Dams, rivers in prime condition
  |  First Published: December 2007

For the rest of Summer should be some really good fishing in the local dams and rivers after some recent rainfall put some nutrients and plenty of oxygen back in the water.

Lake St Clair has suffered water quality problems in past months and was a sickly shade of yellow from algae blooms but has continued to produce the fish that it has become famous for.

At the Barrington Tops towards the end of last year the local Barrington Gloucester Fishing Club released 11,4000 rainbow trout and 10,000 brown trout into the streams and with the follow-up rain up there I am sure they will prosper.

The local rivers have really been firing around Morpeth and Clarencetown for bass and mullet with the better times very early and late in the day. It’s also a lot more comfortable to fish then as the days can be quite hot and humid.

If the tide is low, the best option is to fish up close to the banks or cover using surface lures, shallow running lures or unweighted plastics, which tend not to spook the fish. I have been using some shallow-running lures from Jackall and Megabass that have a very distinct action and vibration and can virtually be left in the one spot and worked with the rod tip.

The unweighted plastic I like to use is the Squidgy 70mm Bug in bloodworm with the bottom painted black with a marker pen. I mount it a 1/40oz TT 1/0 HWS jig head or on an Aberdeen 1/0 hook.

I have found it very important to use mono line of around 8-10 lb as leader because it does not sink like fluorocarbon.

If the tide is making or near full and as the sun rises, the bass are quite often found out in the middle of the river around drop-offs or submerged weed. This is where the prawns hole up and these fish can best be targeted with crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

Sometimes the best option is to troll lures that run down the depth of the weed. Clearer colours seem to catch more bass than the solid ones.

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


Lake St Clair is holding at a reasonable height and there should be some continued weed growth around the points and bays. Visitors over recent months would have been shocked 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, crankbaits and spinnerbaits later and then trolling and bait fishing.

The surface action around the low-light periods is best with poppers, fizzers and square-bibbed shallow runners. Some good poppers to try are the Jackall SK, Megabass Pop-X and Owner Gobo pop. Good fizzers include the Crazy Fizzer, Tiny Torpedo and Bassday Bustle. Shallow runners include the Bassday Bubble Crank, Megabass Baby Griffon Zero and one of my old favourites, the Kokoda Bugger Chug.

These lures work so well this month because they all look and sound like the cicadas that are around in big numbers and it is common to catch bass with these insects still present in their mouths.

As the day progresses and the fish move back to the deeper weed beds, spinnerbaits and deep crankbaits worked over the weed are good options. Select spinnerbaits with purple and pearl skirts and crankbaits in more solid colours of gold and purple.

This month the smaller bass tend to school up in 10m to 13m and are best targeted with plastics or Jackall Mask TN 60s.

Trolling can also be a good option on the very hot days. Use dark lures that run down to around 6m.

Worms and yabbies fished around the timber and shrimp cast off the banks are very productive.

Lake Glenbawn is usually a tough fishery this month because there are lots of boats on the water fishing and skiing. It is a good idea to get out very early to beat the crowds and the south-easterlies, which blow in around 11am and make for a hard trip back to the ramp.

The Glenbawn catchment has received some rain and is looking pretty good for the rest of Summer. There are some good banks to fish and if it rises slowly or maintains its current level, the weed will grow to the surface.

Bait is the norm for a lot of holidaymakers and there are good catfish around the banks in the main basin on the eastern foreshore. They are partial to worms, while the bass, goldens and silvers like grasshoppers and yabbies.


Surface lures are also excellent. If the south-easter hits and you need a fish late in the afternoon then work buzzbaits fast around the heavy timber on the windward side. Use a stinger hook for better hook-up ratios.

As the day progresses the fish migrate to deeper water where lipless crankbaits and 1/2oz spinnerbaits work best.

Trolling the deeper sections with lures running at 7m or 8m is also very productive in the warmer parts of the day. Purple/gold or black/white are good colours to start with.

This month it is common for the bass and goldens to hold up tight to cover in 12m to 15m, where they can be targeted with ice jigs or lipless lures.

Trollers will need a good sounder because sometimes these school fish are out in open water among schools of bait, mainly smelt. They can be seen as a big black cloud on the sounder in about 10m, with the bass and goldens holding under them in 20m to 30m.

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

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