Water begins to warm up
  |  First Published: September 2011

With the arrival of Spring we can hope for the westerlies to keep away and with the days becoming longer the water temperature in the dams and rivers should begin to rise.

During the past couple of months St Clair and Glenbawn have received plenty of inflow and are now at heights not seen for years.

The rivers have also received some good freshes and now that the river bass season has reopened, all those new snags will make them very interesting to fish.

Over the past couple of weeks there have been some good bass caught in both impoundments, with the majority of fish coming from the schools in 10m to 13m on ice jigs and blades.

It has been a pretty windy so let’s hope over the next month or so we see a lot more settled weather.

The bass in the Hunter, Williams and Paterson rivers are always in excellent condition after having completed their spawning and are very aggressive towards any lure in their vicinity.

Crankbaits, blades, spinnerbaits and plastics will all work but I have found that if the water is still discoloured, dark and solid colours are best for the crankbaits. Spinnerbaits with green skirts and gold blades work well.

For metal blade lures, try anything with gold or silver. In the Ecogear range try pattern 405 or 439 and in the TT Switchblades, go for gold noggin or copperhead.

There are such a wide range of crankbaits and blades now available along with many patterns in the tackle shops these days and so you should be tempted to try some different ones.


In the early part of the season it can be a little frustrating trying to locate which part of the system the fish are holding. Every year can be different but it is usually not too far from the top of the tidal zone, because this is where there are usually good quantities of food available, such as prawns.

Lake St Clair will fish really well in September if the water temperature continues to rise slowly and with the water at its present level there is plenty of new ground to try.

Once the water starts to warm, the bass move up to the banks to feed on the shrimp and gudgeons that shelter around the weed.

This month it is good to fish from the banks because there is not much weed in close with the dam at this height.

Surface lures are worth a try very early in the day, and very shallow-running lures or wake baits can be very productive.

My favourites are the Jackall Shallow Chubby and the Jackall Cherry. Both of these lures should be worked across or near the surface with a lot of pauses. They make a small wake and also vibrate.

On the pause you can sometimes see the bass come up and eyeball the lure, usually from the front. Once you move the lure with your rod tip, the fish often nails it.

Good colours for these lures are green and dark purple – I think they resemble small frogs.

Soft plastics on very light jig heads are also worth a try, with the 3” Berkley Bass Minnow a top performer worked in the first 10m from the bank with short rips and pauses.

Off the banks now there are plenty of good areas for working lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits up both arms of St Clair, with the water marginally warmer on western and southern banks.

There will still be the schools of bass holding deep, just around the thermocline that can be easily seen on your sounder this month. These fish can be targeted with ice jigs, blades, plastics or by trolling deep lures such as the purple deep Stuckey.

The fish are very active, moving around the dam searching for the correct water conditions and food. Lipless crankbaits and blades allow you to search a wide area fairly quickly.


Lake Glenbawn is still very clear in most areas with the water temperature barely rising, thanks to snowmelt from the Barrington Tops.

Around the back of the dam there is plenty of food coming down and in some of the bays in the middle reaches the water is a little warmer.

As with St Clair, low light periods are good for surface and near-surface lures and as the sun rises move to plastics, crankbaits and other reaction baits.

Because Glenbawn is slow to warm up, there will still be a lot of fish holding up in their comfort zone, usually around 10m to 13m, or just below the thermocline. Target these fish with blades or ice jigs and if they are shut down, plastics on light jigs can work.

Trolling very deep lures or small lures on downriggers is also a good option in open water.

Worms can be a good option off the banks up around the back of the dam. Around the camping area is also good for catties and goldens on worms and yabbies.

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