Lake Glenbawn, New South Wales

Lake Glenbawn
Lake Glenbawn

Lake Glenbawn is arguably the best big-bass impoundment in New South Wales.

The lake is near Barrington Tops National Park, a high area known for trout streams, but most Glenbawn fishos catch bass, with occasional yellowbelly.

Bass, murray cod, yellowbelly, silver perch, brown and rainbow trout have been stocked in the lake.

The lake suffered a significant fish kill in June 2022 after it quickly filled to 100 per cent capacity following heavy rain.

It is uncertain how long such fish kills may affect fishing quality.

The wall was built on the Hunter River about 15km from Scone in 1958. The wall was upgraded in 1986.

The lake now has a surface area of 2620ha when full, and an impressive maximum depth of 85m.

Water levels vary greatly, check before fishing.

Because the lake is just two hours (160km) from Newcastle and three and half hours from Sydney, it is popular at weekends.

Glenbawn bass grow big, with fish of more than 4kg landed, although the average size is far smaller.

Bass and yellowbelly best in spring and summer but before the water gets too hot, with fishing improving again after peak summer temperatures.

Surface fishing for cod – often deemed a summer activity – can be very good in winter, with fish feeding up against the banks.

Otherwise, cod are usually found around timber.

Fishing with jigs is a popular method for bass and yellowbelly, using the sounder to locate fish.

Trolling is a relaxing way to cover ground.

Target timber structure or use sonar to locate schools in open water. The schools will not always be on the bite.

When the lake is rising, trout can be found around the lake edges foraging for worms.

Water temperature is important for good bass, yellowbelly and cod fishing.

In cold weather, look for sunlit shallows in winter and spring, and work the sounder to find fish.

On your first visit, deciding where to start fishing such a large impoundment can be very daunting.

The top area of the lake where cold water from the Barrington Tops flows in can be productive in early spring, as this is when there is usually good flow.

Try locating the former river bed channel and troll each side of it, as well as the nearby banks.

The middle of the lake has many bays where boaters can usually find sheltered fishing.

There are heavily timbered areas in 10m to 12m of water that are ideal for jigging or bait fishing, but it all changes with varying lake levels.

Points are usually worth fishing.

Trolling is popular in the lake’s lower section, especially off the points, and along the dam wall.

“Boat Harbour” on the western shore is a good place when the wind is blowing hard.

Anywhere you fish, find bait schools or the fish and place your lures at the same depth.

Bibbed lures work well cast from shore, with spinnerbaits and jigs generally used around timber.

Surface lures work best in low light conditions during warm weather.

Weedless soft plastic lures can be fished around weedbeds, try using light resin jig heads for a good presentation.

When it is cold try fishing deep.

Through summer, watersports are popular, so mid-week fishing trips are recommended, although the lake’s size means there is usually a quiet place to fish.

The weather at Glenbawn can be cold and the lake gets rough, so take appropriate clothing.

Facilities are excellent, with powered camp and van sites, tent sites and cabins.

There are barbecues, picnic areas and amenities blocks, two all-weather tennis courts for hire, children’s playgrounds, a cricket oval, three-hole golf, and a recreation hall for parties or corporate functions.

The boat ramps are good, with boat and canoe hire available at a kiosk.

The park office phone is (02) 6543 7193 fax (02) 6543 7422.

NSW dam levels
NSW stocked waters
Sydney dam levels
NSW fishing regulations

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