Fishing Clarrie Hall Dam
Clarrie Hall is an exciting fishery and an absolute pleasure to fish. The shear beauty of this wetland ensures that time spent fishing Clarrie Hall Dam is time spent regenerating the soul.
Located in mountainous terrain and fringed with lily pads and lotus flowers, Clarrie Hall is arguably one of the most picturesque of all fishing spots in Australia. The dam was built to supply the Tweed valley region with drinking water and as such no combustion engines are allowed on the water. Kayaking, canoeing and electric-powered boats are the best way to access the fishery.
Thanks to the regular stocking efforts of local fishing clubs, this waterway currently supports a healthy population of Australian bass. At time of writing the bass average a length of approximately 36cm. They are fat healthy fish feeding predominantly on small fish such as firetail gudgeon, insects and frogs. Targeting the bass with imitations of their food source reaps the best rewards. Small diving minnows, surface flies and frog imitations all draw good responses. After snaffling the lure bass put up an excellent fight for their size, immediately stripping line and heading straight for the cover of the weeds. Most fish are lost at this stage unless immediate action is taken to pull them away from their cover.
This is where our Native Watercraft are second to none. Unlike many other pedal driven kayak the ‘Slayer Propel‘ can be pedaled both forwards and backwards. This is an advantage that cannot be underestimated when fishing Clarrie Hall Dam. Most of the bass ambush the lure and in an instant, head back to the weed. By immediately pedaling backwards the angler is able to significantly increase his catch rate.
Clarrie Hall is quite unique as it differs from other impoundments in a few ways. With a surface area of 220ha and a maximum depth of 41 meters Clarrie is dwarfed by some of its larger cousins such as Somerset and Wivenhoe. Also unlike it’s cousins Clarrie Hall does not support a population of bony bream. With few baitfish to feed on in the open water it is thought that Clarrie bass mostly focus on feeding around the margins of the lake. This combination of food type and lake size presents an ‘edge bite’ to the fisherman almost all year round.
Fly fishing is an excellent option here with flies such as dahlberg divers, cicadas, frogs and dragonfly imitations all working well at times of low light. Spinner baits, beetle spins and blades are sometimes needed to elicit a trigger response. Small soft plastics can work at times when the subtle approach is needed.
Stocking Mangrove Jacks
Whilst fishing Clarrie Hall Dam the angler may also encounter mangrove jack Lutjanus argentimaculatus. In March 2015 Clarrie Hall was stocked by with good numbers of mangrove jack fingerlings. If a population of these notoriously hard fighting fish takes hold some truly awesome fishing could transpire. These fish have been known to reach some staggering size proportions when stocked in freshwater dams. Keeping a bass from returning to its’ cover is hard enough, but turning the head of a large mangrove jack could prove to be near impossible!