The dams and rivers will be worth a fish this month as we move into Autumn and the weather usually makes for some enjoyable days on the water.
Over recent months the rivers have had good flows, producing plenty of food for the bass. The dams are also holding plenty of water with Glenbawn and St Clair around 67%.
All three local rivers, the Hunter, Paterson and Williams, have been producing nice bass and catfish, especially in the upper reaches of the systems, and this should continue until the fish begin their migration down to the tidal sections for spawning.
This month will provide the last of the surface bite early and late in the day and because the rivers can become a little discoloured, spinnerbaits, Bass Spins, blades and hardbodies are also worth a try.
Effective spinnerbaits should have single Colorado blades with dark skirts, while I like crankbaits in solid, dark colours like black or purple.
The Williams River around Clarencetown is always very productive in March and is often very clear – excellent for trolling along the banks where there is plenty of cover in the reeds with lures around 50mm that get down to around 2m. Try also casting around some of the heavier cover with 1/4oz spinnerbaits, blades and Beetle Spins.
Lake St Clair always produces some good numbers of fish this month as the water temperature begins to fall slightly.
There is still not a real lot of good weed growth around some of the banks. There is some very short weed out in the 7m range but even this is very scarce.
Last March the water was still around 24°, which kept the bass, goldens and silvers very active. There were good catches in around 10m-deep sections in the Broadwater, Fall Brook and Carrowbrook areas.
It is always a good month to begin at daylight using poppers or stick style lures, then lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits.
Mid-morning, work the deeper sections by trolling deep lures or plastics on 1/2oz to 5/8oz jigs. The new Berkley HollowBelly 3” minnow in pearl watermelon has been an absolute cracker for bass because it resembles the smelt in this dam.
Another good lure to try for these deeper bass is the Jackall Mask in the pearl ayu pattern, jigged along the bottom or even trolled.
It is very important to have a good sounder, such as my LMS520, to help locate these fish in the deeper water. Usually there are some really distinctive drop-offs or schools of bait that these fish relate to.
The baitfish schools resemble big black clouds and are usually about mid depth with the bass sitting below or even on the bottom.
Bait fishing is also worth a try with a worm or yabby fished off the bank or around the bases of the trees up the arms, while anywhere off the bank in the camping area is fine.
Lake Glenbawn is continuing to look as it used to several years ago and with the continued influx of water from the Barrington Tops, it should be in for another good season.
This is always a very good time to target the giant goldens and large schools of silvers that live in a few of the trees in 10m depths.
The number of goldens seems to have declined over recent years but there are still some good-sized specimens around. Either troll around the timber with lures that get down around 5m or cast lipless crankbaits, especially in gold colour, adjacent to the trunk.
A yabby is also worth a jig down to the base or among the branches.
The silvers like very small lures but a bunch of worms on a No 1 hook with a very light weight is the best method, with a handful of dirt every so often as berley.
When looking for the timber that holds the silvers, find one that has plenty of fine green weed growing off the branches below the waterline.
Some of the better areas to try for both goldens and silvers are towards the back of the dam around the river where the timber lines the edge.
Those targeting bass can do it a little harder, as they can be virtually anywhere over the entire dam, depending on the amount of water coming in, the water temperature and the clarity.
There is not a lot of weed growth around the banks and the bass tend to move into the deeper water fairly quickly, so at dusk and sunset always give the banks a burn with surface lures and diving or lipless crankbaits and then head for the deeper sections, even down to 15m and use the sounder to locate the schools or bait balls.
A very good option is to troll black/purple lures down around 7m until you see some bait or structure and then jig plastics or lipless crankbaits.
The deep bass can also be targeted with spinnerbaits of 1/2oz to 5/8oz with willow blades and purple skirts, or heavy vibrating blades or silent lipless crankbaits.
For those who want a feed there are some nice catties and goldens taken around the eastern foreshore on worms and yabbies.
I received some disappointing news recently from DPI Fisheries. For the second year running, a problem has arisen at the Port Stephens hatchery, resulting in no bass stocking to take place in local dams Glenbawn, St Clair and Lostock
This will leave a deep hole in the future fishing in these impoundments and it can only be hoped that a solution can be achieved before this year’s stockings take place.