cod is casting accuracy –you need to hit them on the head with your lure. If you’re off target by 20cm your chances are a lot poorer.

When trolling, you can’t be worried about losing a lure or two. Bounce your lure along the logs on the bottom and actively fish it. Don’t just sit it back in the holder and hope for the best, hold the rod and make constant changes with your rod tip and drop-back to hug the bottom.

Downstream of Wagga Wagga and out towards Narrandera would be the pick of the spots at the moment.

Trout cod captures seem to be outnumbering the Murrays. Be sure to return the trouties as soon as possible after you catch them because they are an endangered species.

Casting has been the better option over in recent weeks with the best colour for spinnerbaits purple/black or red/black, and copper blades have been definite standouts.

For trolling, choose darker colours.

Old Man Creek has been a very consistent fishery throughout Winter. Spinnerbaits have really come into their own over the past few weeks and are well ahead of hardbodies. Accurate casting is again the key.

The great thing about Old Man is that the smaller cod still seem to bite a little during Winter. Recently there have been reports of fish from 30cm to 79cm there.

One thing that has worked is to run a small to medium hardbody through the faster water that bottlenecks of fallen trees often create. That seems to produce a small fish or two.

With only a few weeks left until the closure of the Murray cod season, I suggest putting in a few sessions chasing a better than average fish. Provided you stick to the keys of Murray Cod fishing, it will only be a matter of time until you’re hooked up to a decent one.

EUCUMBENE

There’s been enough action in the Snowy Mountains to lure plenty of Wagga Wagga anglers over there.

The best thing about winter fishing in Eucumbene is that plenty of action happens in the middle of the day, so you can have a sleep in and a cooked breakfast before getting on the water.

We should start to see a few early spawning brown trout back in the lake this month but their condition will be reasonably poor.

I like to stick to bank fishing through August for a few reasons. Bait fishing at this time of year is generally a pretty safe option, and the fact that you can perch up next to fire with a few mates or the family makes it a relaxing and productive pursuit – not to mention a little warmer than being out trolling.

Walking the bank with a spin or fly rod is another reliable option.

Both of these techniques can deliver exceptional results if you get a good day and find some fish. The constant walking also helps warm up the body and counter some of the effects of the cold.

It’s not a bad idea to use the boat to enable you to cover plenty of water. Just pull up on a good-looking bank and go for a walk.

Trolling has been a bit patchy and it’s been hard to keep warm.

But I can almost guarantee it will really start to pick up by the end of this month, so expect some cracking catches of rainbows and the odd brown within a few weeks.

TACTICS

PowerBait in almost any colour will get bites but it has to float off the bottom to be really effective. Test your rig at the edge of the water before casting it out. Occasionally a heavy-gauge hook will not allow it to float.

Try a Scrub Worm or a Grub on an unweighted rig and cast it out only 2m-5m from shore. The Browns just love cruising the edges after they have returned from spawning and they will take fresh bait over almost any offering.

If you’re spinning from the bank or a boat, you can’t go without soft plastics. You can fish them really slowly and at varying depths. With the water not far off freezing, an ultra-slow retrieve always seems to be more consistent.

I like using paddletails with slow, rolling retrieve but slow hops along the bottom also work.

Anything in a natural or dark pattern will do the job but if things are very slow, change up to bright pink or orange.

As good as plastics are, you still need to carry a few of the Eucumbene staples like Rapala CD5s and CD7s or F5s and F7s. The floating Rapalas allow you to fish a much slower around structure.

Celtas, spoons and Tassie Devils and Lofty’s Cobras work well off the steep banks, just make sure you give them a few seconds to sink before you start your retrieve. Pink, red and natural colours are great Winter options, along with the yellow wing pattern.

Towards the end of August is always a good time for trolling because the weather should be more consistent.

Getting down deep is not necessary but it doesn’t hurt to run a lead-line outfit to pick up a brown. The key with the browns is to target the bottom.

I really like trolling pink lures at this time of year but yellow wing Tassies or Cobras and 5cm and 7cm Rapalas in rainbow and brown trout colours always work.

If you strike a very quiet day downsize your lures – 3cm and at times even 1cm Rapalas can work wonders.

FLY

There is a good chance of polaroiding a brown around the edges around Anglers Reach and Old Adaminaby. These fish will be returning from spawning and will be in pretty poor condition but they will be hungry.

Small nymphs or even a small streamer will undo these fish but be patient and once your offering is in place, twitch it only if the fish shows absolutely no interest.

This brown took a slow-rolled black and gold paddletail soft plastic.

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