We usually experience very pleasant weather in autumn, and the fish seem to bite for longer periods right through the day.
At the end of January we received solid rainfall right across the Hunter. This has been good for the dams, all bar Lostock, which had about a metre of water going over the wall, but the rivers got a real good flush out. This has put them back a couple of weeks, but they should be just about ready to fire again this month. Up until the rain hit, there were some decent bass coming from the upper ends of all the systems, and they were in excellent condition.
This month will be about the end of the surface bite in the rivers, as the insect activity drops off and the bass begin to move downstream to congregate in the deeper sections in readiness for spawning.
During March, the rivers always appear a little discoloured and I find small 1/4oz spinnerbaits and 50mm lipless crankbaits a very good option.
Lostock Dam had been fishing really well before the big wet, but hopefully if should come good this month. Trolling along the timbered sections and the steeper banks using small hardbodies is a worthwhile approach.
Lake St Clair was fishing only fair before the rain and it has since risen a bit, but the good news is the increase in oxygen levels and the falling water temperature has helped get the fish on the bite.
The surface bite towards the end of summer was not as good as usual, possibly because of those really hot days, but after the rain last month, it has picked up somewhat. Hardbody jerkbaits, Jackall Squirrels, and any neutrally buoyant lures are working along the banks early and late.
With the dam at its current level, the bass and goldens have moved down from the upper parts of the arms to the deeper areas around Redhead Corner to Fenwick Point in the Fallbrook, and Adam Point to Perkins Point in the Carrowbrook.
In the Broadwater, there is some deep schooling bass in the 10m depths off some of points along the eastern shore, and up around the island. Targeting these fish is best accomplished by trolling very deep lures and jigging plastics, ice jigs and blades.
Bait fishing from the banks is the better option for the bait fans, especially around Gindigah Bay and Kelehear Point using worms and yabbies.
This is also the prime month to target the giant Glenbawn golden perch and big schools of silver perch. The best locations are around timber in 10m for the goldens with yabbies for bait, and for the silvers, worms. Some prime areas to try are around New House Bay, Yellow Buoy Bay, and up along North Run.
The trollers can also target big goldens by using deep lures like Ferralcatts in purple, and run amongst the timber, especially up around the back of the dam in the old river channel.
Those targeting the bass can do it a little hard. The schools can be anywhere and everywhere, depending on the amount of incoming and outgoing water, its clarity and temperature. They’ll start to move around this month because this is when they feed up in preparation for their so-called spawning run. There is a huge area of water to search, but local knowledge and a lot of sounder work will help with results. The fish can be in plenty of different areas, but they are mainly at the same depth, so if you are catching them down around the main basin at 10m, then they will usually be at the same depth up the back.
With the dam at this level, some good areas to try are up along the Panhandle and Dog Leg in 10-15m, down around the bottom of the main basin along the western bank, and up near the middle of North Run.
The bass like to hold up at a depth where the water temperature is down around the 18-20 degrees, which is right in their comfort zone. Although the fish hold up in these depths, they are usually suspended mid-way in the water column.
Using vertical lures such as plastics, blades and ice jigs are the best option, and you can see them marking on the sounder to get them down to the correct depth. Sometimes you might not actually see the bass, but if you can see dark clouds of bait on the screen, then they won’t be too far away. They cannot see too far at this depth, so dark patterns are the best, along with anything that has some UV paint on it.
This is one of my favourite months for fishing, especially bass, as the days are very pleasant and the fish are very aggressive.
A nice bass from the Hunter that fell to a 3/8oz spinnerbait.
A Lake St Clair bass that ate a Skitter Pop at dusk.
That’s a hell of a lot of bass! The scene on a windblown bank at Lake St Clair.Reads: 398