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Thinking of doing a fishing trip to Canberra and was doing some research. Found this article so thought i'd share it


Canberra is probably not the first place that springs to mind when you mention the word fishing. But for a city hundreds of kilometres from the coast, Canberra is very angler-friendly.

A lot of keen fisherpeople call Canberra home—and with good reason. Canberra-based fishos are blessed with an abundance of first-class fisheries within a comfortable drive of the capital.

From the sweetwater of the NSW Snowy Mountains to the cobalt currents of the far south coast, Canberra anglers can chase a wide variety of species against some of the most stunning backdrops the country has to offer.

With the summer holidays now upon us, more locals are likely to wet a line over the coming month than at any other time of the year. So if you're staying in the Canberra region over summer, and you're keen to catch a fish or two, here's a guide to fishing a handful of my favourite spots within easy reach of the capital.


Alpine creeks

Fishing the "top of Australia" ranks as one of my favourite summer pastimes. There are scores of rivers, streams and creeks criss-crossing the NSW alpine region—and many are full of plucky little brown and rainbow trout.

The waterways I'm talking about begin as tiny trickles above the treeline before meandering their way through the snow gums and alpine tussocks of the stunning Snowy Mountains region.

I first stumbled across these unique fisheries more than 25 years ago and have been fishing them once or twice a year ever since. Snowbound for at least six months of the year, these high altitude streams fish best over the warmer months, especially from January onwards.

That's because of one key factor—insect activity. Once those mountain grasshoppers, moths, March flies and other terrestrial insects get moving, so too do the trout. You'll catch plenty of trout over the next month or so by simply casting small hard-bodied minnows (the kind you might use for bream or redfin) or tiny bladed spinners (like the iconic Celta).

If dry fly fishing is your thing, then these waterways are a must-visit. Tiny hopper pattern flies presented on ultra-light fly gear will do the trick, with catches of dozens of fish per day not uncommon.

Don't expect the trout to be big, though. The fish in these little streams are diminutive; a 30cm specimen is above average.


Mountain lakes

Canberra anglers are fortunate to live within a comfortable drive of arguably the two best trout lakes in the country —Eucumbene and Jindabyne.

The two largest lakes in the Snowy Hydro scheme, Eucumbene and Jindabyne have been heavily stocked with trout over many decades and the fishing can be so good that both draw anglers from across Australia, all hoping to tangle with a big brown or rainbow.

Trout relish cold weather and low water temperatures, but you can still catch them in the middle of an Australian summer. If you're fishing Eucumbene or Jindabyne in January, try to focus on very early morning or late evening sessions—this is when trout will emerge from the depths to feed close to shore. After dark can be dynamite, too!

One of the best techniques at this time of the year is to rig a live mudeye under a float and fish it about 10 metres from the shore.

Alternatively, you can troll lures in the day using downriggers or leadcore line to get your offering deep enough to find holding trout—and that's often 10-15 metres below the surface.

In addition to rainbow and brown trout, Lake Jindabyne is home to brook trout and Atlantic salmon, so anglers can aim for what's known as the Jindabyne Grand Slam (all four species in one day)!

Some of my favourite spots at Eucumbene include Middlingbank, Buckenderra, Seven Gates and Anglers Reach. At Jindabyne, likely locations include Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay, Curiosity Rocks and Kalkite.


Canberra's lakes

I'm pretty sure Walter Burley Griffin never imagined that the centrepiece of his design of the nation's capital, Lake Burley Griffin, would turn into such a productive fishing location.

Most people - especially non-fishers - are still pretty surprised when I talk about how good a fishery Burley Griffin is.  "But isn't it just full of carp?" most ask. Well, the lake does harbour its fair share of carp, but there's a lot more to Burley Griffin than these bottom feeding mud suckers.

Well over 1 million fish have been stocked into the lake since the 1980s. Stockings started with trout, but they weren't overly successful. Subsequent stockings of golden perch and Murray cod, however, have survived and thrived. In fact, I reckon the fishing for these native species right now in Burley Griffin is as good as it's ever been.

