Warming to the task
  |  First Published: September 2004

IT WILL be good to see the end to the blustery westerlies and the water temperature will begin to rise from the icy 11° it has reached over Winter.

This is the time when you have a good chance of catching some of those trophy fish in the rivers and impoundments, so go early, stay with it ,fish hard and reap the rewards.

In the rivers around Morpeth the bass will have just about finished spawning and will begin to move back up the system. They will be very active and will attack spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

Lures should run down to around a metre and should be about 40mm long, such as Mann’s 5+, AC Invader and Marz. Good colours include yellow/brown and green/yellow.

Spinnerbaits of around 1/4oz with single willow nickel blades in the green/pearl or black/chartreuse gave excellent results last Spring when I used the new Secret Creek range made by Mick Butcher and Ben Kennedy.

If the bite is a little slow, try any of the vast range of plastics available on 1/8oz to 1/4oz jig heads, with the amount of tide flow dictating the best weight to use. The best time to fish is at the top of the tide around the banks. Drop back into the deeper sections as the tide falls.

The Berkley 3” Bass Minnow in pearl/watermelon, shortened up by about 8mm, gave some good results last Spring.

Up in the Williams River, the bass have been very active recently. This river had a good flush-out over Winter so there should be some excellent fishing as the water begins to warm up. I have always had good success using fluoro-coloured lures and purple spinnerbaits in this system.

Up at Lake St Clair, the dam is holding around 55% and just starting to warm up. The water has been as low as 11° in some spots and very clear.

This dam holds a lot of shrimp and as soon as the water reaches around 16° the shrimp become active, making for a good reactive bite with spinnerbaits, crankbaits and bait. We had a lot of success last season with the Jackall TN60 lipless crankbait in the smelt pattern.

During Spring there is some excellent action by walking the banks casting flies but I like to use surface lures early in the morning and about an hour before dark. I use a Heddon Tiny Torpedo with one blade removed.

Because the fish are moving into the shallows in search of the warmer water, 3/8oz spinnerbaits are a good option. Purple /blue/black skirts and tandem nickel willow blades in Secret Creek spinnerbaits are my choice.

For trolling and casting crankbaits, any of the Feralcatts or AC Invaders in darker pattens will give good results. Live yabbies are always worth a try around the timber in any of the reaches.


At Lake Glenbawn the water will take a little longer to warm because of the record snowfalls on the Barrington Tops. As this melts it should also help the dam rise or at least hold its own for a while.

When the water reaches 18° the smelt begin to appear and that is the signal to crank up those reaction-style lures, spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits.

There is no specific section of the dam to begin chasing these fish but a good indication is a difference of about 1° or 2° and some new weed forming around the edges.

Lures of any of the colours listed for St Clair will work but because the water is very clear, metallic finishes are also a very good option, except when the fish are holding around eight metres.

Glenbawn is still quite low so the back sections, especially around the soil conservation shed, are usually good starting places, especially to troll around the river bed in about nine metres.

A combination of green/silver with some small red spots is a great pattern for lures and spinnerbaits. During September this dam hosts a lot of competitions, with the culmination the annual Glenbawn Classic at the beginning of October. So it is a good idea to get out on the water early and remember to return as many fish back as possible .

I’ve heard there had been a considerable stocking of bass into Glenbawn and Lake St Clair, with more to come, thanks to some of the fly anglers down Singleton way. I will let you know more of this later.

Bait-fishing at Glenbawn will begin to fire this month with the banks around the bottom of the dam good for catties, bass, silvers and goldens. Up on the Barringtons, the trout season will open in October and with all the snowfalls, the fishing should be better than last year.

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