Windows of opportunity
  |  First Published: August 2014

This can be a very enjoyable time of the year to be out on the dams chasing bass and goldens as the rivers are still no-go until the end of the month.

In saying that, the really cold westerlies can hit as they did last year. Providing that doesn’t happen, the mornings are usually foggy, the barometer high and the days quite warm. From my past diary entries the August westerlies usually hit around lunchtime so you may get a few hours of fishing before they arrive.

With the water temperatures usually at their lowest this month, around 14°C, the fishing can be very slow to say the least. However over recent weeks there have been some fish caught by baitfishers around the big timber areas in the Narrows and up the back of the dam around the Panhandle. This area has also been producing some bass and the odd golden on deep plastics and ice jigs. I think that these areas produce fish because they are the spots where there is current flow from both the strong winds and usually falling water levels.

With these very cold water temperatures the bass and goldens tend to bite for a very short period during this window so it’s best to be on your prime spots when it happens. The bass don’t feed too aggressively in August as they are still very fat, with the males and females still containing their spawning row and milt. It can also be beneficial to use a large presentation initially, be it a lure or bait, and work it slowly to keep it in the strike zone longer. If that doesn’t entice a strike, go for a lure with more action and vibration.

There are usually two areas to target the fish this month, depending on recent weather patterns (this is the case because with the high winds the water temp is usually the same from the surface down to around 20m). These two areas are around timbered banks with good bottom composition for the larger individual fish, and the other area is the deeper water not too far from the river channels, near points and sheltered bays for the school bass.

Lipless crankbaits or hardbodies, with rattles, are ideal worked around the timber or trolled. The deeper school bass are best targeted using blades, ice jigs and plastics.

Locating the deeper fish can take plenty of time as they are on the move, albeit slowly, until they locate suitable oxygen levels, water temperatures, water clarity and food. Wherever they choose to hole up this month they’ll likely stay there until there’s a reasonable water temperature rise, and then they’ll go on the move again.

Lake St Clair

Lake St Clair is down a little but should be good for spring. The fish have been very scattered with some small bass coming from the bays in the Broadwater on plastics and blades and out in the deeper water off Gindigah Point on ice jigs. Along the banks at Thunderbolts Run and Around Perkins point they are worth a cast with jerkbaits and plastics.

My favourite lures are the Jackall Squirrel and my plastic is 1/4oz Bassman jighead with either a Z-Man GrubZ or Slider in dark patterns. This jigheads have eyes, and when rigged with the above resemble the gudgeons or smelt that live in our impoundments.

Up the Carrowbrook out off Adam Point in the deeper water is another area where the fish hole up as there is some good cover and structure along the river channel. This is a good area for slow rolling deep plastics or blades.

Up the Fallbrook, which is a lot more sheltered than the Carrowbrook, the bank and river channel from Redhead corner up to Eurella Point is a good area to target. Troll or work the edges with cranks and plastics as this is quite sheltered.

There should be some improvements at St Clair over the next year as the Singleton Council has the money to put up a boom gate and build a new caretaker’s cottage for Maria.

Lake Glenbawn

At Glenbawn the water is usually at its coldest but with the good snowfalls dumped in recent weeks there should be some reasonable snow-melt coming into the back of the dam and this is a good area to target this month.

With the water level rising I like to target sloping banks that run down to around 10m and have some scattered timber. I like to use a stealthy approach to begin with, using deep crankbaits or 1/4oz jigs with 3” plastics in close to the edges and then lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits out in the deeper 10m sections. This depth is also a good area to troll deep crankbaits, especially in very bright patterns and even fluoro colours.

The school bass are out in the deeper areas of 10-15m in the open areas off points and not too far from some form of structure. These fish are best targeted with ice jigs, plastics and blades using very long leaders and down around 3-4lb breaking strain.

The bass and goldens this month are always in prime condition, as they are feeding on schools of gudgeons and smelt which you can easily pick up on the sounder as dark clouds usually down around 10m in the water column.

Baitfishing should start to improve this month also. With the rising water level and influx of freshwater, the place to go is up towards the back of the dam. Drop a nice yabby or bunch of worms down alongside a big tree out in the 10-15m area up near the Eagles Nest or near the Panhandle.

Reads: 1973

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