The season appears to be about two to three weeks behind last year’s, with the water temperature yet to get into the 20s. Providing the weather remains stable and as the days get longer, this should help improve the fishing.
Towards the end of winter and into spring all the dams received some good influxes of water which scattered the fish but they should start to settle down very soon. Both Glenbawn and St Clair had been fishing fairly well until the inflow which shut them down. Until then there were good catches coming off the edges and down deep. There aren’t any good signs of weed forming at either dam but hopefully this will change.
The rivers in the Hunter also received some good rainfall, which was just in time as this will allow the bass to move back upstream now that their spawning is completed.
The trout season has opened and the streams up in the Barringtons have all got good flows which should help the trout. These fish are stocked each year by the Barrington Gloucester Fishing Club with fingerlings from the Ebor trout hatchery.
The Hunter and Williams rivers are in excellent condition and have just started to produce some nice bass. As the days continue to warm up, the action can only improve. The bass usually hold down around the lower reaches in spring and in the area not too distant from the top of the tidal zone, the ideal place to start fishing. In these lower reaches you can expect the bass to take small diving minnows and lipless crankbaits around the rock walls and banks. Upstream where there is more cover and in the deeper sections, 1/4oz spinnerbaits, beetlespins and blades can be a better option.
Further upstream where the rivers have rocky bottoms I have found the Jackall Chubby SSR and the Storm Gomoku Pencil to be two excellent lures. For the surface I like the Paul Nicel Crickeye.
Lake St Clair has risen a bit but hasn’t got any real good weed around the edges to hold the fish. However, if the dam holds its current level this should improve.
With the lack of cover around the edges for the fish, this means if you want to fish the banks you will need to do so in the very low light periods. I have found spinnerbaits and blades to be a very good option as they can attract fish from a reasonable distance.
Another option is to fish suspending lures. These lures can hold at the correct depth to allow time for the bass to strike, and can be cast quite long distances. This extra distance is handy as the water can be very clear and the bass easily spooked.
Because this dam doesn’t have the cover around the banks to hold the fish in close, they move out deeper and quite often can be found along the old river channels during the day. This is usually around the 30-40ft mark, as this is where the thermocline finishes. There are two options to try here: deep plastics on 1/4-3/8oz jigheads or ice jigs. My favourite plastics are the Slider in crawdad/copper and Jackall Cross Tail. In the ice jigs I like the Jackall HL black and the Rapala Jig Rap in black, yellow and red.
This is also a good time to do some trolling to help locate the fish or bait schools using lures that get down around 6-7m. The old river that runs up both the Fallbrook and Carrowbrook is worth a try.
Bait fishers should also have a bit of luck this month dropping some yabbies down around the timber around Andrews Point, Walker Bay and Camden Cove for goldens and catties.
Glenbawn had been fishing pretty well but a couple of weeks ago had a lot of water come into it from the Barringtons which affected the water clarity up the back and set the bass on the move. This month can be seen as transition time for the bass as they start to increase their metabolism as the water temperature rises, and start looking for a good supply of food.
The dam should have settled down by now, with the back of the dam a good area to attack first, especially where you can see a difference in water clarity. The bass seem less spooky when there is some colour in the water, and they can easily move away from the snags and cover in search of food.
The steep walls where there is good hidden cover are prime spots using lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and Bassman Mumblers. I have found during spring that these reaction lures can account for really good bass and they have a good hook-setting ability. They can be fished using 10-12lb leader on 20lb braid, which means fewer lost fish.
Another good area to target, especially while there is water coming in, is Narrows. This is where there is usually a lot of current flow, so the bass tend to hold up there to target the baitfish as they move around in the current flows. If the bass appear to be shut down, try moving to the steeper banks and rock walls down around the main basin and use 1/4oz jigs with plastics. Sometimes you may even have to use stinger hooks on them.
If you come across schooled bass out in the 30-40ft regions, blades around 6g are a very good option, as are ice jigs. If you’re using blades they need to be dark patterns, while ice jigs should have some orange on them around the gills, as this is what a gudgeon can look like this month.
Trolling can also be very productive in October for goldens, especially along the walls and the entrance to Boat Harbour.
This month I will also be distributing bass fingerlings with the DPI boys from Port Stephens into Lostock, Glenbawn and St Clair. I will give you the numbers next issue.
The 24th Annual Glenbawn Classic is on again this year from October 3-5. This is a top event and the proceeds go to stocking the dam with bass. For further information visit aberdeenfishingclub.com.au.Reads: 1273