Lake Lyell

Lake Lyell

Located just 10 minutes drive from Lithgow, Lake Lyell is easily accessible and offers great trout fishing for both boat and shore based anglers. This lake holds some of the best trout found in the district and can be fished all year round.

General Info: Lake Lyell is a lake of substantial capacity which collects water for Delta Electricity to use at Mt Piper Power Station. The lake is commonly used for water skiing, swimming, canoeing, bird watching and fishing.

Water quality and low lake levels can be issues faced by lakes users from time to time. Delta electricity pumps water out of Lake Lyell to other water storages in the area. As a result it is often the last lake in the region to reach capacity after long periods of heavy rain. Low inflows, low water levels and warm summer temperatures often cause algal blooms. The lake may be closed if blue green alga is present in the lake.

Rainbow and brown trout are both common with trolling the most popular method of fishing. Bait fishing, spinning and fly fishing also produce good fish. This lake holds some extremely large trout. Brown trout of more than 6kgs have been taken.

In recent years Lake Lyell has produced fewer large trout, but the bass fishing is greatly improved. Bass fishing is popular over the summer months.

Here is a video by Steve Starling about bass fishing in Lake Lyell

Lithgow council charges a usage fees to access the boat ramp and some other sections of the lake. Fees should be paid to the caretaker at the camping ground near the dam wall. The cost at the time of writing was $4 per day for a car or boat.

Location: Less than 10 minutes drive from the township of Lithgow. Turn off the Great Western Hwy at the South Bowenfels Shell service station onto Magpie Hollow Road. It is about 6 km to the dam wall from the Great Western Hwy. You can also access the back of the lake via Sir Thomas Mitchell Drive.

History & Purpose: Built on the Cox’s River in 1982 at a capacity of 27,000Ml to supply water for power generation. In 1995 the dam’s capacity was increased to 34,500Ml. Trout were present in the lake from the time of constriction and have been regularly stocked since. Australian Bass have also been stocked in great numbers over recent years.

The lake flooded over farming and bush land. When filled the lake disected Sir Thomas Mitchell Drive which crossed Cox’s River near Farmers Creek. Sir Thomas Mitchell Drive is now a good access point from either Rydal or South Bowenfels.

River System: Cox’s River (Part of the Nepean catchment).  Additional flows are provided from the Fish River Scheme via a pipeline from Oberon.

Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Australian Bass, Macquarie Perch & Goldfish

Fish Stocking Details: The number of fish stocked varies from year to year. An average season would see 25,000 trout released into Lake Lyell. A few years back this was more like 40,000. The majority of fish stocked are rainbow trout; however when brown trout are available after a successful breading season the ratio may be closer to half rainbow and half brown trout.

A good period for the lake was from 2003 to 2005. During this period approximately 100,000 browns were released into Lake Lyell, during the same period approximately 90,000 rainbow trout were released.

Capacity: 34,500 Ml

Surface Area: 238ha

Max Water Depth: 38m

Shore Access: The best access points for the main body of the lake are via Magpie Hollow Rd. If you have young children the camping ground is a good place to fish. It has a well maintained boat ramp, a toilet and many other facilities. For those who want to get the car dirty, there is a series of dirt tracks which spread from a trail about 500m past the camping ground. You may need a 4×4 to access this area depending on the conditions. Sir Thomas Mitchell Drive offers good access to the Farmers Creek arm off Magpie Hollow Rd and the Cox’s River arm from Rydal.
To access the lake you are required to pay a small fee to the caretaker at the camping ground. Check the signs in the area you intend to visit for details. At the time of publication the access fee was $4 for a car with a boat trailer. Contact the camping ground for more info.
Phone: 02 6355 6347.

Boat Access: The best boat access is at the camping ground. The bank is soft in most other places and becomes very muddy after rain and when the lake level has dropped.

Restrictions: Boating is not permitted in the vicinity of the dam wall. The council managed land around the lake is patrolled by rangers from Lithgow council. They will check to see if you have paid the appropriate access fee. General trout dam regulations apply.

Water Quality: Algal blooms are a common problem. Blue Green algae outbreaks are caused by warm water temperatures and high nutrient run off from local farms. These outbreaks sometimes close the lake to swimming and boating. Contact the camping ground or Lithgow Council for information on closures or restrictions.

Popular Fishing Methods & Locations:

Bait: Power Bait, yabbies, mudeye and scrub worms are the most commonly used baits in Lake Lyell. Power Bait will take trout at any time of the day or night. Yabbies and worms are commonly used by fisher’s targeting browns. Worms generally catch more fish during the day. Mudeye works well in the warmer months when they are naturally active. Some fishermen have had success with cheese and corn kernels. Checkout some popular bait rigs by following the link.

Boat: Trolling is the most popular method of fishing Lake Lyell. Spooned lures (e.g. Tassie Devil, Alpine Cobra, or Wonder Spoon’s), diving minnows and large hard body lures are best. Flat line trolling works most of the year, but having a down rigger and sounder can greatly increase your chances of finding fish, particularly in warm weather. These tools allow the fisherman to work out where the fish are holding and get the lure in striking distance. Quite often getting the bomb of the down rigger at 5 metres will turn a slow day into a day of action on Lake Lyell. You can also use led-core line to get your lure down. Three colours of led-core line works well. Just watch out for snags in shallow water.

Fly: Wet flies tend to out fish the dries during the day and on cold winter nights (if you can stand the freezing conditions and frozen rod tippet). At night use large dark colour streamers and during the day use lighter/brighter colour streamers or nymphs that will catch the eye of the fish. Pink, red and yellow colours work well, particularly in winter.

As the weather warms up insect hatches occur and offer the best dry fly fishing conditions. Late summer into autumn is dry fly time. Look for fish rising around the edges. Match the hatch and you stand a chance of getting a fish. Grass hoppers and white moths work well when the real things are about.
In summer look for fish smashing midges on sunset. The fish will often sit really close to the edge under green slime all day, when the midgies start to rise on dusk the start to smash the surface in big numbers. When grass hoppers are in big numbers try catching a bucket full and using them as burley. You can use a live hopper on your fly line to catch a fish if your flies are not doing the trick.

Spinning: You can spin most areas of the lake. Yellow and pink spoons are the most popular lures. Yellow winged Tassies seem to catch the most fish particularly when retrieved slowly. Celter’s, minnows, stump jumpers, spinner baits and small soft plastics also catch fish in this lake. In winter large trout patterned minnows will fire up a territorial brown trout.
As with fly fishing adjust the colour of your lure depending on the light conditions. The best place for land based fishing in the area opposite the boat ramp where there are some rocky drop offs next to shallower weed beds and near the Farmers Creek Arm.

Lake Lyell Lithgow

Lake Lyell is a great camping location. Camping facilities are provided at the camping ground. There are toilets, fresh water, BBQ’s and more. You can also free camp in some areas of the lake although restrictions apply. Contact the camping ground on 02 6355 6347 for more details

Public Toilet: Yes at the camping ground provided you have paid the
access fees For more info contact Lake Lyell Camp Ground:
Ph: 02 6355 6347


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