Have fish? Must travel
  |  First Published: July 2017

The mornings spent getting the boat out of the shed have been bitterly cold, but the fishing surprisingly sweet if you’re prepared to travel.

The local dams Lake Keepit, Split Rock and Chaffey have been inconsistent to say the least, but if you have some live shrimp at your disposal then this may change your fortune and bring some lovely natives boat side.

If you are willing to travel, then Glenbawn down near Scone has been on fire. Trolling hardbody lures in around 20ft of water around the weed beds is almost a sure thing.

Copeton Dam has also been a Mecca for anglers chasing XXL Murray cod. It’s a 2.5 hour drive from Tamworth, but winter time is the best time to chase trophy fish at Copeton, so if trophy fish is on your bucket list then this is the place to do it.

Although fishing for trout in the rivers is now closed until October. But it’s not all doom and gloom, if you’re a diehard trout angler there are a few stocked dams within an hour’s drive that can keep you content until the season reopens. Sheba, Malpas and Dumaresq dams are all viable options, and in the latter two you also have the by-catch of redfin perch to pull some string, and these can be targeted on everything from spinners, plastics, blades and hardbodies.

Sheba dam

The Sheba Dams up near Hanging Rock north of Nundle is a beautiful place to take the family for a fishing or camping experience they will thoroughly enjoy. They have nice sheltered areas, barbeques, and plenty of walking tracks to take a stroll on. It is also home to an abundance of wild life including ducks, lizards, kangaroos and the occasional wombat, but it is also stocked with rainbow trout a few times a year. Being a dam, the closed season does not apply, so if you need your trout fix before October, this is one place you can scratch that itch and get a bent rod. Baits of worms, small yabbies and PowerBait work well, as do spinners and small flies like egg patterns and nymphs.

Split rock dam

Split Rock Dam has been hit and miss this year. Generally the winter months will see the big cod come out from hiding, but so far the goodoo have been few and far between. Split Rock was once renowned for its abundance of big cod, but has been dormant for a few seasons. If you’re going to find cod, hit the edges early in the mornings until mid morning and from late afternoon and into night with big spinnerbaits and diving lures. Purple and black or blue and black has always been a proven colour combos in the dam, so don’t leave home without a few variations of these.

Make sure you return these big breeders to the water as soon as possible so that they can produce more cod for future generations.

Until then, good luck and tight lines.

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