River freshens up
  |  First Published: March 2010

Things have certainly freshened up in the Hawkesbury. In early February we saw a solid fresh push right through the system, thanks to good rain in the upper catchment areas.

The fishing was great because the fresh concentrated a lot of species back downstream, where more favourable water conditions and feeding propositions existed.

This month anglers should fare well as the water clears, temperatures rise and the salinity pushes back upstream.

Fishing around the top of the tide will yield better results because this will be the clearer, more saline water which allows fish a better chance to find your baits and lures.

Bream will be moving back upstream and should be found around Wisemans Ferry and nearby reaches towards the mouth of the system.

Strip baits rock in the dirty water and those who have fished the headlands lately should have some nice bonito fillets to waft back down a steady berley trail.

Lure fishos will still find fish active on the flats on poppers, topwater stick baits, shallow-running hardbodies and blades.

Berowra, Cowan and Pittwater all have good flats and weed beds to prospect. These same areas hold some stud whiting as well but these require a constant retrieve to ignite their senses, as opposed to a stop-start retrieve for the bream.

Flathead will be in great condition after the fresh. Dads Corner, Wisemans Ferry, Laughtondale, Bar Point and the bridges should have good numbers of fish willing to take baits and lures.

There has been a nice piece of blue water hanging around the headlands, holding plenty of bait. Kingfish, bonito, frigate mackerel and salmon have been active throughout the day.

Trolling a spread of lures such as metal slices and shallow-running hardbodies, downrigging and casting to the washes are all taking their share of fish.

Further upstream, jewfish should start to feed ravenously before the water temps start to drop.

Baitfish should be in healthy numbers with plenty of nutrients to kick-start the food chain.

Live baits are No 1 with jewies, especially if the water is discoloured. A live bait will send out vibrations as it sits in the current, allowing these predators to sense their whereabouts through their lateral lines and home in for an easy meal.

The same principle will apply in discoloured water while tossing lures at jewfish. Be it a blade, plastic or a hardbody, a good jewfish lure should have vibration for better detection.


The reaches above Windsor and well into the sweetwater have had much-needed relief from the weeds choking the system.

Although a large portion of weed is still in place, plenty has been flushed downstream with the fresh but, unfortunately, it didn’t make the ocean. Instead, it is moving with the tides in the middle reaches, fouling lines and causing tough times for the commercial prawners.

Drains and creek mouths fished well as the river level receded and the water turned to a nice tannin-stained colour.

Spinnerbaits, bibless minnows and soft plastics all accounted for fit, healthy bass and estuary perch.

There are plenty of new snags to explore through the whole system but be careful on the water because there will still be semi-submerged logs getting about. These can cause enormous damage to boats and motors.

The creeks are topped up and have steady flows, resulting in some great bass fishing for those willing to get off the beaten track and do some exploring.

Small, shallow-running hardbodies and surface lures offer great visual takes that make the heart skip a beat.

Estuary perch have been on the chew in the tidal water, feeding on school prawns and baitfish. Lures should resemble these for best results, with 2” and 3” grubs and minnows firm favourites.

Blades are quite reliable options for this species but it can get costly fishing the rock walls and snags. I prefer to apply these when searching for EPs along the weed beds, using long parallel casts to cover ground and find fish.

For all the latest gear and advice, drop in and see the guys at Windsor Bait and Tackle.

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