The weather pattern has been quite mild this summer, and in late December we received some very welcome rainfall that breathed life back into the impoundments and gave the rivers a nice influx of clean water.
With the holiday season now over, the boat traffic has lessened, which makes the ramps a lot less congested. The Hunter River has been fishing well since the recent rain, with the bass hitting surface lures in the low light periods and black crickets the choice for bait fishing.
The Paterson River has ben producing some nice bass on the surface up at the top end, and down around the lower reaches on spinnerbaits and small hardbodies.
The lower Hunter section from Morpeth down to the Terrace has some really good areas to target, including rock walls, steep banks and sandy flats, which are very productive as they also hold some nice bream and flathead along with the odd mulloway.
The Williams River should see a reduction in water skiers and could take a while to settle down, but as this month progresses the bass will be back on the chew. This system holds a lot of small bass, so you’ll only need small presentations to tempt them. I have found very bright 40mm hardbodies and blades a good choice, along with 1/6oz Betts Spins and 2.5” grubs.
Lostock Dam usually fishes well in late summer, and with recent rises will be good this month, especially around the timber and along the river channel towards the back. I find the bass really like small lures in natural colours and also Jackall TN 50s.
The dam has been holding up fairly well over recent weeks, but the fishing has been very hit and miss.
Still, there have been some reasonable numbers of fish caught, with the bait fishers getting catties off the edges on worms, and a few goldens and the odd bass from the timber on shrimp. The water temperature is just starting to fall, which should make for better fishing, especially when it gets down around 24°C.
This summer hasn’t seen much weed form around the banks, which makes for some frustrating fishing, as the fish don’t hold up in an area for any length of time.
The bass are moving around the dam a lot at present, which makes life a bit tough, but with the use of a good sounder and trolling deep lures can find where the schools are holding up.
I have found that using the wind patterns from the previous days a big help in locating the fish. One day you can catch them on the windblown banks on cranks and spinnerbaits, and the next day they are out in 10m. They are actively feeding on firetail gudgeons and smelt now, and the wind not only blows the schools of bait around the dam, but it can also turn the water column over, which makes them go deeper.
I have 2 helpful tools on my Lowrance 9T sounder to locate the fish. The first is Structure Scan, which can virtually cover an area of 180°under my boat, but the other is Insight Genesis, as it can show where there are hidden gutters and dropoffs, and the nature of the bottom composition — soft or hard.
Glenbawn has produced some reasonable catches during the holidays, with the best ones coming from the baitos using shrimp and crickets. During a couple of decades of fishing this dam, I have found this month and January to be the toughest of all.
With the dam being so low for so long, there is not much weed or cover around the banks for the fish, so most of them will come from relatively deep water where there is some form of cover.
The bass and goldens will be caught in areas out to the 15m depth, and will take a slow rolled plastic or blade around the timber and rocky walls.
Quite often you will find bass holding in tops of trees in 20m and I find using ice-jigs a very good option, aided by a very good sounder to pinpoint them. A good area for this is along the western foreshore, Golden Point and Sunken Cabins, and also up along the North Run. Some other areas worth targeting for these deeper fish is the Dogleg and Big Mountain.
The trollers should also give The Narrows a run, especially if the dam is slowly rising.
During December, there were some good stockings of bass into both Lake St Clair and Glenbawn. In the past 14 years, the total stockings of bass into Glenbawn totals around 750,000, along with 960,000 golden perch. In Lake St Clair, the bass total is 560,000 and the goldens 765,000.
At Glenbawn in December, the Aberdeen Fishing Club members stocked 8,000 in dollar for dollar grants, and DPI from Port Stephens approximately 20,000, and around 10,000 into St Clair.
Finally, I have one of my Lowrance 9Ts for sale as I have updated to the new Gen 111 version. Drop me an email if you are interested.Reads: 511