Close eye on the water temp
  |  First Published: September 2013

With the arrival of Spring we can hope for the westerlies to keep away and with the days becoming longer, the water temperature in the dams and the rivers should begin to rise.

The rivers have had some good Winter flow and the dams are at record heights with Glenbawn around 100% and St Clair about 98%.

The fishing in both dams has been ordinary recently but with the warmer days this month the water should warm and help the bite.

With the new river season now it will be great to get out and check for new snags and cover; all the rivers are in excellent condition.

In early Spring the bass are always very active and in prime condition after spawning and will attack almost any lure.

I like spinnerbaits, blades and crankbaits at this time, especially those with bright colours and lots of vibration. I like spinnerbaits with green skirts and copper blades and in the metal vibes I prefer Ecogear or Jackall in gold patterns.

It is a little early for surface lures but they should come on next month.

Early Spring can be a little frustrating whey trying to locate where the fish are holding in the rivers. Every year is a little different but it is usually not too far from top of the tidal zone because this is where there is a good supply of food, usually juvenile prawns.


Early this month the water is usually down around 12°-13° in the dams but if the days are warm with little wind it should get up around 16°-17° in protected areas.

These temperatures start the breeding cycle of two of the bass’s favourite food sources in St Clair and Glenbawn.

The firetail gudgeon is about 4cm-5cm long with a black body and during the breeding season has orange-red fins. It feeds on aquatic invertebrates and can be usually be found in the shallower areas around the banks and among the weed.

The Australian smelt is a pelagic species that normally is around 50mm long and often in schools of several thousand, feeding on a variety of planktonic organisms, micro crustaceans and small aquatic insects.

These schools are usually out in deeper water and can be seen easily on a good sounder as dark clouds anywhere in the water column.

St Clair will fish pretty well towards the end of the month as the water warms and at its current level there should be some good fish around the edges.

Surface lures, shallow runners and wake baits are worth a try very early and late in the day. As the water is quite clear, you will need a lure that can be cast long distances.

On the retrieve, it is advisable to pause the lure and it is common to see a bass come up and eyeball the lure, especially from the front. All you then need to do is move your rod tip, and the fish will often strike.

Colours for lures in early Spring need to be very bright, quite often with a lot of green. Several years ago I was testing some lures for a local lure maker and I told him to paint a couple in fluoro pink so that I could easily see them. So did the bass and I nailed some beauties.

At this time reaction baits are the best option so crankbaits, blades, Betts Spins, spinnerbaits and definitely Mumbler-type shaker blades are all good options at St Clair.

Early last Spring there were plenty of bass from the upper Fallbrook and Carrowbrook arms and things look similar this year.

Always try to find the warmer water; this is where you will see the small baitfish starting to appear.

Trolling can be very helpful in finding fish this month. Last year a lot of fishos successfully trolled Jackall TN 60s very slowly along the banks.

Big worms or yabbies should work well, especially on the catfish as they move up around the shallow banks around the camping area.


Glenbawn is very clear, especially down around the Main Basin, which often means the fish will be holding up in more open water and usually down a little.

Up the back of the dam the water has a little more colour and the fish are more spread out.

Again, low-light periods are good for surface and shallow lures and as the sun rises, move to lures and blades that run a little deeper.

Because Glenbawn takes a lot longer to warm, the bass can be deeper down, where the water temperature can be a bit warmer.

So in early Spring jigging can be good up around the back of the dam, especially in close to the timber that can hold heat in the water and attract the gudgeons. Target these fish using ice jigs and plastics.

Try working the warmer, north-facing banks using lipless crankbaits, blades, cranks and Betts Spins.

Trolling lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and deep divers should be quite productive from the One Tree Point up past the Ruins, especially if there is some good flow coming in from snowmelt up at the Barrington Tops.

Yabbies and worms fished from the banks down around the basin will be good for catties and goldens.



I have recently been working with Trent from DPI on the Angler Access Program. There are more than 200,000 locations where rivers, streams and lakes can be accessed from public land in NSW. DPI is working with Crown Lands, anglers and other interested parties to secure future access to many inland fishing locations accessed by the Crown road network.

Fisheries staff process hundreds of road closure applications each year and are making recommendations to the Crown Lands Division on the retention of roads that provide access to fishing amenities.

Fisheries staff are able to pass on to anglers the proposed road closures. Anglers are given the opportunity to comment and to make their views known.

One particular area that I recently got involved with was the proposed closure of access to the bays on either side of Mayfarm Point at Glenbawn. In my 20-odd years of fishing Glenbawn I found this access very important because when the strong southerlies hit, small boats just cannot get across the Main Basin. Many skippers can tie up their boats in the calm bays there and walk up to the Gundy Road at the top of the hill, where they can then get a ride back to the ramp and return to get their boats later. You can also get mobile phone reception on top of that hill.

If you know of proposed closures that could affect you, email --e-mail address hidden-- and send your name and a description of the area.

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