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Late season, hot fish
  |  First Published: December 2010



With Summer’s arrival the water temperature in our rivers and dams is continuing to rise, making for productive and exciting fishing this month.

The seasonal weather patterns appear to be about at least a month later than usual this year so we may not see the usual hot westerlies until after Christmas.

The rivers have been fishing really well over the past month with the bass smashing surface lures in the early mornings and again as the sun falls.

In the tidal sections I like to fish the run-out tide and work right up under the cover as the water level falls.

A very interesting by-catch over recent weeks in the Hunter and the Williams river above the weir at Seaham has been some really nice mullet, which have been absolutely nailing small surface lures almost as well as the bass.

These small topwater lures are around 35mm long and include the Heddon Teeny Torpedo, Jackson T Pivot and Koolabung Popper.

In the very low light I find solid, dark patterns best and as the day becomes a little brighter, clearer patterns become a very good option.

Once the sun gets higher, the surface bite begins to taper off and the fish move out into the main river section. Then deep crankbaits, lipless cranks and spinnerbaits work really well.

So do 40mm to 50mm blades as they can be worked over a long distance and very close to the bottom in the deeper sections.

The blades are also very productive on the long, shallow flats of the lower reaches where the bass are feeding on prawns. Quite often while targeting bass here you will encounter nice flatties and the occasional bream.

Up in the Barrington Tops there has been heaps of rain so all the streams are carrying plenty of water and fish and there is also plenty of food for the recently released 10,000 brown trout and 10,6000 rainbow trout fry.

The fish were well grown and were approaching fingerling size rather than fry and were sourced from the Dutton Hatchery near Ebor.

THE DAMS

The fishing at Lake St Clair has been very up and down recently, which could be because of the very unpredictable weather.

But with the dam at its present healthy level there should be some nice weed areas forming around the Main Basin.

There are signs of shrimp appearing around the banks, along with schools of gudgeons and smelt. But these schools are moving around a lot and so are the bass, so where you caught fish today can be very different tomorrow.

Work the edges very early with surface lures and reaction baits and as the day progresses, head out into 5m to 6m depths with blades, spinnerbaits and deep crankbaits.

If the bite is very slow or the barometer is low or falling, working soft plastics is a very good option. Use them very close to the banks or cover, adjacent to the weed.

The Fall Brook and Carrowbrook arms have some good areas now for lure casters and bait-soakers, especially from the start of the 8-knot zones.

Some of the timber now has plenty of depth, around 8m – ideal to drop a nice yabby, shrimp or worm down for some catties, bass, goldens and silvers.

The bank fishing is also very good in December, with the foreshore around the camping area very good for bass and the giant catties which can be seen protecting their nests.

This dam will see some bass stocking this month via the I&I Fisheries dollar for dollar program and Singleton Fly Fishing Club and Australian Bass Tournaments.

Lake Glenbawn has been fishing fairly consistently over the past month and has been receiving some good inflow from the Barringtons, which usually makes for a very good Summer of fishing.

Over recent weeks there have been plenty of bass caught along with some goldens and silvers. The majority of the catches have been by lure with some on bait.

ACTIVE BASS

This month, with the lateness of the Summer season, the water temperature should reach the mid 20°s. The bass and goldens will be very active and schools of gudgeons and smelt should appear in large numbers.

These bait schools move into the shallows in low light periods when the bass and goldens feed and this is where surface lures are the best option.

As the day progresses the fish move back into the deeper water where they are best targeted with deeper presentations such as lures or plastics.

Trolling is also a very good option where the depth is around 4m-plus.

The lower section of the dam, especially around the entrance to Boat Harbour and along the big and little walls is always worth fishing. Trolling reasonably deep lures is effective, and purple is a really productive colour for December.

With the continued influx of water from the Tops, the back of the dam is holding some really nice fish and the area from Pelican Point north is well worth a try.

You can fish the banks early with lures and plastics and then work out into the timber as the sun gets higher. The timber is best fished with lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits or plastics, while bait is also a very good option.

It is very important to use a good sounder in this area as there is some really good underwater timber cover, with schools of bait adjacent. My Lowrance HDS 8 StructureScan helps me here.

Bait fishers also do well this month on worms and yabbies off the banks in the Main Basin and around the timber in the back of the dam.

On those very hot days, trolling is a very good option to locate the bass and goldens. They can move around this dam a lot if we get the traditional hot westerlies this month.

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