It’s been a little late arriving, but now that Summer is really starting to kick in, it looks like being a very good season in the local rivers and impoundments.
Up on the Barrington Tops there have been some productive sessions on brown and rainbow trout, the results of previous seasons of stocking. The more recent stockings should also be very successful because there is plenty of good flow in the streams and abundant food.
The bass have been really firing in the Hunter River from Morpeth right down to the junction, with the occasional flathead and bream.
These fish have been smashing surface lures just on sunrise and at sunset, particularly on a run-up tide.
There are plenty of surface lures available today, but my favourites are still the Heddon Tiny Torpedo, Megabass Siglett, Tiemco Cicada Bass Tune and Jackall SK Pop.
There are plenty of inexpensive ones also available that are really productive, including models from the Trollcraft, River2Sea and Strike Pro range that will not break the budget.
After sunrise, crankbaits that get down a little deeper, around 1m to 3m, are good, as are blades and lipless crankbaits. I work them around submerged cover or weed and along shady banks.
I like to use colours featuring very bright green, gold or purple; they seem to reflect a lot of flash and offer a bigger silhouette.
Spinnerbaits, soft plastics and spinner harnesses such as the Beetle Spin also work very well in the deeper sections after the sun rises.
These are best worked right on the bottom, where the prawns are – the bass’s favourite food.
This month there is also an abundance of mullet in the rivers. They can be targeted using traditional dough recipes or very fresh white bread moistened slightly and kneaded into a ball.
The Williams River is also fishing well, especially up around Clarencetown and around Seaham below the weir.
Although the bass in this system can be relatively small, they are in excellent numbers with recent Fisheries figures showing it has highest density of bass per area in NSW.
Any lures around 40mm which get down a couple of metres is the go, with the deep Jackall Chubby a very good option because it can be trolled as well as cast to the edges.
At Lake St Clair, although there were plenty of catfish wiped out in the recent kill due to blue-green algae, there are still plenty swimming around near the bank, which bodes well for the future.
It appears that the catties are not very hardy and are the first to suffer with poor water quality and that is why they were affected more than the bass and golden perch.
Recently there have been reasonable numbers of bass caught up both the arms, where good schools of baitfish are appearing.
With St Clair at its present height there is a lot of new ground to fish, especially up the arms, and there is also plenty cover for the fish to congregate around.
Adjacent to the banks there is virtually no weed, except out about 30m, where it is growing to about a metre below the surface.
Up the Fallbrook Arm near The Ruins, golden perch have been caught around the banks in 2m to 3m on small hardbodies and small lipless crankbaits.
Farther down the arm, around Carnells Corner, there are some good trolling runs for deep lures like Stuckeys and Vikings, or you can work the banks all down the arm with compact spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits.
There are some good trees to tie up to and drop a worm or yabby, with the lower section a little bit more productive.
Up the Carrowbrook Arm there have been a heap of catties in the shallows around Pumphouse Point, while the bass and goldens are down further around Bird Point and Walkers Bay.
Bass and goldens have been hitting lipless crankbaits, compact spinnerbaits and deep crankbaits.
Colour selection can be difficult. Last year there was quite a bit of algae in the dam so dark, solid colours worked well but if the water becomes very clear then more translucent patterns become productive.
These areas are also good spots to troll and help locate where the fish are holding, especially if you use your sounder to troll along the old river bed down through the trees near Adams Point and the Orchard.
In the Broadwater there are plenty of islands now where there are some good points to work off. Most of the bass are holding in 7m to 10m, where there are schools of firetail gudgeons.
During Summer you can get hot, still days when the fish shut down and suspend around the thermocline. Try jigging plastics, ice jigs or blades on very light leaders.
Lake Glenbawn has been fishing fairly consistently over recent weeks and should continue so.
This month the water should reach 24° to 26°, which makes the bass and goldens very active as the schools of smelt and gudgeons appear in large numbers.
These schools of bait move into the shallows in low light and then go out deeper as the light increases.
Work the shallows early with surface lures and then progress to deep plastics, blades, and spinnerbaits as the light intensifies.
The back of the dam, from the 8-knot are right up to the Ruins, is a real hot spot in December for bass and odd golden, especially using reaction baits or trolling deep lures.
Down around the now sunken Island, and at the Narrows, is good for casting, bait fishing and trolling.
Around the entrance to Boat Harbour is also good for bait fishing, trolling very deep lures and jigging plastics around the sunken timber.
Luke Van den Berg of Fisheries and I recently completed the bass-stocking program when we put about 30,000 fingerlings into Lake St Clair. The stocking was delayed several weeks due to the algae bloom. These fingerlings will come on line in about 3-4 yrs.
Glenbawn can get really rough in December with very strong south-easterlies, which usually hit after lunch along with quite heavy rain, so it pays to keep an eye on the weather forecast.Reads: 2141