What a start to spring!
  |  First Published: November 2016

What a start to spring the Hunter has received this year! Mother Nature has been providing the impoundments with a nice constant top up. This slow continuous rise is perfect for the fish, as it gives them time to slowly adjust to the conditions. These unpleasant rainy days should always be welcomed to an impoundment fisher, as the rising water means bass and yellowbelly on the prowl in the shallows looking for their next meal. November is the time to take advantage of the last month of the spring bite before warmer weather really sets in.

Lake St Clair’s fishing is shaping up to be great this month. The lake has not come up a tremendous amount. With warming water, the weed growth and beds are really turning into an endless sanctuary for the fish to hide in. With the lake being fairly small, it suffers from boat traffic and pressure during warmer months. On the weekends it pays to be out nice and early before everyone is on the water then wait until late evening before heading out again.

Almost every fish in the lake will be eager to hit a reaction style lure this time of year. This can make it hard to find and catch the larger fish with so many smaller fish eager to get to your lure first. You can try going to slightly larger lures or even really bright unnatural colours. Chartreuse or bright orange can deter the smaller fish and give the larger ones something they haven’t seen before.

The insect life will become active this month, which really brings on the surface bite at St Clair. Low light into night will see the most action. Experiment with retrieves and lures to see what’s working. A constant retrieve from a wakebait, paddler or buzzbait will work some days. Sometimes a retrieve with a pause from a popper, walker, or propbait will get eaten. Tight to the edge over and around the weed is where you want to be to catch the larger fish in the lake. Anyone looking to catch with the kids, this is a great time of year to get them onto some easy fish. Troll along the outside of the weed drop off to see plenty of smaller fish eat a diving hardbody lure. They’ll be scattered the whole way around the dam. It shouldn’t take too long for one to jump on.

Lake Glenbawn has come up a far way over September and October. If these levels maintain, the fishing should be terrific. The water should be hitting the low to mid 20°C and fish will be up on the edges during early morning, before retreating to deeper water. They move back up in the late afternoon. When trying to locate fish it pays to concentrate your efforts on banks that the fish can transition easily. Ideally, target points with deep water not too far from the main river section. Fish can be caught anywhere in the lake, but you’ll find more fish holding on these points than other areas.

It doesn’t feel like it on Glenbawn, but there is a current in the lake. With water running in and the dam wall releasing it, a current is drawn down through the old riverbed. It can be seen on weed beds or the algae growth on tree trunks against steep edges. The fish relate to this and will concentrate close to the main flow. November can be the throw any lure month, because it will get eaten at some point. The weed growth has been fantastic this year, so a spinnerbait and bladed or vibrating jig is ideal.

These two baits are great for passing through weed and popping over timber or rock. With the clear water in the lake, it pays to stay fairly natural in colours like green, brown or silver. Topwater is always an option as the cicadas should be starting to sing soon, which means the bass will start to focus on them as a food source. Any edge with some tall trees close to the water’s edge is a perfect place to start.

When trying to mimic a cicada, it’s best to try shaking your lure on the surface instead of on the retrieve. Sometimes, a really long pause will get the bites after shaking it. When the low light bite dies off and the fish move deeper, trolling deep divers can reap rewards. The fish will move out and suspend at a comfortable depth. Trolling through these fish and covering water will find the active ones willing to feed. A diver that can reach at least 5m is a good starting point targeting the outside of weed edges and trees.

River fishing will start to peak as well this time of year. The disadvantage of all this rain has been flooding dirty waters with poor river fishing. The good news is that these times of extra flows allow the fish to migrate further upstream and reach all the little honey holes in time for summer. River bass can be pretty aggressive at times, but still have their slow days. Your basic crankbait, spinnerbait, beetle spin and surface combination will catch any willing fish in the area. These sections that you catch fish on hold more than just the one bass. Slow down to a plastic grub, swimbait or creature bait and pick apart the structure or timber to catch multiple fish. Sometimes, repeated casts at a snag will bring them on. I can recall catching about a dozen bass off one snag with a plastic when other lures didn’t get a touch.


Dave Diggins with a 1.8kg Glenbawn bass on a spinnerbait.


Eathan Martin and a golden perch that scoffed a jerkbait.


The author with a Glenbawn Bass.


Bass will be loving the Bassman Shortys this month.

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