Windamere Dam is located right beside the Castlereagh Highway on the Central Tablelands of NSW just south of the township of Mudgee. There is a council serviced caravan park and camping area on the southern shore of the dam, which has all the basic amenities one would need; except for a fuel outlet. If fuel is required, then Mudgee is only around a half an hour away or the township of Rylstone is approximately 20 minutes away. To get access to the dam it requires a $2 coin to activate the boom gate at the entrance. There is only one boat ramp that can be accessed by the general public at Windamere, but it is has double lanes, and is very good indeed.
Where to stay?
Accommodation at Windamere ranges from un-powered camping through to small cabins that sleep five or six people in a pinch. The cabins are small, and getting in each other's way is the norm rather than the exception. It is also a bit of a walk to the showers and the toilets depending on which cabin you get. Having a hot shower can be a bit of a problem at times. The walk and the sometimes cold shower, are only a minor problem, but have been known to leave a bad impression. However this does not detract from the fishing the area has to offer.
What can you catch?
Windamere has been well stocked over the years with golden perch, Murray cod, and silver perch. Catfish also call the dam home, but they were indigenous to the Cudgegong River prior to the dam's construction. Rainbow and brown trout were also liberated into Windamere in 1984, but this stocking attempt failed due basically to the high water temperatures during the summer months. Trout can be caught up in the Cudgegong River, but you do need to access these areas by foot because your boat would not get you to the areas where the trout are present. Both Rainbow and brown trout can be accessed down stream of the dam, and some exceptional fishing can be had in this area at times. However Windamere is better known as a native species fishery, and a very good one at that. Fortunately European carp and Redfin have not found their way into Windamere, and I hope they never do. You do see the odd goldfish swimming around in the dam, but do not confuse them with carp. The goldfish basically do not do any harm, but if you do happen to catch one dispatch it away from the water just as you would carp or Redfin
|Simon Rees with the sort of golden perch or yellowbelly so many anglers travel to Lake Windamere to catch! This fish would have weighed close to 6 kilos. Like most this size, it was released.
The Best thing
The biggest success story to come out of Windamere would have to be the resident golden perch population that now inhabit the waterway. Golden perch are targeted using all the traditional angling techniques as well as the occasional departure from what would be considered normal or traditional golden perch tactics. These include sight casting with fly for goldenís, and also using some of the rattling spot type jigs; presented either vertical or cast and retrieved. As well a little bit of downrigging is seeing some golden perch as well as silver perch being caught in open water. Now that was something that would not have even been contemplated as little as two years ago.
It was once thought that most if not all freshwater species could only be taken from the margins of impoundmentís, and that the open water sections were devoid of aquatic life. The past couple of years has seen a considerable re-think in this area, and results are speaking for themselves. I have no doubt that this downrigging for our natives had it beginnings in the States by anglers targeting native American species in this fashion. It was some very switched on Queenslanderís that got the ball rolling here in Australia. I donít think this technique is going to be all that big in Windamere, but some of us will still be doing a little work in this area in the future just the same.