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How to Catch Bass on Rising Dams

By Peter Phelps

As we swing through this recent bout of wet weather I cant help but feel there is a silver lining for anglers. Unusually high rainfall up and down the east coast have pushed far enough inland to see a lot of the stocked impoundments reaching 100% for the first time in a very long time.

These constant rising levels have been great for the freshwater ecosystems and in turn the stocked fish. Not only have the baitfish schools returned to the lakes but the fish that feed on them are fat and thriving.

As the two large major lakes in NSW's Hunter Valley reach full capacity the fishing should settle into their seasonal patterns and they should fish amazingly well.

While the lakes rose rather slowly the fishing was a bit hot and cold. One thing you have to understand, that constant rain over 12 to 18 months grows a lot of vegetation on the shore line. Grass, small trees, bushes and weeds. As the levels slowly increase these become sunken below the water level, slowly dying then in turn rotting. This takes a lot of oxygen from the waters edge and the fish generally don’t like being around it, unless you can line up a trip after a quick rise (more than 4-6 feet of water in a few days and for it to be there no more than 7 days). After this time this vegetation is starting to rot again and and in turn has an effect on the fish and how they relate to the edges.

Now the lakes are at capacity and providing the levels stable enough for weed beds to start growing and there's no more massive increases of drowned vegetation, I expect this winter, spring and summer to be the best fishing these lakes have seen in nearly 10 years.

I suggest for all those that have not fished Lake St Clair or Lake Glenbawn, pencil some days down later this year in the calendar. With the current weather patterns I feel from around June/July until December will be red hot fishing. I expect the bite patterns to be seasonally the same but I anticipate that each season the fish will be thick, hungry and full of fight. Expect to get snapped off a few times this year.

For winter months a 60mm or 75 mm Double Clutch and a 2.5 inch Bait Junkie Minnow will be my first two choices. As it warms up I'll be opting for lures with more vibration, such as the Steez Cover Chatter (1/4oz and 3/8oz) and the Steez Spinnerbaits and Steez Asroc. Crankbaits like the Steez RPM Crank, Steez Shad 60SP and the Infeet Spike 53SP, plus a Steez Jig Spinner SS will all get a run.

As you transition into summer all your vibration lures will still work but surface lures will come into play as that water heats. The Steez Popper 70F and Infeet Slippery Dog 80F would be my two choices for topwater.

A freshly risen lake is a beautiful thing for a bass angler, they don't happen every year so make the most of what the current one has to offer. I'm looking forward to the rest of this year and everything that'll deliver. Happy bassing in 2022!

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