Lake fish head deeper
  |  First Published: May 2013

As we look towards Winter we start to change tactics on Lake Macquarie. As the air and water temps fall, the fish will move deeper.

This is my favourite time to fish the lake and many people will be surprised at the calibre of fish on offer through the cooler months.

Offshore anglers also will change tactics now as those hitting up the kingfish move farther offshore to wider, deeper reefs. The game fishers have all but given up on inshore fish now and will turn their attention to the wide grounds such as the Norah Canyons and the continental shelf.

Estuary anglers have some great fish on offer this month. For bream anglers it is a good month to switch over to the slower deep-water tactics and Chain Valley Bay is a good venue for this.

Slowly worked blades and soft plastics such as Madeye Whippy Worms work well down deep in the cooler water.

Salts Bay is one shallow spots that is still firing for bream. Slowly roll a hardbody lure and add long pauses for best results.

Bait fishers should find good bream off Pulbah Island. They do move around a bit but a good berley trail should reward patient anglers. I really like pilchard cubes for this style of fishing.


This is also when the salmon schools move into the lake. Some people love them and others don’t and generally I fall into the latter camp but I must admit I have been awaiting their arrival this year as I am very keen to get my young daughter into some solid sport fish action.

And if the salmon provide one thing, it is great action.

Salts Bay is by far the pick of the spots and you will usually find that 3” clear soft plastics work best. Bait fishos love a pilchard on ganged hooks but the lure fisho cannot go past the old ‘casper clear’ minnow on a resin head.

The good news for anglers chasing a feed of fish is that there are plenty of quality flathead to be found until at least June.

Work deeper water with large soft plastics such as 5” Damiki shads on 5/8oz-1oz jig heads, depending on the weather and the drift. Remember, your lures must be on the bottom.

Bait fishers will score well with pilchard halves, prawns and cut bait.


The deep reefs are offering some solid kingfish to 10kg for those dropping down live bait or working deep jigs. The Perch Grounds, Texas and other southern reefs, as well as those to the north off Port Stephens, are good for some solid kingfish action during the cooler months.

There are some snapper coming in and although they’re not huge, there are good numbers of plate-size reds coming in from The Farm off Swansea.

While you’re out there you may want to try your luck at the Fisheries FAD for your last chance for a mahi mahi.

Drop an unweighted cube bait as you drift past the FAD or simply troll a small Christmas tree lure and you will soon know if the fish are still there.

Game fishers will generally turn their attention to tuna now and with luck there should be some yellowfin tuna off the canyons.

As always, anyone putting in the hours should see some good sharks coming to the boat.

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