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Warm water lingers
  |  First Published: March 2011



With Autumn the weather should become a lot more pleasant and, hopefully, more predictable to allow for more time on the water.

However, Summer was late arriving so Autumn could also be four to six weeks late.

The dams and rivers will continue to fish very well and with the milder weather, the fish will tend to stay on the bite longer.

There have been some nice mullet and bass right through the lower Hunter, Paterson and Williams rivers.

This month should provide the last of the surface bites so it is worth getting out at daybreak with topwater lures. The middle of the month around the new moon should be prime time.

Topwater lures that resemble natural food are a real advantage and some of those in the upper price range really are worth that extra buck. My favourite and most productive recently have been the Smith Bisen and the Megabass Siglett, attached to a short leader of 6lb to 8lb mono that allows the lure to float and swim better.

The rivers can get a little discoloured in March so small spinnerbaits and blades around 1/4oz, and 50mm lipless crankbaits can work better subsurface. I like spinnerbaits with purple/pearl skirts and prefer solid dark patterns in the crankbaits and blades.

Up at the Barrington Tops there have been plenty of trout caught on worms and on fly and plenty more should be caught this month.

Lostock dam has also been fishing well with bass coming from around the banks on plastics, blades and crankbaits. The area around the camping zone is fishing well on spinnerbaits and Beetle Spins.

The dams up the valley are holding at good levels with areas of weed and cover for the bass. With the hot weather behind us this month they should continue to fish well.

THE DAMS

Lake St Clair always produces good numbers of fish this month, especially as the water begins to cool and the oxygen levels begin to rise.

There are plenty of good sections with good weed and water depth up both arms and some nice bass have been caught in the low light periods on surface lures. Later in the day deep crankbaits and spinnerbaits come into their own.

There is reasonable weed out in the 7m depths and after fishing the banks early, I move to these areas as the sun gets up.

Here I like to use deep crankbaits, slow-rolled spinnerbaits and, along the top of the deep weed, neutrally buoyant stickbaits.

My favourite lure for this is the deep Jackal Squirrel, on which I use a reasonable heavy fluorocarbon leader that helps keep the lure deep. I sometimes even add some stick-on weight to get it deeper.

During this month the water should get down to around 24° and the bass, golden perch and silvers get very active. They can move to the 8m to 10m depths where they can also be trolled up or jigged as the sun moves overhead.

These deeper fish can easily be seen on a good sounder like my Lowrance HDS 8 zoomed in on 5m to 10m and the drop-offs or hidden structure can be distinguished using the Lowrance StructureScan.

With in side imaging mode I don’t have to run the boat over these areas and put the fish off – I can remain 30m to 50m away.

Worms and yabbies worked around the timber have been fairly good but bank fishing should improve this month as the water cools off. The area around park is always an ideal spot to set up a rod and relax.

This month is prime time for Glenbawn bass and goldens, and for schools of silvers around the trees. Yabbies and worms work but I like to use small blades and minnow lures.

For the silvers, choose trees in around 10m with plenty of horizontal branches with fine green weed just below the waterline. Some good areas are up around the Soil Con shed and also around the Narrows.

In past years this was not possible because these trees were not in deep enough water.

Although the numbers of goldens have appeared to decline over recent years, they appear to be coming back now.

Trolling is a very good option for the big goldens with a 60mm to 70mm deep-diving lure with a wide wobble and a rattle. Purple is always my colour of choice but there is an excellent range of colours from Viking Lures.

The bass can be a little harder to locate because they can be anywhere over the entire dam, depending on water inflow and outflows, temperature and clarity.

It can be helpful to talk to the locals, especially the bait fishers, and then go on your own instincts.

FICKLE SCHOOLS

In recent years there have been good schools of bass in the main basin, while in other years they’ll be up around the middle section.

When the water drops to around 24°, bass and goldens like to be in the top 10m of the water column so in low light situations they can be targeted around the banks on surface lures, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. If the bite slows up, try 3” plastics on 1/4oz jigs along the edge of the weed.

Sometimes the schools can hold up suspended 5m to 8m in water around 30m deep and can be targeted with blades, ice jigs and plastics.

The bass bite can be quite fickle so very light leaders and jigs are the only option and it may be necessary to try many different sizes and types of plastics.

Small blades are also another option with this slow bite, with lures of 35mm to 40mm and 3g to 4g about right.

On these fickle fish your hook-up rate will increase if you use fluorocarbon of around 2lb to 4lb straight through with a soft-tipped rod with a fast taper.

Trolling a deep lure can help locate the schools while sounding; bass in particular can be drawn from quite a distance.

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