Mid-Autumn can be the most rewarding time of the season, especially for bass and golden perch.
In recent weeks the water temperature has began to fall, the trigger for bass, in particular, to gorge on food and get ready for Winter.
April is usually characterised by foggy mornings and mild daytime temperatures, which make for very enjoyable fishing, be it on the rivers or at the dams.
During April the river bass start heading downstream and actively feeding on the way as they prepare for spawning. They will continue this movement until they reach the correct salinity level and water temperature.
It is not uncommon for them to hold up in a certain area for extended periods until this occurs.
If the rivers remain very clear the bass will nail virtually any type of lure or various other presentations while in this feeding mode.
Because you can cover large areas fairly quickly, the best options are small crankbaits and compact spinnerbaits.
There are plenty of good lures to use but I have found the shallow and deep Jackall Chubbies very productive, especially the gold/black pattern. Spinnerbaits of 1/4oz to 3/8oz with Colorado blades and purple skirts also work.
Lipless crankbaits are a very good option, especially 50mm ones, whether soft or hard, as they can also be used to cover a lot of area and can be worked shallow or deep.
This month the best places should be around rock walls, deep sections adjacent to native trees, rock bars and outcrops.
Lake St Clair has been fishing well over recent weeks with good numbers of fish on lure and bait, while the trollers have accounted for quality fish.
This dam really fires up in April as the water falls to the low 20°s, raising the oxygen level and increasing the fishes’ metabolism. They become very active.
During mid-Autumn the oxygen levels drop at the bottom of the water column (10m-plus), so the bass and goldens move up to just below the thermocline, which is normally around 4m.
This is where they will hold during the day but they’ll move to the shallower banks and bays in the low light times and also up to the banks where the wind is blowing.
The shallower fish are naturally easier to target with lures and various other techniques around the bank.
Surface lures are always worth a try if the conditions are correct. Another very good option is a hard jerkbait, such as the Jackall Squirrel, worked very aggressively.
My Structure Scan sonar is very helpful because I can see the gullies, weed or structure where the bass will be holding without actually going over the top of them with the boat and putting them off.
After fishing the shallow sections, especially up the Carrowbrook and Fallbrook arms, working out in the deeper sections of the Broadwater is a good option.
The bass and goldens are best targeted in the deeper water with 1/2oz spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits as these fish are very actively feeding. All they will need is a bit of enticing.
Also worth a try in this depth are 3/8oz to 1/2oz blades or even very deep crankbaits
Trolling some of the good lures from Viking and Jackall can be very productive and helpful in locating the fish.
The weed around the edges can make for some really good bank fishing with live shrimp and yabbies. There are plenty of catfish around the camping area and worms are their favourites.
Lake Glenbawn has been fishing well and should continue through to Easter.
Numbers of fish have come from around the entire dam.
Trollers have been doing well around the wall and the spin and bait fishers have succeeded around the mid reaches and up the back of the dam.
Glenbawn has plenty of deep weed around the banks where there are good schools of gudgeons.
Fishing the banks early with fast, horizontally swimming baits like topwaters, spinnerbaits and crankbaits will allow you to cover a lot of water to locate the fish. Once you get a few you can slow down and thoroughly work the area with jerkbaits and even plastics.
With very little oxygen below the thermocline, which this month is usually around 4m to 5m, it is important to focus on this depth when selecting and presenting lures.
But all this can change if there is a cold front or wind blowing over previous days.
During Autumn the bass, in particular, are following schools of bait and can be located anywhere from the main basin to the very backs of the bays and creeks.
Often this can change daily so where you caught fish today, tomorrow they will have probably moved.
Usually points, creek channels and drop-offs are the big producers, especially where they have a northern aspect. This is why the wall end of the main basin can be very productive.
Trolling with lures in dark patterns that run down around 5m can be very productive. Trolled lipless crankbaits, blades and spinnerbaits are worth a try if they have enough weight to get down around 4m.
Bait fishers should grab some large yabbies and fish the main basin and the old river section at the back of the dam for goldens and bass. Worms will be the prime bait for silvers around the timber in around 8m to 10m.Reads: 1012