The freshwater scene has been all about the redfin over the last few months. Crazy numbers of these tasty morsels are being caught consistently just about everywhere.
Most lakes and creeks have seen a major resurgence of these fish this season, meaning many more smiling anglers around. On top of being super easy to catch in the warmer months, they have been around in crazy numbers. Catching up to 200 fish a session has been the norm.
This month, these fish should move back into deeper water as they start to think about their annual spawning run. This is good and bad news, depending on how you fish.
If you fish from the bank, this is bad news. The fish will congregate in massive pre-spawn schools out in deep open flats in 30-60ft of water. You can still access spots like this from the bank, but it is much easier and more effective from a boat.
Boat anglers, especially those that can read their sounders well, will fare the best from now until the weather warms back up again.
The other great thing about targeting redfin in the cooler months is that you generally catch much bigger fish, as they have packed on heaps of weight from gorging on everything in the shallows over the warmer months. The best way of targeting these pre-spawn schools is by vertically jigging with ice jigs, plastics, blades and vibes, both rattling and rubber styles.
Bait fishing also works great on these fish and a two-bait paternoster rig is very hard to beat. Start with a different bait on each hook like worms and yabbies, and if you find that after six or seven fish they are all taking one type, switch over and load both hooks with their preferred. This can change from day to day, so it pays to always start with the two baits to see what the fish are after on the day that you are fishing.
Another place that has seen one of the biggest resurgences of redfin is Mannus Lake and the Mannus Creek both above and below the lake. Not only are they back in big numbers after about a three-year absence, but thanks to the lake refilling and literally no competition for food, the redfin have grown to great sizes and plenty of 3lb+ specimens are being caught there on a regular basis.
There is still the occasional report of a golden perch being caught in the lake, but I haven’t heard of any trout caught in the lake yet. Lots of golden perch and trout were released into the lake just over two years ago after the lake refilled for the first time since its wall gave way, and unfortunately I’ve not heard of a single trout being caught as yet. The only golden perch I’ve seen or heard of being caught were big ones that must have survived from the original wall failure. If you have caught any small goldens or trout in the lake, I’d love to hear about it. Send me any pictures and information.
This month the Tumut River should be in low flow (fingers crossed), making for some spectacular fishing. While it is in low flow almost the entire river is accessible on foot, which makes it both easy to fish and quite easy to walk to another spot if your favourite hole or section is being fished already, or isn’t fishing as well as you’d like.
Lure and fly selection in the low flow is straight forward. If you’re casting lures, all you will need are some spinners, small hardbodies and some soft plastics. If you’re flyfishing and would like to target fish with dries, you will have to fish the first hour of daylight in the morning or the last hour of light before dark for your best results. Alternatively, if you want to catch fish all day long, it’s hard to beat a small bead head nymph suspended about 1-3ft below an indicator or highly visible dry fly.
The Murrumbidgee River should also be in relatively low flow this month, which will make all the canoe and kayak enthusiasts very happy. While the river is in low flow, it is very hard to fish by boat. You can only fish small stretches of river, normally only a few hundred metres or so before you come across an unpassable shallow rock bar or fast rapid. Whereas, if you’re fishing from a canoe, you can successfully fish long stretches of river with relative ease.
Casting lures is really the only way to go for regular success during the low flows and it’s hard to beat Angel Baits, chatterbaits and big paddle-tail soft plastics. Spinnerbaits will work too, but due to the water generally being crystal clear in the low flows, they will never fish as well as the above-mentioned lures. This was clearly proven last year when my other half and I drifted along behind a couple of fishing identities that only caught four fish on spinnerbaits, where we ended up catching well over 20 fish fishing their second-hand water with Angel Baits.Reads: 164