This month the fishing should start to pick up but, because the season is about a month later than normal, it will not hit its straps until the latter part of the month when the water temperature reaches 17° or 18°.
With recent rain the local dams, Glenbawn and St Clair, are back up to the levels they were 12 months ago but they still have a long way to go to reach levels of several years ago.
I have not received any reports from the Barrington Tops but with good snow over Winter and regular rain, the streams should produce some nice trout.
The bass have started to show up in size and numbers in all the systems down around Maitland. All the rivers around here have had a very good flush-out so they will fish very well all the way back up to the dams in some decent flow.
Because the rivers are still quite discoloured, I like to use reaction baits such as small spinnerbaits, Beetle Spins, Bass-spins or lures with rattles. It is a little early in the season for surface lures because we need some really hot weather to get the insect activity happening.
In spinnerbaits, go for solid colours of green, black or white with copper Colorado blades for plenty of vibration. For Bass-spins and Beetle Spins, I also like the Colorado blades with dark plastics – pumpkin or watermelon are good colours for starters.
For those using crankbaits, try something 40mm to 50mm with rattles. I also like solid colours in this stained water, with copper or yellow my favourites.
Another very good option in this discoloured water is a 40mm to 50mm lipless crankbait with the Jackall TN50 in gold and black or HL peacock worth a try. At the recent Trade Tackle Show I saw plenty of other lipless cranks from various Japanese manufacturers so keep your eyes out for them.
The dam continues to rise slowly so it could be a very interesting season but the problem will be finding weedy banks where the smelt will be schooling. They start appearing when the water hits 18°.
Reaction baits this time of year are always best, fished close to the banks where the warmer water and baitfish will appear first.
Spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits are probably the first options to try along these banks, with darker colours appealing in discoloured water. Where the water is clearer I like green/pearl. Work these very fast so they put out maximum vibration and flash.
In the past 12 months a lot of new rattling lures in the 60mm to 70mm range have become available from Australian and Japanese manufacturers. I tried some new Jackalls recently. I had some very good results with the Squirrel, which has a very tight action, and also the Cherry – the big brother of the very good Chubby. In the clearer water the ayu colour worked well; I think it resembles the smelt prevalent in Glenbawn in Spring.
Trolling can also be a very good option in mid-Spring as the goldens and bass travel to seek warmer water and the bait schools. I like lures with a tight action that run down around 3m to 4m and also troll spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits.
Worms fished from the bank are the really best option for the bait angler, especially adjacent to some of the deeper drop-offs around the main basin and up the back.
The quality of the water has improved markedly since the rains and the fishes’ health should finally improve, too.
The recent top-up should make for some good fishing with the goldens, bass, silvers and catties coming on when the water reaches around 18° and the shrimp appear around the edges.
I really like to walk the banks and cast crankbaits and spinnerbaits on this dam as it rises. It will be a bit early this month for some of the weed to re-form around the edges but there will still be plenty of fish moving around the banks so you may have to cover plenty of ground in search of them.
The Fallbrook and Carrowbrook arms fish well using shallow lures and spinnerbaits because the water temperature rises here first. In the Broadwater you usually need to fish a little deeper.
Use solid colours in spinnerbaits and lures in the dirty water and where it is a little clearer, go to more translucent colours designed to put out a lot of flash.
Trolling is always a good option around the main Broadwater because there is not a lot of hidden timber, especially on the western bank.
The new fishing rules have some quite significant changes. The most important is that previously, freshwater bag and possession limits applied only to fishers in, on or adjacent to waters. This will now be extended to include the transport and storage of freshwater fish – like at your home or the caravan or unit where you’re staying.
The other major change is that there is now a zero bag limit in rivers and estuaries for bass and estuary perch from June 1 to August 31.Reads: 492