Mid-Autumn can be the most enjoyable and rewarding time of the year, especially fishing for bass and golden perch.
However, over recent weeks there has been a fair amount of rain, which helps the dams but does not do much for the river angler.
At this part of the season the water temperature begins to fall, which is a trigger for the bass in particular, to gorge and get ready for Winter. Fish in the rivers begin the migration downstream to start their spawning cycle.
They travel downstream until they reach water of the correct salinity and temperature and then hold in certain areas for extended periods to breed.
If the rivers clean up this month it should be a good spawning run, going on similar years, and there should be some really good fishing before Winter.
Bass this month will nail almost any type of presentation while in this aggressive feeding mode.
Because you will need to cover a lot of areas searching for the bass, small to medium spinnerbaits and crankbaits are very good searching lures.
Because the water will be stained or even muddy from the rain, I like to use fluoro green or yellow lures or failing that, purple or dark green.
I like to run 1/4oz-3/8oz spinnerbaits with a single Colorado copper blade and a skirt with a bit of purple or green.
Lipless cranks and blades can be very useful, especially in the deeper areas and adjacent to the rocky banks and places where creeks or drains run in.
Lake St Clair has been fishing really well and is holding at a reasonable level. But there is not much weed around the banks since it dropped in January-February.
Trollers have been accounting for nice bass in the 7m-8m runs and the edge bite has been OK very early and late in the day.
The bass have been in excellent condition and have been feeding on schools of gudgeons.
St Clair really fires up in April as the water falls to the low 20°s, elevating the oxygen level and raising the fishes’ metabolism, making them become very active.
During mid-Autumn the oxygen levels start to decline below about 10m so the bass and goldens move up in the water column to just below the thermocline, normally around 4m-5m.
This means you can target these fish at that depth anywhere around the dam as they move into shallower water. Areas to try should be at the ends of long points near deep water or, even better, where a gully or creek enters the dam.
These bass can be targeted using plastics, Beetle Spins, blades and deep crankbaits. If there is some cover, such as small brush, a jerkbait worked very aggressively works well.
This month the bass tend to move around the dam in search of the right conditions so allow plenty of time to locate them on the sounder, looking for the gullies and structure that can hold the fish. A side scan sounder eliminates the need to sound over the top of the fish and put them off.
A few areas up the back of the Fallbrook Arm and more up the Carrowbrook and around the Eastern Broadwater tend to fish best.
Trolling reasonably deep around these areas is very productive, choose any fluoro or solid colour lure.
Bait fishing from the banks has been a bit slow but a yabby dropped alongside the deeper timber up the Fallbrook should catch a catfish.
Lake Glenbawn has been fishing well with some nice goldens and bass coming from the back of the dam on lures and plastics. Down around the bottom end, most have been coming from deeper water and the trees.
Most of the weed has gone from around the edges so the bass will be moving around a fair bit because there are no baitfish-rich areas.
With the water temperature beginning to fall, the bass move around in search of the bait schools, which can be down deep around the main basin, or up the backs of bays and mouths of feeder creeks.
The fish can be very unpredictable: Where you can catch a heap today, you can go back tomorrow and get nothing. Wind direction changes and fronts moving through affect them a lot.
Bank anglers will need to find spots adjacent to relatively deep water yet with a fair amount of cover out of and under the water.
The thermocline should appear around 4m-5m, so this is the depth to target.
I like to begin with a plastic or Betts Spin and then move onto spinnerbaits and lures. The fish can be a bit timid this month.
Good colours for bibbed lures are purple or other dark colours. They need to run down around 5m-6m and have a tight wobble. For spinnerbaits the purple/green combinations work.
Bait fishos should grab some big yabbies and worms and fish some of the timber up around the North Run and Boat Harbour.Reads: 1108