Waiting for warmer water
  |  First Published: September 2008

Lets hope we have seen the last of the strong, cold westerlies, and that the longer and warmer Spring days can lift the water temperature from a chilly 12° in the dams and as low as 9° in the rivers.

This part of the season provides the best opportunity to tangle with some of the trophy fish and although the mornings can be quite cold and foggy, they usually turn into beautiful days provided the winds don’t hit around noon.

After the end of the river closed season it will be great to get back and we have had good rain so all the systems are in excellent condition.

In the local rivers around Morpeth, the bass will have completed their spawning and warming water should stir them into activity to attack crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Beetle Spins and plastics.

Lures worth a try include the Jackall Chubby in deep, suspending and shallow versions, 1/4oz spinnerbaits, especially with pearl skirts and some new products that I have been using over the past year.

The first of these is the new Blakemore Road Runners, especially the 50th Anniversary Edition which is a combination of a fly and jig.

The blade baits from Japanese and Australian manufacturers are excellent along the snaggy sections and those fitted with double hooks make life a little easier.

The Australian ones, from Big River and TT Lures, are in 1/8oz and 1/4oz in an excellent range of colours, while the overseas models come from Heddon (Gay Blade), Ecogear (VX40), Smith (Sea Bullet) and Evergreen (Littlemax). They range from 1/8oz to 1/2oz.

Trolling can be a very good option early in the season in the Hunter, Williams and Paterson rivers to locate the fish. Every year they seem to hold up in different areas so it can save quite a lot of wasted time casting.

Lures around 50mm to 60mm are best for this with those from Marz, Secret Creek, Trollcraft and Jackall worth trying.


Lake St Clair is fishing pretty well after the good rain. It is quite clear but still down around 15° so the bass are a little reluctant to bite. As it warms to 17° they will come on stronger, along with the goldens, silvers and catties.

When the top metre of water starts to warm, the shrimp become very active around the banks, making for some great fishing.

My preferred method, especially with the clear water, is to walk the banks like a fly angler, casting very shallow lures, spinnerbaits and jigs. Two lures that produced excellent bass for me last Autumn were the Smith Pebble SR and the Jackall 0 Footer Cherry, both of which I term ‘wake baits’.

Both these lures can be worked very slowly, put out very similar vibrations and have similar actions. I could see the bass come up and eyeball the lures on the pause and the moment I moved the rod tip sideways, they struck.

I have found that during early Spring brighter colours work best.

With the dam now at a good height, the Carrowbrook and Fallbrook arms have some really good banks to fish and the fishing around the timber with yabbies and worms is also very rewarding.

In early Spring a good option on scattered fish is to troll lures that run around 2m to 3m with a tight action, especially in bright colours. A good sounder is imperative.


Glenbawn is always slow to rise to 17° because a lot of snowmelt flows into it so the season can be around four weeks later than St Clair. This slow rise in temperature can still produce some good fishing, especially around the back of the dam where the shallow bays get warmer in the middle of the day.

Glenbawn should fish well with lures and spinnerbaits, especially those with a lot of contrasting patterns and bright colours.

Downsizing lures can be very productive if the bass are not very active. Switch from 60mm lures to 50mm and use spinnerbaits with smaller blades.

Although this month is supposed to be time to use reaction baits, this is not always the case so be prepared to vary your tackle and try different options.

You can spend time trolling or use your sounder to find structure holding fish or is a little warmer.

Yabbies and worms fished around the banks, especially in the main basin, should account for some nice catties, goldens and silvers alng with the odd bass.

This dam can experience very strong winds this month and last year some days they hit 40 knots, so keep an eye out, They usually hit around lunchtime, just as the fish are starting to bite.

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