July is usually one of the hardest months to fish local impoundments. The westerly winds can make the days quite cold and the water can fall to around 11°.
However, if you manage to get some of those nice foggy mornings and clear sunny days, it can still be very enjoyable out on the dams.
At Lake St Clair there have been a reasonable number of juvenile fish caught while in Glenbawn, the numbers have been a little better and the bass in very good condition.
The fish from both dams have come from jigging in 10m depths areas, along with trolling and bait fishing around the trees in a similar depth.
Both dams have very good weed around the edges but the most obvious change is the clear water due to lack of microscopic algal growth.
The most important change that is relevant to locating the bass and goldens is the change in the water column. There will now be a rollover of the water layers, which means there are no distinct temperature changes from top to bottom.
This ‘isothermal’ means that the bass and goldens can be feeding or holding at any depth.
In past years I have noticed that the bass, in particular, have held in 10m to 14m in open areas and adjacent to structure, especially large trees. There they feed on schools of hardiheads and gudgeons.
A good sounder is imperative to locate the schools of baitfish, which are in turn feeding on the clouds of microorganisms which can be seen on the sounder screen as large dark clouds. These are normally up near the surface in the middle of the day.
Unfortunately, Winter fishing, this month in particular, can be very slow but results will come from plenty of sounder staring and covering heaps of water.
Trolling can be a very good option because you can cover lot of water and keep a good eye on the sounder to help locate the fish.
It sometimes can be quite frustrating looking for the fish but I remember a couple of seasons ago I was sitting out in the open Broadwater at Lake St Clair in the middle of the day and noticed baitfish skimming along the surface.
I picked up a rod with a Jackall Squirrell on it and managed to hook into a couple of nice bass. These were absolutely full of gudgeons.
This happened on one of those very still, clear days with the barometer up on 1026hpa.
Lake St Clair is very clear at present with dense weed out off the banks. In certain areas there are big clumps out in 4m to 5m depths. This is where the bass can be targeted using hardbodies, plastics and compact spinnerbaits, with even a few fish coming in close to the banks on surface lures.
Fishing the school fish out in 10m to 14m is usually most productive with plastics, ice jigs and blades.
However, these fish can be very uncooperative and they can try your patience some days. It is important to put the lure right on the fishes’ noses.
Fly-fishing and walking the banks casting lures can also be very productive around this weed, especially in St Clair’s Main Basin and the Carrowbrook Reach.
Trollers can also grab a few fish if they spend time working the deeper water, paying close attention to the sounder to find the baitfish clouds.
The Broadwater is an ideal place to troll deep lures or spinnerbaits, because there are not too many snags. Some good lures to use are from the Stuckey, Halco and Viking ranges around 60mm. The general size of bass in St Clair is smaller than in previous years.
Bait can also be productive but with the thick weed around the banks, the best option is to tie up to a tree in 10m to 12m and drop over a fat yabby or a bunch of worms.
After a couple of days of high pressure, Glenbawn can be absolutely picture perfect on those foggy early mornings followed by beautiful blue skies – provided it doesn’t cop the freezing westerlies blowing off the Barrington Tops.
The best option for nice goldens and bass is around the timber in 6m to 12m using live bait, plastics, vibrating lures and jigs.
Dropping a lipless crankbait down around these trees will also get a hit but it can also get the fish a bit excited and more reluctant to take a bait or lure.
If using plastics use plenty of scent and regulary move from tree to tree. And keep coming back to some you have previously fished, because they may have come on the chew – it is all about patience.
Working the banks at Glenbawn is not very productive this month. A better option for a more consistent bite is to look for the deeper fish in 12m to 15m and use plastics, ice jigs or blades.
Some good areas to target this month can be up near the Soil Con shed, the Dogleg, New House Bay and back around the lower part of the dam in Yellow Buoy Bay and Cemetery Point.
Trolling is always a good option in this dam, with the area up around the 8-knot zone a good place to start, especially for goldens. This is also a good section to drop a bait down around the timber, especially a live yabby.
Although this month your fishing time is reduced to around eight hours of good light and sunshine, it can still be very enjoyable and although large numbers of fish are not the norm, just being out there is very relaxing.Reads: 1330