two redfin one lure

Ben Chifley Dam

Ben Chifley Dam is the main water storage for Bathurst and the surrounding area. It is a hot spot for Redfin  (English Perch) and big cod. There are also good numbers of trout and native Golden Perch  to be caught.

The dam is located 20 minutes drive South of Bathurst. Just follow the road to The Lagoon from Bathurst.

Fishing from a boat is popular with those targeting Redfin. Most commonly people throw lures or drop bait around snags (mostly submerged trees). Locating a school on a depth sounder, then bounce jigs through the school as you drift over the hot spot is also great way to fish for redfin. It is worth getting your jig to hit the bottom as this tends to mean more strikes. You can use just about any type of small jig. You can even fish metal lures such as blades as if they were a jig with similar results.

When the Redfin are on the bite you can catch 10 fish in an hour, but when they are quiet you can sit over a school for hours and be unable to temp a single fish. If this happens try change your method of fishing. For instance try drifting a live bait through the school (yabby or worm or switch to trolling along the edge of the old river bed with a down rigger set at 15 feet above the bottom. You also stand to catch trout or large natives using this deep trolling method.

Bait fishermen tend to target natives from the shore with yabbies and worms. Areas where the bank drops away rapidly into deeper water tend to be more popular areas to fish.

The best access is by boat from the boat ramp at the dam wall. It is very well maintained and there are toilets and BBQ facilities available. It is a very nice place for a family fishing trip.

Much of the lake is surrounded by private land, however some crown land does exist near to where Garthowen Road first nears the water about 3km after leaving The Lagoon Charlton Road.

There is also good fishing in the Campbell’s River below the dam wall and upstream of the dam, although access is mainly via private land.

Fish Stocked
Golden Perch, Rainbow Trout, Murray Cod and Silver Perch

Fish Present
Redfin Perch, Golden Perch, Rainbow Trout, Murray Cod, Brown Trout and Silver Perch

Land Manager
Bathurst Regional Council

Campbell’s River. Total Size of catchment is 950 square km


Water Depth
25m max

Power boats are permitted. Sometimes used for water skiing.

Constructed in 1956 to supply water to the Bathurst area the dam soon became popular with recreation fishermen. Initially trout were the main target species, however over time native fish and the introduced redfin perch became popular with fishermen. Redfin perch have dominate the waterway since the 1980’s.

Gates Open from 730am to 730pm (6pm in winter).
Swimming not permitted when algal blooms are present.
Swimming is not currently permitted.

Want More Info
Contact Bathurst Visitors Centre
Phone: 02 6337 2507

Click here for a map of Ben Chifley Dam