Fishing the Nepean River at Penrith

The Nepean River is an idyllic and tranquil Sydney fishing spot, within an easy drive of the CBD. A vital part of the Hawkesbury system, it offers a rich fishing experience for anglers using lures. Diverse structure from deep pools to shallow riffles and submerged timber make the system ideal for Australian bass – and lure fishing!

Popular Fishing Spots on the Nepean River

Penrith Weir

Located near Penrith, the weir area is renowned for its bass, carp, and perch populations. The diverse habitats created by the weir, such as calm pools and faster waters, make it a prime spot for different fishing techniques.

Lures: Surface lures and crankbaits are effective, especially in the early morning and late afternoon when fish are most active.

Nepean Gorge

The Nepean Gorge is a picturesque section of the river known for its deep pools and rocky outcrops. Accessible by boat or kayak, it allows anglers to reach less pressured areas, enhancing the fishing experience.

Lures: Soft plastics such as Pro Lures fishtails work well around submerged structures and overhanging vegetation, as do spinnerbaits.


Downstream from Penrith, Regentville offers a scenic environment with productive fishing. The mix of slow-moving and fast waters caters to various fishing styles.

Lures: Suspending hard-bodied jerkbaits and soft plastics are popular, particularly when targeting bass around structures.


Near Camden, the river offers excellent fishing opportunities in a rural setting. The riverbanks, lined with trees and vegetation, provide ample hiding spots for fish.

Lures: Surface lures and small crankbaits are effective, especially during warmer months when fish feed aggressively.

Todd's Interview on Fishing The Nepean River

  • Bass in the Nepean can be found in the most unlikely spots, so try everywhere, even places you wouldn’t expect to hold fish.
  • Anywhere the fresh runs into the salt there’s a good chance of finding fish. They’re in most creeks that flow into the Nepean and the Hawkesbury and lots of spots within 30 minutes of the Sydney CBD
  • Common newbie mistakes include fishing too heavy and waiting for the perfect time to fish.
  • Fish light, and forget about lunar cycles, barometric pressure and so on, just go fishing because Sydney bass can be caught any day of the year.
  • Buzzbaits made by local lure maker Rod Cumming of Dreamfish Lures. Cast into structure and keep them moving.
  • Zman 2″ Soft Plastic Grubs with a Betts Spinner and 1/16oz jig head (size 1) in motoroil colour.
  • Jackall TN50 Lipless Crankbait (Vibe). It’s good to have a variety of both rattling and silent lipless crankbaits as sometimes the rattle will attract and other times scare fish
  • A 2000-2500 size spinning reel or  small baitcast reel loaded with 6-8kg braided line is perfect.
  • A matching spin or baitcast rod in the 3-6kg line range and around 2m to 2.2m long is about right. Longer rods inhibit casting in close quarters.
  • An 8kg leader about 1.5 times the rod length is a good choice for bass fishing, use mono for floating lures as fluorocarbon leaders can drag the lure down.

Listen To Jay's Interview On Fishing The Nepean River

  • When fishing the Nepean River by kayak it’s 20km from the dam to the first exit point. Kayaking from top to bottom in a day is possible.
  • Fishing from the bank is possible, but be prepared to wade in order to make casts.
  • Below the dam the river is shallow and weedy, but opens into a series of pools containing granite bounders and shale rubble. Average depth is 3 to 4 feet throughout.
  • Fishable year-round, excluding bass closed season and peak floods. Warmer months fish best but can be very hot.
  • Make prospecting casts at the head and tail of every pool, under overhanging vegetation and every obvious pieces of structure.
  • Accurate casting is critical when fishing the Nepean River. Lures more than a few inches from structure won’t tempt quality fish.
  • An approaching storm front can fish well, rapid falls in the barometric pressure often cause a hot bite.
  • Low light periods are the prime. Jay is often on the water before 4.30 am and off the water again by 9am.
  • Black Kokoda Bugger Chugs are perfect surface searching lures, great for both open water and casting to snags. Slow roll these lures all the way back to the rod tip as they can be taken at any point during the retrieve. Jay removes the belly treble and crushes the barbs on the tail treble.
  • A Number 2 Celta inline spinner is a trout lure designed for fishing water exactly like what you’ll find in this stretch of the Nepean River – and bass love them. Use these lures for prospecting, making casts across the current and retrieving them at a constant rate. The retrieve speed should be medium – enough to keep the blade spinning and not too much more.
  • A Rebel Teeny Wee Frog is a good option when the early morning bite starts to taper off but the fish are still active. A great search bait across shallow water, simply slow roll them for a wide action. Jay prefers the bullfrog colour – dark green on the back and yellow belly.
  • Both baitcast and spin tackle have a place, with baitcast preferred for accurate casting and wrangling fish from structure. Spin gear is great for casting lighter lures and prospecting open water.
  • Jay uses a 1-3kg Ian Miller custom baitcast rod that he’s owned for years, coupled with a Daiwa Pixy reel, 6lb braid and 10lb leader.
  • A 2-4kg spin rod with 1000-2000 size reel, 6lb braid and 10lb leader meets the open water needs.


Free Google Map Sent To Your Inbox


Techniques for Fishing the Nepean River

Surface Lures

Using surface lures early in the morning and late in the evening is highly effective. Poppers and walkers are ideal for casting near overhanging trees and shaded areas where fish are likely to strike.

Soft Plastics

Soft plastics are versatile and can be rigged in various ways to mimic natural prey movements. They are particularly effective in deeper pools and around structures, making them a go-to choice for many anglers.


Spinnerbaits are great for covering large areas of water quickly. Their flashy blades attract fish from a distance, making them ideal for faster-moving sections of the river.

Jerkbaits and Crankbaits

Perfect for targeting predatory fish like bass, jerkbaits and crankbaits work well around submerged structures and rocky areas where fish hide.

Best Practices for Fishing the Nepean River

  • Timing: Fish early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the busiest times and increase your chances of a catch.
  • Stealth: Move quietly and avoid making excessive noise to prevent spooking fish.
  • Persistence: Keep experimenting with different lures and techniques until you find what works best in the conditions you are fishing.
  • Closed Areas: Fishing is not permitted in some areas of Penrith Dam, so do your research and avoid those areas.


Fishing the Nepean River with lures can be incredibly rewarding. By targeting key spots such as Penrith Weir, Nepean Gorge, Regentville, and Camden, and using the right techniques and lures, you can be confident of tangling with some quality Australian bass. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, the Nepean River offers diverse and exciting fishing opportunities.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *