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Lake still cold, rocks still hot
  |  First Published: September 2011



The water temperature in Wallis Lake has dropped considerably since the beginning of Winter and the general fishing activity has fallen off. Even though it’s officially Spring, it will take some time for the water to warm up.

The sand whiting have retreated to the upper tributaries and are targets for the worm and yabby anglers but patience is still required for best results.

Anchoring in deepish water near weed beds and using a trickle of berley will increase fish activity and there is nothing more attractive to other fish than feeding activity of any kind.

There will be smaller flathead in the same sort of area and they should be willing enough to take lures or perhaps a fish bait hung behind the boat.

Lures should be retrieved slowly to encourage a bite. Bumping the bottom with the lure gives following fish an opportunity to catch up and also can help trigger a strike.

Grub and minnow soft plastics on 1/4oz jig head, or a slow rolled DOA-style shrimp pattern, will nail the flathead.

Frozen worms or live yabbies are the best and easiest baits to use in upper-river scenarios. A small ball sinker above a swivel and a short leader to a No 1 baitkeeper-style hook will deal with any whiting or lazy flathead in the area.

The action will be slow, certainly much slower than Summer, but the quality of the whiting can be spectacular.

Lower in the lake and around the vast numbers of oyster leases, the big bream are willing to souvenir any lures you want to offer. The seemingly relentless rain periods have flushed many of the resident big bream from the rivers and there should be a trickle of ‘snowy’ (post spawn) fish sneaking back into the lake over the next few months.

The first stop for the returning bream will be the bridge and the oyster leases around the Paddocks. Evening bait fishing will produce some good-sized bream and the evening dark allows the fish to relax and take baits more freely than in daylight.

The bream and blackfish extend along the rock walls from the bridge right along the Tuncurry Channel. I have been fishing the sea walls of an evening and, to my surprise, I’ve more or less had the place to myself.

Fishing with cooked prawns drifted with the first of the run-out tide, I have been catching up to a dozen big bream and blackfish to 1.1kg and a few unstoppable fish.

The wall has also produced a few school jew and those using live bait have been rewarded with fish of around 10kg. Larger fish are likely but reports have been sparse.

OFFSHORE

For those that have been lucky enough to get beyond the breakwall in their boats, the pickings have been reasonable.

Reports indicate you should concentrate effort north of Forster with Old Bar and Blackhead producing snapper, pearlies, mixed reef fish and the odd sand flathead.

The leatherjackets are set to get thick again but they do provide a great feed.

The seas can get nasty this time of the year and planning and checking weather forecasts is essential preparation for any trip outside.

ROCK, BEACH

This time of year is my favourite for a full day of fishing from the rocks for a mixed bag.

You can fill a great Spring day with an early morning spin for salmon and tailor, followed by searching the washes for big bream, pigs, and groper and an evening using bait for blackfish. If there is nothing in that you care for, I’d suggest golf!

Traditionally, September is when most of the big pigs are caught or lost and the bream and blackfish are winding up their holiday travels on the coast and start moving back into the lakes and rivers.

Of course, the tailor and salmon are around and big tailor can be expected again from the end of this month.

The salmon are great sport but only fair on the plate. Eaten fresh with added spice or sauce flavours, they are quite acceptable but there are much better eating fish around.

You’ll need to search to find a good gutter at high tide along the beach; weather and swell can create and fill beach formations overnight.

Bait fishing the beach, you are likely to be pestered by dart and small bream but the larger fish are there. Salmon and tailor are a 70% chance as they patrol the beach surge.

FRESHWATER

Flooding has done a lot for the rivers and estuaries and it’s likely the bass spawned well.

If you would like to help out the odd bass or two, fish below the weirs and causeways and release your catch above the barriers to assist their migration.

Bass schools in the tidal reaches of the Manning were sufficient to black out sounder screens so here’s to a good season and a great post-spawn run of fish.

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