Fish fire up as water cools
  |  First Published: April 2007

This is usually a very good time for fishing; it’s the middle of Autumn and also the last month before Spring with ‘r’ in it, as the old chestnut about the best bass or freshwater fishing stipulates.

As the water temperature falls and oxygen levels rise this month, the bass start to feed up as their metabolism increases and they prepare to spawn in the lower reaches of the rivers.

Down around the lower Hunter and Paterson rivers, the water is starting to become very clear and some decent fish are beginning to appear.

If the rivers remain clear the bass really like to nail small lures, around 40mm to 50mm, with some of the imported range from Jackall, Smith, Megabass and Bassday all really worth their extra cost. Colours that really fire early in the day are the more translucent models –then switch to brighter, more contrasting patterns later.

If the rivers become a little dirty after rain or big tides then 50mm lipless crankbaits and small spinnerbaits will be the way to go with dark colours best.

The Williams River also fishes really well this time of year. It is not tidal and fish in these waters will take the above lures but also like plastics. Try Berkley 3” Power Minnows rigged on Beetle Spins or Bass Spins of about 1/4 oz.

Another option that really worked last year was the 7g Squidgy Spin with rainbow trout tails.


Lake St Clair really fires up this month but it certainly needs topping up and water quality must becoming an issue in certain parts. The lake is cooling only gradually due to the long days of Summer’s extreme heat.

When the water gets down to around 22° the St Clair bass and goldens become very active, especially around the banks, seeking schools of bait to gorge on before the water drops below18°.

A good pattern is to work the edges with crankbaits and spinnerbaits, especially around the timber and weed, early in the day and then progress out to the deeper sections later. This is where the bait moves as the sun comes up.

Because St Clair is still very low and small, there are not too many sections that have escaped a hammering by fishos so it will be hard but very rewarding to catch some of the quality bass and goldens that remain there.

The Carrowbrook Arm is getting very shallow in sections but there are still a few good trees while up the Fallbrook Arm there are more options for trolling, casting and baitfishing. Best bait this month for catfish, goldens, bass and silvers is worms.

Out in the main Broadwater there are some good trees to troll around or cast at. Out there I often spy on my Eagle sounder black clouds of bait or zooplankton and micro-organisms with bass and goldens holding below in depths from 6m to 13m. These can be targeted with ice jigs, lipless crankbaits or plastics on 1/2oz jigs rigged with Power Minnows or Gulps. The new Nitro Dam Deep from Berkley is an excellent jighead for this because it is very well-balanced.


Lake Glenbawn has been fishing reasonably well considering the angling pressure it faces as other dams get very low. As its water begins to fall below 22° it will become only better.

Glenbawn is always very popular at Easter with a lot of campers and skiers, making for some early starts to secure your favourite spots. Worms or yabbies fished close to the timber in the lower section in around 9m should produce silvers, catties, bass and goldens. This is traditionally the best month for giant silvers.

Trolling along the wall area and the adjacent foreshores with deep-diving crankbaits is also very productive. Darker natural colours (greens and reds) are good to begin with and then go to black or purple.

If you can get out on the water very early when there is still plenty of fog around, try surface or sub-surface lures around the timber in the shallow water. New lures include the Jackall SK Pop, Megabass Pop X the Water Monitor from Lake Police, which can be worked just under the surface as a jerkbait.

This is a transition period for bass and they can be virtually anywhere around the dam from 3m to 15m in the main basin so use of a good sounder to locate them. These deeper fish can be caught trolling, even using downriggers with small lures, jigging with plastics or ice jigs and dropping lipless crankbaits.

If I find these fish among some of the heavier timber still submerged, I have been using some of the new Title Shot Jigs which are virtually snag-free but with a good hook-up rate. The new Bozo 3” plastic smelt in various colours goes well.

This can be a great month on the dams because the weather can be very enjoyable and you can spend the whole day on the water. It would be so good if these dams received heaps of rain to give them a good top-up of oxygen-filled water.

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