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Lakes slow to warm
  |  First Published: December 2005



The estuary situation hasn’t changed a lot since I put last month’s column together. Due to excessive cloud cover, wind and low Spring temperatures, it’s taken a long time for Tuggerah Lakes to warm up.

Because of the narrow opening to the sea at The Entrance, water temperatures in Budgewoi, Munmorah and the majority of Tuggerah Lake changes according to the prevailing weather patterns rather than oceanic currents, which have more effect on estuaries with a greater tidal influence.

Here, if we get weeks of hot, sunny weather the lakes will warm rapidly. Spring weather hasn’t done much to raise lake temperatures and so fish like bream and flathead have remained a little lethargic.

They are there, but may take a bit more effort to catch until we get that warmer weather.

It will also be interesting to see how this Summer’s prawn season shapes up. Over the past few years locals have enjoyed excellent hauls of prawns at Canton Beach, Long Jetty and Elizabeth Bay.

Tuggerah Lake prawns run during the dark or new moon phases which are at the beginning and the very end of December, so get out there with the kids, nets and strong lights and see how you go.

Apart from a decent feed of fresh crustaceans, if we see good numbers of prawns in the lakes the bream and flathead will also be more active.

December should see jewfish become more active in Brisbane Water and along our beaches.

Tossing plastic lures has become a popular way of fishing for jewies along much of the east coast and I’ve done a bit of it myself.

If, however, you really want to catch Central Coast jewfish I strongly advise using fresh or live bait in this part of the world. Squid, mullet, pike, tailor and beach worms all make excellent jewfish baits, so it’s worth spending some time catching those baits before setting out to catch a big chrome monster.

Sometimes warm currents are a bit unreliable on the Central Coast in December so if all else fails, don’t forget that fish like blackfish and drummer are still available along the rocks this month.

All in all, the end of the year can be a mixed bag of fishing around these parts but I assure you fishing is set to improve over the next few months.

DAM THE WHOLE THING

The bass fishing scene isn’t that big in this part of the world although it’s always worth casting a few lures around Wyong or Ourimbah creeks through December.

Any local bass enthusiasts should be concerned about recent discussions concerning the Wyong River. Thanks to the local council’s ongoing push to overdevelop the region, irrespective of our water shortage problems, we now have some parties pushing for a water-catching facility to be installed at the Wyong River weir.

For starters, the weir has restricted seasonal bass migration on the river for decades, preventing the bass from spawning. Secondly, the river isn’t in the best shape due to drought over the past few years and thick weed is choking some sections.

A good flush-out is what’s needed to help the river get back in shape. Sure, the only thing that will do that is a major flood, but if we restrict floodwaters gushing through the river it may never get that big flush-out and so the weed will keep on spreading.

Floods are part of the natural cycle of the Tuggerah Lakes system. They wash vital nutrients into the lakes to fertilise the weed beds and nourish micro-organisms which create food and habitat for local fish.

As if the weir wasn’t bad enough, a developer wants to convert the old Wyong dairy factory, adjacent to the weir, into some sort of tourist attraction to include an open air theatre right on the river bank.

It may all sound like a positive thing at first but once again there’s only so much the river can take. It doesn’t need crazy development, it needs help to get back on track.

It’s not only bass that we should be concerned about. The river is home to a small population of platypus as well as several species of birds, frogs and lizards.

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