Golden perch (or yellowbelly) are the main drawcard, and the lake is home to some of the largest goldens in the region, with fish over 5kg on offer. One of the best areas to target these fish is around Black Mountain Peninsular, where the water is deep and food (in the form of small redfin) is plentiful.

Deep-diving minnows, spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, metal vibes and soft plastics are all effective lures. You can also catch golden perch on a scrubworm or yabby fished close to the bottom - this is a great option for shore-based anglers.

The deep sections of Lake Burley Griffin also hide some enormous Murray cod, including fish well over a metre long and 50kg in weight. If you're interested in fishing the lake with an expert, National Capital Sportfishing now runs guided fishing trips on Burley Griffin, targeting golden perch, redfin and cod. 

Visit www.canberrasportfishing.com.au of look them up on Facebook.

Clyde River

The Clyde River thoroughly deserves a mention in my Top Five list for a few reasons.

Firstly, it's huge! It begins as a tiny crystal clear freshwater stream high up in the Budawangs before meandering its way some 100km and spilling into the Tasman Sea.

Because it's so big, it winds its way through diverse terrain, from dense temperate rainforest through to rocky gorges, before hitting the ocean at Batemans Bay.

It's also the closest saltwater to the capital. Canberra anglers can jump in the car and be fishing the river at Nelligen in well under two hours. It's between the two highway bridges – at Nelligen and Batemans Bay – that most of the fishing action occurs.

Flathead, bream, tailor, flounder, whiting, trevally and estuary perch are abundant and can be caught from a drifting boat on soft plastic lures and fresh and live bait. The Clyde is a very deep, swift-flowing estuary that can be difficult to fish. Makes things easy by fishing close to the banks, where the shallows give way to water between two and four metres - this is where many of the fish will be. You can't go wrong by casting soft plastic lures around these areas; bumping them along the bottom will coax flathead, bream, flounder and trevally to bite.

Fresh baits like nippers or yabbies pumped from the sandflats yourself will be snaffled by whiting, bream and flathead.

For the adventurous, the upper reaches of the Clyde, where the brackish meets the fresh, are renowned for producing Australian bass. Grab a kayak and explore some of the most stunning country on the south coast.



Okay, I admit Bermagui is a bit more than two hours from Canberra (it's 3hrs on the dot) but I couldn't leave it off my list.

I can't think of a better all-round fishery on the NSW coast than this sleepy little fishing town. Bermagui offers the visiting angler everything from blue-ribbon offshore game fishing through to first-rate rock and beach angling and bread and butter estuary fishing.

For me, though, the town's biggest drawcard is its almost unfettered access to top-shelf offshore fishing. Within a short boat ride of the harbour, anglers can quickly find excellent fishing for tasty reef species such as tiger flathead, snapper, morwong and nannygai.

The iconic Montague Island is close by, offering some of the best angling for kingfish in the country. Bermagui is also one of closest ports on the East Coast to the Continental Shelf, which means it's a relatively short trip to very deep water harbouring the most sought after game fish in the world - blue, black and striped marlin.

If you prefer a slower pace, a relaxed session on the Bermagui River or nearby Wallaga Lake is bound to yield a flathead, bream or whiting.


Things to remember

Anglers 16 years and over fishing the snowy mountains or the south coast this summer will require a NSW Recreational Fishing License. These can be purchased from most tackle shops or via www.dpi.nsw.gov.au Licenses cost $7 for three days; $14 for one month; $35 for one year; or $85 for three years. No fishing licence is required in the ACT.

Size and bag limits apply to trout, natives and many saltwater species. Fisheries inspectors are often out checking catches over the peak holiday period—so make sure you're across the rules and regulations. Visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au


This was the article: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-and-the-capital-regions-best-fishing-spots-revealed-20171221-h08lz3.html

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