Local rivers are firing
  |  First Published: December 2006

I did only about 40% of the fishing that I had planned last year so I hope to make up for that in 2007. A lot of my trips were postponed because of changeable weather and lack of water in some of our impoundments but I hope that changes this year.

At the Barrington Tops at the end of last year local fishing clubs released 114,000 rainbows and a further 10,000 browns into the Lower Manning while the Scone club released 76,000 browns into the streams that feed the Hunter above Glenbawn. All we can hope after these release is for some decent rain to help these fish survive and grow.

The local rivers have been really firing around Morpeth and Clarencetown for bass and mullet with the best times very early and late in the day. If the tide is low the best option is to fish up close to the banks or cover using surface lures, spinnerbaits or shallow-running lures and let the tide carry them under overhanging branches.

Some of the new poppers from Jackall, Smith and Megabass have been dynamite for bass, as have their shallow lures that go down about 60cm. I have been using the clearer patterns which seem to catch more fish than the traditional dark colours.

On the higher tide I find that the better fish come from around submerged weed. This weed is out in the middle or, if there is enough tide, along the banks. Deeper lures and heavier spinnerbaits give best results.

The Williams is a little easier to fish because it is not tidal and I have found that the fish can come on the bite at any time, whereas tidal river bass feed better adjacent to tide changes. The bass here are always willing to attach a Bass Spin, Beetle Spin or small spinnerbait.

Lake St Clair is just holding its level so the weed beds are still there but not in very good condition. This is a good impoundment to fish the shore by boat or on foot for bass, goldens, silvers and catties.

Every form of spinning will get you fish. I like to get out there very early using surface lures and jerkbaits, then move to lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits. As the day progresses and the fish move deeper, I change to deep lures and spinnerbaits or plastics around the 8m drop-offs and river channels.

This month any lure or spinnerbait that has purple in it should be a good starting point, especially from daylight to around 8am and from around 5pm until dark.

Baitfishing is really good this month with worms and yabbies for bass, goldens, silvers and giant catties.

This month St Clair can get very hot and there is nowhere out on the water to get out of the midday heat so make sure you carry plenty of drink and take a break at the hottest part of the day.


Lake Glenbawn is usually very tough to fish this month because it is very hot and cops a lot of wind. There are usually heaps of boats out and because the dam is quite low there is not an abundance of good fishing places. There is not a real lot of timber adjacent to the shoreline to hold the fish so you have to move out into the main river channel, especially from New House Bay around the Narrows through to Yellow Buoy Bay.

Along this stretch the trees are in around 13m so casting or jigging lures or plastics is a really good option in the later part of the day.

Baitfishing is very popular this month to get a feed of goldens, silvers, bass and catties using worms and yabbies.

The most productive method is using surface lures very early in the morning as there is usually some insect activity. Then move to deeper crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

The bite usually starts to slow up by about 10am and if you want to keep out there try trolling deep lures. Green or purple shad 1/2oz spinnerbaits with silver willow blades work, as to Stuckeys, Ferralcatts and AC Invaders in purple or black.

The Jackall TN60 or Mask Vibe 60 or 70 in gold or purple is also very productive jigged around timber in the 9m to 14m or worked over the banks and deep slopes for bass and goldens, which are really dominant at present.

The last four hours of the day are also very productive. Look for banks where the wind had been blowing to, which are generally stirred up with extra oxygen and the baitfish are pushed in closer.

This month it is not uncommon in some of the deeper sections to see bass and goldens holding up on structure in around 15m, be it trees or just a small peak. Target them with jigs, plastics, Mask Vibes and deep fly.

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