Have the winter angling all to yourself
  |  First Published: July 2017

If you are like me and go fishing to get out into the great outdoors and away from everyone then July is definitely a great time of the year.

Due to the often extremely cold weather associated with July, most people don’t fish. On some of our lakes and along most of the Murrumbidgee River you will get the entire place to yourself. Add to this the chance of hooking into an extra big Murray cod or trout and it’s easy to see why it pays to rug up and go get amongst it.

This month when targeting natives you won’t get as many fish as you do during the warmer months, but the fish you do get are generally of a much bigger size. This makes braving the elements all worth it. On the trout side of things, July can be a great month for big fish and lots of them.


The Murrumbidgee and Upper Murray rivers often fish really well in July depending on flows. If either is flowing below 2000ML, I strongly recommend making the effort to get there.

For techniques on the rivers it’s hard to beat repeat casting to the plentiful snags and rock bars along these rivers. Recently I am more of an advocate of chatterbaits and Angel Baits for this type of fishing, as they catch far more fish on highly pressured waters. Spinnerbaits will still catch their fair share of fish and are a worthy addition to every cod angler’s tackle box.

In saying this, be careful of the advice you are given about what spinnerbaits are best for a given river or lake. If someone just recommends a brand as the spinnerbait for the job and doesn’t tell you what sort of blade setup or weight to use, they clearly have no idea and I would take their advice with a grain a salt. The reason I say this is there are many blade configurations to consider when using a spinnerbait and there is no one all-rounder.

If you are fishing a river, for example, it’s no good telling someone to use a whatever-brand 5/8oz spinnerbait if you don’t tell them what blade setup to use. A double Colorado setup will perform and fish totally different to a single willow blade setup.

When fishing a fast flowing river like the Murrumbidgee or Upper Murray rivers, the best option is almost always a single bladed option and most often a willow blade, as this setup allows you to still have a good sink rate and not get swept downstream while sinking like a double Colorado blade setup does. The willow blade allows you to fish a lighter weight spinnerbait around 1/2-5/8oz. That will get you to the bottom without being swept downstream first.

If you had to use a double Colorado setup, say, because the water was super dirty, then in the same water flow conditions to get the same sink rate and ability to hold deep on the retrieve like the 1/2oz single blade setup you would have to use a 1 and 1/2oz weighted or more double Colorado setup spinnerbait. It pays to consider your blade and weight setup when choosing which spinnerbait is best, rather than a particular brand that someone is trying to plug.

It seems it wouldn’t be a cod report without mentioning swimbaits and wakebaits. The fishing industry goes in cycles and has trends that come and go; swimbaits and wakebaits are that trend at the moment. These big baits certainly catch fish and have been doing so for many years, but they are nothing new, that’s for sure.

Like all trends though this craze will pass. If you haven’t followed the rest of the crowd already and gone out and mortgaged your house to buy some of these monster creations and a rod and reel able to cast them, I would suggest holding off. It won’t be long and there will be some other new must-have creation.

Fishing goes in trend cycles all the time and at the moment we are going through a wake and swimbait craze. They work great at times and in certain scenarios at certain times of the year (and that time of year is now), but they’re not the be-all and end-all as some anglers are getting into their heads.

Trout lakes

Now that the trout season is closed in the creeks and rivers, it’s time to focus on our lake trout. Jounama Dam is the pick of them for me as it is closest and the fishing can be to die for during winter. Giant trout mixed in with some giant redfin can make for a great day on the water. On top of this the lake has land-based fishing only, so if it gets too cold or windy, just jump back in your vehicle and warm yourself up before you go for another raid. It beats being blown around in a boat all day.

Blowering dam

As I mentioned earlier there will be a lot of anglers out trying for that monster Murray cod this month and Blowering Dam will be a popular spot for this. If natives aren’t your thing, the redfin fishing could be sensational if the fishing for them earlier in the year is anything to go by.

Fish deep this month around the 40ft mark for your best chances at hooking heaps of succulent redfin. Actively bait fishing with a slow lift and drop action with worms or yabbies on a paternoster rig can be great. It’s hard to beat ice jigging at this time of year. If ice jigs aren’t working regularly, give the blades, plastics and rubber vibes a roll and you should soon start catching fish.
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