Winter surprises abound
  |  First Published: July 2017

The waters of the Wallis Lake system and surrounding areas never cease to amaze me. The seasonal visitation of transient species reads like a bucket list of angling achievements throughout the year: small hammerheads in November, giant herring in summer, kingfish in autumn, bonito and small tuna until winter and big slabs of silver trevally during winter – that’s just to name a few.

I guess it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that the pristine water of the lake system invites these visitors in. It happens every year and for the limited time the fish stay, we should exploit the sport they offer.

I happily watched a big school of silver trevally and bigeye trevally mill around a few trays of oyster racks the other day. They were shadowed by a large school of bully mullet, reminiscent of the boiling schools of mullet before the Easter run. The silvers were all around the 2kg mark while the bigeye were closer to a kilo. Either species is worth their weight in fight when hooked up to bream gear. The occasional flash of silver in the water breathes hope into anglers with growing doubt.

The trevally generally stay close to the entrance of the lake, though the odd school will venture further around to areas like the Step. Your best chance to tangle with them is to fish the Paddock racks and washboards as you would for bream, with small soft plastics or hardbodied lures and, of course, baits are also readily scoffed.


There has been a significant thinning of the flathead since the light fresh that flushed through a few months ago. For those looking to gather a feed of flathead I’d suggest you fish your way up one of the rivers to a significant bend and target the shallower inside of the bend.

As the water gets cooler the fish will move further up the estuaries and hang out in shoals. If you find one or two fish, chances are there will be plenty more in the area. Big whiting are also a winter river inhabitant. A bucket of live yabbies is a great way to cover your odds with the flathead, bream and whiting.

While the winter months seem slower with less action in the lake, the truth is it’s the best time to target a trophy bream. Most of the small males up to 27cm are off the coast doing their business, so you have far fewer distractions. Believe it or not, too many small fish can spook the larger ones from biting.

The racks and the flats are two favoured locations for targeting big bream and both can be a raffle as to what you’ll catch. The leases behind Regatta Island hold good fish during July as do the nearby weed flats down toward Coomba Park. Further south, toward the Palms, you could even pick up snapper up to 2kg from the flats.


Tailor have been prevalent along the rocks, as have the migrating bream and luderick. It’s easy to put a mixed bag together with an early morning spin session combined with a bit of berley and bait. Pigs are becoming more common and have upped the ante over the last month or so. To get the best from the pigs we need a good three day southerly to pump the coast. Any of the coastal headlands will produce fish at the moment and Janies Corner has been surrendering a few school mulloway too.

The offshore anglers have been enjoying relatively calm to glassed out conditions and the inshore reefs have produced plenty of pan-sized to 3kg snapper with the odd pearl perch thrown into the mix. I saw a good box of flathead at the Forster tables the other day and the two anglers told me they just target the flatties. It’s nice to know there are plenty around.

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