As we move into the end of autumn the weather patterns have been fairly consistent, with several days of constant high pressure and luckily not too much wind. The fishing has been a bit fickle, with some good days and some very ordinary.
Throughout this month and right through until winter, the river bass will be migrating down to the tidal zones in the rivers. Here the salinity and temperature levels are ideal for spawning, so the bass can begin to prepare for their breeding cycle. This can be a good time to go fishing as the bass can be quite aggressive and will take on any well- presented lure.
In the Williams, Paterson and Hunter rivers the water can be a little discoloured so crankbaits, spinnerbaits and blades work the best. If the water clears up then beetle spins will be productive rigged with a 2.5 or 3” plastic.
If you’re using crankbaits, they need to be about 50mm and contain a rattle if possible, and should get down to around 2 -3m. Black or purple are usually very good colours.
Spinnerbaits should be about 1/4oz and have a plastic trailer with a single Colorado blade. Blades also need to be in the 1/4oz size and contain some copper in their colour.
Areas to target are holes around bends in the rivers and also feeder creek drains.
Lostock can be a very good spot for a fish this month as there are usually good bass to come from the Paterson below the dam, while the dam can produce some of those nice, healthy bass. Hardbodies are the better option for the river, whilst small crankbaits and spinnerbaits are best for the dam. Trolling along the edges and steep banks is a good option, as is dropping a live cricket or worm down around the timber.
Lake Glenbawn and St Clair have been holding at this level for the past month, and both are devoid of any good weed around the banks. This won’t change until Spring, but with the water temperature in both falling to the high teens the fish will still be around the banks, especially where there is some cover.
It is absolutely magnificent to get out on the dams after a foggy morning as it is usually a sign that there is not going to be any wind, making for a perfect day.
St Clair was very popular over Easter but now the fishers have it to themselves. It has been producing some reasonable numbers of bass over the past month but the bass have been a bit on the small side, and are not in top condition. Most of these fish have been coming from up the back of the dam, up either arm with most caught using blades or Betts Spins.
Bait fishers have been catching some good catfish and silver perch on worms. This is a good sign as it was only two years ago when that fish kill wiped a lot of them out.
In May as the water temperatures continue to fall, there is usually a thermocline at around the 5-6m mark, and this is the depth that the fish will be holding at. Just remember that this could be in 12m-20m of water.
With the dam at its current level there are plenty of areas for the bass to hole up, and it can depend on which direction the wind blew the previous week. If there had been a westerly, which can be very common in May, I like to head up the Fallbrook to the long bays that feed into the main river channel. I find the bass move from the shallow warmer water into the deeper areas as the day progresses.
If the wind has come from the south I like to target the eastern banks and bays in the Broadwater, such as Connell inlet, Swannys and around St Clair island. Further up the dam, around Reedy Cove and Brooks Bay can also be very good areas to try.
I like to rip compact spinnerbaits, blades and crankbaits off the banks through the patches of weed, and my favourite lures for this are the Jackall Chubby and Squirrel.
Out in the deeper water off the banks in depths of 5-7m, I like to use blades and blades/Betts Spins combos, as these can be worked right on the bottom.
Trolling can be very productive at this time of year as the fish can be a bit slow on the bite and this puts the lure in their face for a longer period. Do not limit your trolling to bibbed minnows – also try lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Using something different can work when all else fails.
Lake Glenbawn is looking good this autumn, and at its present level there are plenty of good fishing areas to target, especially up the back. There were some good fish caught over Easter, both on bait and lures, with the better catches coming from the back of the dam. Trolling and deep jigging were the most productive methods.
During late autumn the bass and goldens move around this dam in search of warmer water and good food sources before the water temps fall further and their metabolism slows. This usually means you will need to cover a lot of water sounding and looking for the schools, especially bait balls of gudgeons. This season seems a little behind last year’s, and so areas that fired last year are not doing so just yet. Remember that bass in particular like to be near various types of structure or cover, and this will mean you might lose some tackle.
Up the back of the dam trolling deep lures near the Panhandle up to the Eagles Nest is usually very productive, along with down around the Yellowbuoy Bay and Golden Point.
The deeper bass can usually be found up around One Tree and also Dogleg where they can be targeted with deep plastics or ice jigs. Another area down around the bottom of the dam is off Cemetery Point and the Little Wall. This area is also very good for trolling deep lures.
Bait fishers can also try dropping a yabby around the timber off Golden Point and North Run for some nice goldens.
Sonar shot from Glenbawn showing bass holding above a small rise in the bottom up near One Tree.Reads: 941