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New territory opens up
  |  First Published: November 2016



As conditions settle after all the rain we’ve had, all the major dams around Tamworth are fishing pretty well. As I write this, the water is still stained, but guys are still going out every day and catching fish. The water is getting clearer by the day, so things will only get better.

If you’re fishing the dams at the moment, you’ll want to use a lure with good vibration and/or flash to attract the yellas in dirty water. I recommend using noisy lipless crankbaits, or spinnerbaits with flashy blades. Lately we’ve been getting great results on the Jackall Squirrel in brown dog, and the Jackall TN60 in HL gold. When it comes to spinnerbaits there’s no particular standout, but if you want to know where to start, I’d suggest a dark colour such as dark purple, for a good silhouette.

It’s exciting fishing Chaffey Dam at the moment. The increased height of the dam wall, combined with a ton of rain, has resulted in this dam reaching around 140% of its original capacity. For a few weeks after the rain it wasn’t fishable, but as soon as the water started to clear, anglers had a great time fishing all the new ground. The water has flooded all through the old treeline, and it’s exciting to fish up against huge gumtrees that you used to camp under. A lot of guys are getting good goldens from around these big trees.

In Keepit Dam, the best approach is still to cast around rocky outcrops like the first, second and third bays, or troll the quarry. If you prefer bait fishing, your best bet is to get some freshwater shrimp and vertically jig them around the base of the trees.

The rivers were impossible to fish for a while, but the dirty water is clearing up and anglers are catching some nice fish. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to avoid catching a cod at the moment. Using little yellowbelly lures in an effort to avoid catching those big breeding fish isn’t working; the cod are hitting lures of every size. I recommend fishing the dams instead. If you’re determined to fish the rivers and you do catch a cod, please handle it with care as you return it to the water.

I’ve been getting a few reports of some nice trout being caught around the Tamworth district. The trout streams are nice and healthy for a change! I recommend casting some Celta spinners in red/gold. Alternatively, you can try some little Rebel Crawfish. You should use a darker colour because the resident crayfish have been buried for months and haven’t seen any daylight, so they’re quite dark. You have to match the hatch to maximise your catch rates. It’s the same story if you’re using the ever-reliable Rebel Frogs – you should go for one with a light tummy or natural background colour, because the local frogs are just coming out of hibernation and that’s their colouration.

If you like more relaxing fishing, I suggest putting a worm on a size 6-8 hook with no weight. Float it down a rapid into a hole, and sit back and wait.

THE MONTH AHEAD

With the water temperatures still rising, the yellas are well and truly out of hibernation. Over the next few weeks we’ll be in for some serious fishing.

The rivers are settling down nicely after the floodwaters and, provided we don’t get anymore substantial rain events, the rivers will be absolutely spectacular this summer. Both the rivers and the dams are at record highs after eight years of drought, which is great to see. The fishing will only get better as the hotter days come on.

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