Feeding up before the spawn
  |  First Published: April 2014

Mid-Autumn can be the most rewarding time of the season, especially when it comes to fishing the local impoundments for bass and goldens.

Over recent weeks the dams and rivers have received some good rainfall, which will put plenty of food and oxygen into the water. Along with the added food source, the water temperature is beginning to fall which will trigger the fish into gorging on bait. Their goal is to put on fat before winter in the dams and in the rivers, and to build up condition for the spawning cycle.

April is usually characterised by beaut foggy mornings and mild daytime temperatures. We also get mild winds at this time of year, which make for very enjoyable day’s fishing both on the dams and in the rivers.

Over recent weeks there have been plenty of bass coming from all the local rivers. Up the Williams around Clarencetown the bass have been in very good numbers although they have been in the 30-35cm size. This should continue through this month as there will be more fish coming down the river to get to the spawning areas.

Up the Paterson and Allyn rivers there have been some nice bass caught, especially on surface lures in the low light periods. Up at Lostock there have been some good catches coming from around the banks on lures and this should carry on into next month. If you have not fished in this area I recommend that you call in and see Scott Everitt at the local Gresford service station for advice and some of the locally made Marz lures.

The Hunter, right through from Aberdeen down to the Terrace, has also been producing plenty of nice bass with the better catches coming from the low light periods of the day.

If the rivers continue to remain clear the bass will nail virtually any type of lure or variation as they feed-up before their spawning cycle begins. Because of their ability to cover a lot of water quickly I like to use small crankbaits and compact spinnerbaits until I locate where the fish are holding and then go to Betts-Spins, blades or plastics. There are plenty of lures to choose from these days, but I still have my favourites – Jackall Chubbys, Jackall 40mm Vibes and Marz lures.

When it comes to spinnerbaits I like a compact design, either 1/4oz or 3/8oz with copper Colorado blades with some purple in the skirt.

Towards the end of this month and through until the end of autumn some areas to target are rock walls and deep sections adjacent to native trees or rock bars.


Lake St Clair hasn’t fished very well in recent weeks because the dam level has been falling, but with some recent rainfall this could easily change once the height stabilises. The other problem with this dam is there is very little weed and so there is no section or cover to hold the fish in the immediate area.

Trollers have been getting onto a few fish in the 7-8m deep water adjacent to the river area up both the Fallbrook and Carrowbrook. There have been very few fish coming from the edges, and only very late in the day and into the night.

St Clair usually fires in April as the water temperature falls into the low 20s, elevating the oxygen level and raising the fishes’ metabolism, making them more active.

During this month the thermocline is usually around 6m so you should target around this level. This means you should look to try around the ends of long points, where the level drops to around 7-8m, or where a gully or creek enters the dam and flows into the river channel across a flat.

These bass can be very hard to get to bite so a more sensitive approach can help. These means using small plastics, beetle-spins, blades and hardbody lures on light leaders.

As the dam has risen over recent weeks the bass will be constantly on the move in search of ideal conditions so you will need plenty of time to locate them, looking for gullies and the right cover and structure. This is where the use of a side scan function can be a very helpful as you can cover a lot of area and also do not have to sound over the top of the fish.

A few good areas to try that have produced fish in recent years include up the back of the Carrowbrook from about Adams point, Loder and Perkins points and around Gindigah Point.

Up the Fallbrook has also produced fish over recent years around Carnells Corner and The Ruins and further down around Wood bay and the left hand side of the start of the reach. In the Broadwater around Swannys and St Clair Island can also hold some fish off the points.

Baitfishing has been very slow with the lack of cover in close, but with the dam back up to its present level I am sure the catties will take a live yabby or worm.

Lake Glenbawn has been fishing really well recently with some nice goldens and bass being caught. Most of these fish have been coming from the deeper water on plastics and mainly from the bottom of the dam up to around the Dogleg.

As there is virtually no weed around the banks, most of the areas the fish are holding in are around 13-18m in the water column. That is constant for anywhere in the dam at present, with good cover nearby.

There are some good schools holding around the main basin on the western side in this depth and also up near the North Run. Further up the dam up around the Dogleg and New House Bay there are some good fish out in the deep water and near some of the deep timber.

Around the Narrows in close to the timber but in the 20m depth there are also some school bass. These bass and goldens are in excellent condition with an average weight of around 1kg. Targeting these deep fish can be a bit frustrating, as they are easily put off the bite, but using light leaders of about 2-3m and cut-down plastics usually will account for a few. If they bite but you seem to miss the hook-up you may have to try using a small stinger hook in the plastic’s tail.

Another option can be small blades jigged up off the bottom through the suspending fish. I have found that running fluorocarbon straight through is the best option for this. Quite often you may have to keep circulating between different areas until you find some that are on the chew.

Trolling can sometimes be an option on these deep fish but at the depth they are holding at present it can be very hard to get your lure deep enough. Next month as he water temp cools further the bass will come up a bit higher in the water column and so trolling will be better then.

For all the fishing clubs out there go to the Lowrance website and take up the Insight Genesis Fishing Club Callenge and you could win some $$$!

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