Lots of water in rivers and dams
  |  First Published: April 2008

This is usually the last month of good freshwater fishing in the Hunter region before Winter hits.

The impoundments have continued to receive good rain and are up to heights not seen since 2005, while the rivers have had continual flushes which make them very hard to fish but which also have added plenty of new cover and snags.

The Barrington Tops have been producing some nice trout over recent months but with all this rain it should be an excellent season later in the year.

The Williams River is the first to clear up after a fresh, with the bass moving back down to the lower reaches.

They like to attack lures around 40mm to 50mm in solid, dark colours, along with lipless crankbaits and compact spinnerbaits. Gold is a good colour in the crankbaits while spinnerbaits with colorado gold blades and dark skirts are preferable.

The Paterson also cleans up relatively quickly and the lower section down around Hinton is good for bank fishing, trolling and spinning. Vibration baits seem to give the better results with Jackall TN50s excellent but there are now many others from other Japanese manufacturers beginning to appear in stores.

The Hunter is the slowest to clear because it has a big catchment with many rural floodplains and can take twice as long to become clean and the tide tends to hold the dirty water back.

Using the same lures as on the Paterson, work your way down with the tide and when it changes, fish it back up. The neap tides and low tide in general offer the cleanest water.


|Lake St Clair has been really fishing well as it rises and should continue to produce until the water temperature begins to fall.

There is some decent timber for those who use worms for catties, goldens and bass in the 10m deep sections in the Fallbrook and Carrowbrook reaches. The banks are very hard for bait fishing as there is a lot of dead vegetation in the first 10m.

Trolling along off the banks with lures that get down to around 6m and have a very strong vibration is producing good for bass and goldens. The black/silver Feralcatts, green/red AC invaders or even Jackall TN70s are worth trolling.

Casting is also very productive along this depth, especially when you can see the fish on the sounder. They are best targeted with lipless crankbaits and 1/2oz to 5/8oz spinnerbaits worked very slowly parallel to the bank.

There are some very good areas around the Broadwater for this and also up the arms where the river runs through some of the timber now in around 12m of water.

If the water temperature drops to around 22° there will also be some reasonable schools of bass in the 10-15m deep sections. Target these with plastics on 1/2oz jig heads, Jackall Mask Vibes or by trolling very deep-running lures.

This is one of those months when it is can be very important to use the sounder to locate the fish. They can be virtually anywhere depending on water temp, quality and baitfish and the bass seem to be very active as they feed up before Winter.

Because the dam is continuing to rise there has been no real weed growth to hold them in any particular area.


Glenbawn is continuing to rise and with the influx of fresh water the condition and quality of the fish is improving.

Towards the back of the dam there are some good fishing sections beginning to form and by Spring we may have some great areas to prospect that haven’t been covered in 10 years.

If the dam continues to rise, it will hold the bass and goldens up around the back but usually this month the greater population of fish moves down around the main basin for winter.

In the stained water in the upper reaches spinnerbaits and crankbaits are the main options. Spinnerbaits should have pearl or white in the skirts and Colorado blades, while the crankbaits need some purple or black.

This is also a good area for trolling along the old river bed with Ferralcatts, AC Invaders and Stuckeys in solid dark colours or yellow or red.

Down around the clearer water in the mid to lower sections, deep-diving lures worked off the banks or even trolled are a good option. A lot of dead vegetation close to the banks makes it very difficult to fish in close.

If fishing in low light start with dark colours and progress to the lighter or translucent patterns as the light improves. I have been using the new Jackall Cherry 0 footer and the Smith Pebble Sr, which are excellent for working over this bankside vegetation because they have square bibs, run just below the surface and put out a lot of vibration.

This month the bass can take some finding but with a good sounder they can be located usually in 10m or more along with large clouds of bait. In clearer water they can be targeted with vertical presentations of Jackall Masks, plastics and ice jigs.

For the trollers, these fish can worked with very deep lures and plastics or lures trolled on downriggers.

Bait fishing is fairly consistent this month with big yabbies or worms the best options. Bob them around timber in 10m around the narrows and lower reaches of the main basin and around the timber adjacent to the river bed up the back of the dam.

With the changes in the weather it is very hard to predict too far ahead but at least the dams and rivers are looking a lot healthier for next Spring. The fish are beginning to look a lot better in their general condition and numbers.

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