A good flush-out
  |  First Published: May 2004

MUCH-NEEDED rain has given the rivers a welcome flush-out and has risen the levels of local impoundments.

The Hunter and Paterson rivers have had a good flush and the salt water has been pushed down to around Morpeth, where the bass will be getting ready to spawn later in the season. This month is usually the time to work lures and spinnerbaits around some of the little creeks and drains that feed into the river. Along the main river bed you can sometimes locate definite holes and drop-offs where the bass hold up at the tide changes. Here they can be targeted with plastics on light jigs.

Lostock Dam was already 100% before the rain so when water goes over the spillway, so do some of the bass – something that cannot be prevented.

The Williams River will also fish well after the flush-out but it also has the problem of the bass going over the weir at Seaham but there is a fish ladder there to help them go back up after they spawn. Once this river gets back to normal it will also fish well with lures and spinnerbaits. Again, concentrate on the feeder creeks.

Glenbawn and St Clair are continuing to rise and with the water temperature slowly falling, the fishing will start to slow up.

Lake St Clair fishes well this month around the shallow banks up both arms but sometimes the water can be very clear so the bass and goldens can be very easily spooked. Casting spinnerbaits of around 3/8oz is the best way to tempt the wary fish lurking around the edges.

If they are reluctant to take a spinnerbait, experiment with other lures. Lipless crankbaits, whether silent or rattling, such as Jackals, Daiwa or River 2 Sea, will also work. Other lures worth a try are any of the suspending types, as they can be worked very slowly, allowing them to be in the strike zone longer.

If the day is very clear and there is little wind, the fish will hold back into the deeper water or around the timber, where trolling deep lures or jigging plastics is very good. A good colour for plastics is pink and pearl and for lures, begin with purple combinations.

Bait-fishing is a little slow but if the dam is still rising, use worms around the soft banks for bass, goldens and catfish.


Lake Glenbawn fishes really well this month for bass, giant goldens and the occasional silver before it starts to slow up for Winter. Bait-fishing is best with yabbies the prime selection. Around the back of the dam is the best place to begin. The trees in 12 metres of water along from the Soil Conservation shed is the best place to start. Move along them until you locate the fish. Sometimes the best bite at this time of the year can be in the middle of the day.

Towards the back of the dam, trolling deep, dark-coloured lures along the now more defined river should also be rewarding. The goldens will begin to move into shallower sections around the banks as the rises and they will also be seeking the warmer water.

Again, lures and lipless crankbaits are good ways to start. As this is the transition period of the season for the bass, they tend to move around the dam a lot seeking food and water of a temperature in their comfort zone.

It is not uncommon to see the bass holding up as deep as 15 metres. Once we had to use downriggers or lead-core line to catch them it can now be done using plastics and different jigs. If you do not intend keeping these fish, be very careful as they will not usually swim away because their swim bladders need deflating.

Although this month the fishing will begin to become noticeably tougher at Glenbawn, it can still be very enjoyable as there is usually a run of three to four days straight of consistent high pressure on the barometer and little wind. With very little boat traffic, the ramp to yourself and nice sunny days in which to explore new spots, there are worse things you can do.


The author with a St Clair bass that took a slow-rolled soft plastic grub in nine metres of water.


Barry Smith fished Glenbawn for this 59cm golden perch on a Slider Grub.


A selection of Lucky Craft neutrally buoyant crankbaits and jerkbaits.

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