Things should pick up this month but because the season seems to be around four weeks later than usual, it will not hit its peak until the middle or end of the month when the water hits 17° or 18° and the weather become more stable and enjoyable.
The rivers have started to show some good signs, with some nice bass around 40cm appearing in reasonable numbers down around Maitland.
This season in the Hunter and Williams systems, the local Fisheries boys had no real trouble acquiring their five or six pairs of bass for their hatcheries for breeding. Usually there is a problem with one of the rivers having males predominant and the other females but this year it was a lot more balanced.
Last season I had some really good catches on gold Jackall TN50s and TN60s in the dirty water and on surface lures late in the afternoon. The Trollcraft Fizz Tail and Bass Bug accounted for some nice bass.
For those hunting further up the system where the water is a little clearer, 1/4oz to 3/8oz spinnerbaits work well in the more compact sizes. I like those from Secret Creek with the green/pearl skirt and single copper Colorado blade.
In the Williams River there should be some good action with crankbaits, Bass/Beetle Spins and spinnerbaits. This river is always has better clarity than the Hunter and Paterson and is therefore better for lures and plastics rigged on Beetle Spins and jigs.
The trout season opens this month up at the Barrington Tops and with good Winter snowfall and regular rain, it should be a good season.
Lake St Clair has been fishing quite reasonably and with warming water and some reasonable weed growth around the banks, there should be some really good bass and golden perch action.
Try to locate some sections on the dam where the water is approaching 18° because this triggers the appearance of the first shrimp, a favourite meal for bass and goldens. The water is very clear but all the fish will become very active.
It’s time for reaction baits such as spinnerbaits, crankbaits and lipless crankbaits. At the end of last season I was trying some of the new blade baits around the banks and had some good results. There are many other brands now hitting the market to supplement those from Koolabung, TT Lures, Cordell and Jackall and they are all worth a try.
Surface lures are always a good option but because the water is very clear, it is best to use them in the low light of dawn and dusk.
Those wishing to troll or cast cannot go past the Ferralcatts, AC Minnows and the locally produced Marz lures. Troll about 30m from the banks in about 7m depth where it drops into gutters
Bait-soakers can’t go past fishing the banks with worms for catties, bass, silvers and goldens, with the banks adjacent to the camping area very productive.
Glenbawn Dam is starting to become itself again and at its present level and should produce some fine catches this spring. The influx of snowmelt and additional nutrients will boost the stocks of smelt, which comprise the primary food source at the beginning of the season.
This dam starts to fire when the water hits 18°, when the smelt appear in very large numbers. Then it’s time to bring out the reaction baits.
The shallower banks around the middle to the back of the dam are the best options, where there is some form of cover and the water is marginally warmer.
Surface lures are always a good way to start and end the day.
Trolling is a very good option this month because the fish are very transient, searching for food, so towing lures with very strong vibration and preferably rattles can be very productive in the 5m to 7m depth range.
This is where lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits can produce good results, but they need to be trolled reasonable slowly and sometimes with trolling sinkers.
Bait fishing with worms and yabbies is also very productive, especially from the banks around the main basin and towards the back of the dam, using worms and yabbies. Some really nice silver perch were caught last October.
Glenbawn faces a lot of tournament pressure in Spring so it is advisable to get out there early and remember to try to return as many fish as possible to the water.
At the end of this month I will be helping NSW Fisheries with some of their stockings into local dams. They hope to produce State-wide around 314,000 bass fingerlings, 1,030,500 golden perch, 547,000 Murray cod, and 345.000 silver perch.
Those pencilled in for our local impoundments are: Lostock 5000 bass; Lake St Clair 50,000 bass and 25,000 golden perch, and Glenbawn 25,000 golden perch and 50,0000 bass.
These releases are to be supplemented with stockings from various clubs under the Fisheries dollar-for-dollar scheme. ABT is one of these organisations and this season has donated around $1000 towards bass stockings.Reads: 596