All clear on the dam front
  |  First Published: December 2013

It’s been a bit late arriving this year but summer is just starting to affect the water temperatures; the nights were quite cool towards the end of spring. The water temperatures at Glenbawn and St Clair are about 4°C lower than previous years and both dams are experiencing very clear water.

During late October, we received some of those absolutely strong westerlies that made getting out on the dams totally impossible. I have found that after these days, the dam turns over in the open areas, so I like to target the backs of bays and into the deeper gullies that feed into the dam.

The rivers down around the lower reaches are fishing better now, but in early October they were fairly slow. This was due to a lack of insect activity and no freshwater came down to stir up the prawns and other bait.

Up at the Barringtons the trout are starting to get quite active with some decent fish being caught on bait and lures and with quite good water flows it should be a good season.

In the lower Hunter and Paterson rivers this month, it is best to target the bass around low light periods on surface lures, especially where there is plenty of bankside vegetation. As the light increases move to the more open banks and walls that are adjacent to the deeper water using blades, deep hardbodies and beetle-spins.

The Williams will also fish well leading up to Xmas with plenty of bass coming from up near Clarencetown on lures and bait. They’ll also be down around Glenoak along the more heavily timbered banks and gullies that run into the river. This river has always been good for decent numbers of bass caught, but not necessarily big fish. I have always had a lot of success using fluoro coloured lures, gold pattern blades, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits.

Lostock dam and the adjacent river below have been producing some quality bass and this should continue over December. Surface lures and lipless crankbaits are a good option for the dam, but in the river, hardbodies, spinnerbaits and beetle-spins are better.

At Lake St Clair the dam has been very slowly falling and because of very low water temperatures during spring, there is some weed forming but it is not prominent. If you can find some nice weed you will also find the bass, but I have noticed that they are not in very good condition, which is a sign that they are travelling a lot in search of food.

The school bass are also very hard to find as they have been out in open areas and down only about 10m, which means a lot of sounding to find them. I have found that in using both Lowrance log sonar and the Insight Genisis a very valuable tool to assist in locating the fish. I have nearly completed mapping sections of the Fallbrook and Carrowbrook reaches and now can see contours in 1ft levels, vegetation (weed) and also bottom hardness and have been able to plan where I can target the fish.

Down around the Broadwater the fishing has been quiet. However, around the Island and Baybuck Cove are two places to try with blades and lipless crankbaits, and over the eastern side, try up the gullies very late or early mornings surface lures should get you a few bass.

Up the Carrowbrook, there is not much weed at all so targeting the deeper drops and hidden timber is about the only option using plastics and deep lures that get down 6-7m. Good colours for lures are purple/red and plastics pumpkinseed and crawdad/copper.

Up the Fallbrook there is a bit more weed forming and most of the fish have been coming from the 5m deep areas where there are patches of deep weed on long sloping banks. The ideal lure for this type of fishing is the weedless plastic on a 1/4oz jig but my favourite is the Jackal Knock-in Jaw. I retain the W hooks as it makes it better for the weed.

If there has been some really strong winds then up the back of Reedy Cove around some of the weed is a very good area, especially very early and late in the day.

Baitfishing around Kelehear Point off the banks, as there is weed in close, has been producing some nice catties on worms. This should carry through over Xmas, while around some of the trees in the 10m areas, using live shrimp will produce some bass and the odd golden.

Lake Glenbawn can be very clear, especially if there has not been much wind. The fishing can be a bit tough, particularly around the banks, but with the increasing water temperature should help improve things.

Over past weeks there has been some reasonable catches by the baitos, using live shrimp around the heavy timber, of bass and also silvers.

There are not a lot of schools of bass around at present, so working areas around any form of weed and cover is the best option. Lipless crankbaits, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits are the lures to use in this situation and in the heavy weed plastics rigged weedless.

With the water so clear, quite often you will have to fish down around the 8-10m out off the banks.

There has been some good bait schools up the back of the dam at the Panhandle and around the Ruins. These bait schools move into the shallows in low light and go out deeper as the day brightens.

Work the shallows early with surface lures and progress to deeper water with plastics, blades and crankbaits. Around the more heavily timbered areas let spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits fall alongside the timber or rocky walls.

Another good area to try this month can be around Castle Rock where you can work 5-10m with deep lures and spinnerbaits, and trolling can be very productive.

The back of the dam is a hot spot this month but further down the dam around the Narrows and Yellow Buoy Bay can also be very good, especially in the early and late parts of the day. This area lends itself to trolling as there is plenty of good deep cover to troll over and around.

The entrance to Boat Harbour, Golden Point and the Sunken cabins are also good trolling areas and also good spots to drop a bait down around the timber for goldens and bass.

Remember to keep an eye on the weather patterns this month, especially if you are heading up the back of the dam as the wind usually hits after lunch and blows from the southeast, which can make the ride across the bay very dangerous.


The Lowrance Insight Genisis showing a section of Fallbrook that the author has been mapping. On the right, is the bottom where the cursor is, which can be moved anywhere along the trail. This is an excellent tool to locate areas that might hold fish.


Les Dunn a local with this impressive silver that fell to a TN60 up around the Panhandle at Glenbawn.


This golden was caught by Jim Gibson on a plastic adjacent while fishing the rock wall at Glenbawn.


Trev Gabriel, who travels up from Nowra to fish at Glenbawn, with a 40cm+ bass that fell to a TN50 Brown Dog Jackall.


Bass feeding along a bank near fresh weed starting to form in around 12ft.

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