Rivers, dams in top shape
  |  First Published: December 2008

The rest of Summer should be some good fishing in local dams and rivers; we have received some recent rain in the catchments which helps to put nutrients back in the water along with plenty of oxygen.

Lake St Clair has suffered in recent months, it was a nice shade of yellow with an algae bloom but continued to still produce the fish that it has the reputation for.

At the Barrington Tops the Barrington Gloucester Fishing Club released 114,000 rainbow trout and 10,000 brown trout into the streams and with the follow-up rain I am sure they will prosper.

The rivers around Morpeth and Clarencetown have been firing for bass and mullet, especially very early and late in the day. These times are also a lot more comfortable to fish as it can be quite hot and humid at other times.

If the tide is low the best option is to fish close to the banks or cover with surface lures, shallow-runners or unweighted plastics, which do not tend to spook the fish.

I have been using a lot of the new lures from Jackall and Megabass, shallow-runners with small bibs that have a very distinct action and vibration. They can be left in one spot and worked with the rod tip.

The unweighted plastic I like is the Squidgy 70mm Bug in bloodworm, with the bottom painted black with a marker pen, on a 1/40oz TT 1/0 HWS jig head or on a Aberdeen 1/0 hook. It’s very important to use 8lb to 10lb nylon mono as leader – it does not sink like fluorocarbon.

If the tide is making or near full as the sun rises, the bass are quite often out in the middle of the river around drop-offs or submerged weed where the prawns hold up. These fish can best be targeted with crankbaits, spinnerbaits and sometimes by trolling lures that run down to that depth. The Jackall Chubby is excellent for this and the clearer colours seem to catch more bass than the solid tones.

In the non-tidal Williams River it is sometimes a little harder to find the bass so trolling along the deeper banks is a very good option. When bass are located, cast small lures, spinnerbaits and Beetle Spins.


Lake St Clair is holding at a reasonable height and there should be continued weed growth around the points and bays. Over recent months it was a shock to see the colour of the water but it has been fishing quite well.

This dam lends itself to all forms of fishing with surface lures early and later in the day, then crankbaits and spinnerbaits and then trolling and bait.

The surface action around the low light periods is best with poppers, fizzers and shallow runners with small, square bibs. Poppers to try include the Jackall SK, Megabass Pop-X and Owner Gobo Pop. Fizzers include the Crazy Fizzer, Heddon Tiny Torpedo and Bassday Bustle.

The shallow runners I have been using are the Bassday Bubble Crank, Megabass Baby Griffon Zero and one of my old favourites, the Kokoda Bugger Chug. These lures work well this month because they look and sound like the cicadas that are around in big numbers. It is not uncommon to catch a bass with a cicada still in its mouth.

As the day progresses and the fish move back to the deeper weed beds, spinnerbaits and deep crankbaits worked over the tops of the weed to well. Good spinnerbait colours are purple and pearl and for crankbaits, go for more solid colours of gold and purple.

This month smaller bass tend to school up in 10m to 13m and are best targeted with plastics or Mask TN 60s. Trolling dark lures down around 6m can be good on very hot days.


Lake Glenbawn is usually a bit tough this month because of lots of boats fishing and skiing. It is a good idea to get out on very early to avoid them and the south-easterlies that blow in around 11am, making for a hard trip back to the main ramp.

The Glenbawn catchment has received rain and the dam is looking good for the rest of Summer. There are some good banks to fish and, given time, weed will flourish.

Bait fishing is the norm for a lot of people on holidays, with good catties around the banks in the main basin partial to worms. Bass, goldens and silvers like grasshoppers and yabbies.

Surface lures are excellent very early and late.

If the south-easter hits and you’re fishing late in the afternoon, try buzzbaits around the heavy timber, they did well last year. Work them very fast on the windward side and add stinger hooks for a better hook-up rate.

When it’s sunny and hot, the fish move to deeper water where lipless crankbaits and 1/2oz spinnerbaits work best, especially in solid colours.

Trolling these deeper sections is also very productive in the warmer part of the day. Use lures that run down around 7m in purple/gold or black/white.

This month it’s common for bass and goldens to hold up tight to cover in 12m to 15m. These fish can be seen on colour sounders, such as my new Lowrance LMS520, and targeted with ice jigs or Jackall Masks.

Trollers also need a good sounder because sometimes these school fish are out in open water shadowing bait schools, mainly smelt. On the screen it looks like a big black cloud with the bass and goldens holding under them, often in 20m to 30m with the bait at around 10m.

Remember to be well prepared for the heat of the day and keep on eye on the weather.

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