This trip to Windamere had been on my mind for a while. After seeing countless photos of monster golden perch being posted on Facebook and Instagram in years past, I wanted in on the action this year, so a date was set and trip preparations were put in place. Along for the ride was Ash Foxwell.
We set off from Melbourne at 4am Sunday morning and pulled into the campground some 12hrs later & a couple hundred dollars lighter after stopping in at couple of tackle shops along the way for a few last minute supplies.
We quickly setup camp and with the bonus hour of light from the start of daylight savings decided to hit the water for a afternoon fish, we quickly rigged up a couple of rods and set off to explore the lake.
Fishing a new waterway is always both an exciting and daunting task. With next to no information as to where to go or which areas to fish, we set off looking for an area which would somewhat resemble what we target in our home water of Lake Eildon. After a short run we came across a moderately sloping bank with a series of rocky points, a few brush piles and some standing timber and began casting the area. It wasn’t long before we got our first inquiry. Ash was hopping a Mask Vibe around a weed bed, and came up tight, to say we were both surprised with what surfaced was a bit of an understatement.A rather smug looking Long Neck Turtle after munching on a Jackall Mask Vib.
It was my turn next, also working a Mask Vibe across the bottom, I was approaching the end of my retrieve when I received a small tap right under the boat, after a brief but nervous fight we had the first Yella in the boat and solid specimen to open our account.First Fish for the trip after only 30mins fishing – 58cms of Windamere Yellowbelly! Check out the guts on this fish!
Over the course of the next 5 days we learned a great deal about both the fish and the lake. Spending an extended time at a new location really allows you to key in on crucial factors such as daily bite windows, technique & retrieve styles and what type of areas are holding fish.
We found unsurprisingly the most productive fishing to be around dawn and dusk, when the fish were most active and in larger concentrations, even hooking a couple of fish well into darkness.Even well after the sun had gone down we still got fish.
Fishing larger lures such a Jackall Mask Vibes and noisy baits like TN60s were more effective in these periods of low light, I believed this was because of the larger displacement & vibration these lures create, allowing fish to locate them a lot easier. That was the theory I worked on anways and it seemed to work.
Downsizing both line class and lures proved to be effective during the day when the bite slowed down. Ecogear ZX’s proved to be most effective, fished on 4lb leader and 1-3kg rods. Although not dirty fighters, an 8lb+ fish can still give you some hairy moments when fishing “bream gear” around structure.58cm Golden on 4lb is awesome fun.
Double hook up!
Theres not too many places you can go, and catch two 60cm + Goldens in succession.
Although our catch consisted of mainly Yellowbelly, Ash also managed to tangle with a few of the lakes other residentsThis Eel Tailed Catfish was a welcome by-catch during a slow midday bite.
Off back to the depths. Windamere Sunset. The last light fades on our final days fishing.
Windamere has got to be one of the premier Yellowbelly fisheries in the country, for sheer numbers, size and weight of the fish, not many locations come close. Our final tally for the trip was 77 Yellowbelly, 2 Catfish, 1 Silver Perch, and that greedy little turtle! Although this was our first trip to the lake we will definitely be back.
Lake Windamere is located approximately 19kms south-west of Rylstone NSW.
Ex Sydney – 3hrs – Ex Melbourne – 11hrs
WHERE WE STAYED:
Cudgegong Waters Park – (02) 6358 8462. Needing to charge the boat we chose to stay on a powered site, which works out to be $12AUD per person. Powered sites are roomy and offer plenty of parking for both boat and vehicle. The park also offers both cabins and un-powered campsites. Lakeside camping is also available.
Park entry is $6.00 which gives access to the dual lane boat ramp. Both day visitors aswell as those staying at the park are required to pay the entry fee each time they want to enter the park.
Telstra: Partial Coverage Optus: Full Coverage
Golden Perch, Silver Perch, Murray Cod & Eel Tail Catfish
EQUIPMENT & LURES
We used predominantly light gear to target the Goldens.
Rods – 1-3kg-2-4kg Spin rods for throwing light lures, 2-5 & 3-5kg spin rods for throwing heavier lures Reels – 2000-2500 sizes reels Line – 4- 16lb Leader – 4-8lb Lures: Soft and Hard Sinking Vibration Lures 50mm – 60mm, Blades 35-40mm, Medium/Deep Diving Crankbaits, Jerkbaits
Casting – Slow hopping sinking vibration style lures
Medium to Steep banks with structure in the form of standing timber, weed beds and or brush piles.