It’s Salmon Central
  |  First Published: July 2010

We have salmon central here in Lake Macquarie at the moment. None of us can remember when they have been so thick and they turned up six weeks early as well.

Normally they just hang around Salts Bay and down to Catherine Hill Bay, but this year they have headed into the lake.

Boats have been getting double-figure catches of salmon down south around the mouth of Dora Creek, Summerland Point, past Raffertys Resort and even near the hot water outlet.

I thought it seemed a bit strange that they have been that far south, as the warm water from the outlet would have put them off. But one of our customers who works at the outlet tells us that they are now cooling the water by releasing it into settling ponds before it hits the lake to reduce the amount of noxious weed that thrives in the hot water.

John Frith was bream fishing down that way the other night and said the water was only 16° at Myuna Bay, and at this time of the year I didn’t think it was possible. But with the settling ponds, it starts to make sense.

The most obvious salmon spot is Salts Bay on the run-in tide, although being as thick and hungry as they are, you will still get them on the ebb tide.

The top lures are the 3”and 4” Berkley PowerBaits in casper clear, and just like all the other tackle stores in Newcastle, we can’t stock enough of them. The Shimano resin heads in #1 and #2 again are hard to come by.

Keep the leader and main line light and you are on your way to having a fun-filled fishing session. Check your drag before you throw the first cast, as you are likely to hook up and with a tight drag, you will be busted off in no time.


There is a lack of tailor down south. I don’t know whether it’s because the salmon are competing with them for food, the bait fish have moved on because the water is too cold or the netters have been at work but the winter tailor run we had been hoping for has not happened.

There are still a few about in the lake but not as many as we would like. The best way to catch them is to troll deep divers like Rapala X-Raps in orange tiger and green parrot colours.

Try trolling the ‘triangle’ from the Drop Over down to Wangi and back towards Coal Point. There could also be a few fish up towards Green Point (if the salmon aren’t already there).

If you happen to find tailor feeding on the surface, cast a chromie or troll feathers around the school. Staun, Macca and I have even used the big Halco Roosta poppers we throw for kingies, so you never can tell what they will attack.

The beaches and rocks are similarly quiet, so let’s hope that the tailor turn up soon.

Towards the end of this month we should see a few more flathead appearing. Working lures slowly on the bottom has been the way to get a feed, with some of the bigger soft plastics like the 6” and 7” Berkley Gulps a good choice.

Depending on your drift speed, this is one of the only times I use a very light jig head in deeper water. In warmer water we use a heavier head to get it down and then rip it from the bottom because the fish more active and will travel to attack a lure.

Try to keep your drift slow (use a drogue/sea anchor if necessary) and slowly work/flick your lure on the bottom to really look like a sick bait fish. It might take several casts before a flathead hits the lure.

Places to be casting are from the Drop Over to Coil Point, Coon Island Caravan Park and down towards Raffertys. The channel should have a few fish, too.


Even with the cooler water about, jewfish to 20kg have been caught although the majority have been around 3kg to 6kg, mostly at night on bait.

The beaches have been fairly quiet and I wonder if this has a lot to do with the lack of tailor.

Bream are out and about so for the bait fishers, mullet gut, mullet strips, Hawkesbury River prawns and pilchards are good, especially at night. Get there before the sun goes down and fish a bit deeper for a squire with squid before moving in close to chase bream.

For the lure fisher, blades are definitely worth a go, along with the usual plastics like the Berkley Shrimp 2”in banana prawn and 3” camo grubs.

Inshore, trevally should make up the bulk of your catch with a few bream and squire. Out at the southern Farm down to Norah Head, there could be a few snapper if the leatherjackets don’t move in.

Further south, longfin sea perch, big trag and morwong are about with squid and pilchards best baits. Out at the shelf, yellowfin and southern bluefin have been reported so if conditions are right, dust off the game gear and head wide.

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