Tips for tough times
  |  First Published: June 2006

In the rivers down around the lower valley the fishing has really slowed up as the bass move into their spawning season and are very reluctant to attack a lure or bait. It’s the time when you try to obtain Brownie points in readiness for Spring or, as I will do, head north chasing barra or out west chasing cod.

Up around the Barrington Tops you could get in a quick fish for trout before the close of the season, with fly or worms the better option.

In the impoundments, where the levels are continuing fall by around 1% a week, the water temperature will be dropping slowly and touching 15° or 16° before the end of the month, making for some very tough fishing indeed. This month also can be very windy and cold and so if you intend going up to the dams I recommend you look for the rare couple of days of high barometer and no wind and then go.


Topwater lures worked extremely well for me last June. The dams are really gin-clear at this time of year, provided we don’t get heaps of rain, and a topwater lure can be fished in the warmer shallows where fish are moving around the banks seeking food.

You can plop poppers into specific areas or at targets, such as stumps, trees or rocky points, and not spook the fish as you might with spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

The trick that I found when using poppers was to work them extremely slow and here are a few reasons. The fish aren’t used to seeing a popper. You cannot stop a spinnerbait or crankbait and let it sit still in the strike zone yet you can stop a popper and it can be one of the most tantalising baits you can use around the banks and cover.

I started to use these lures instead of flies when I had a bad shoulder. There are plenty of poppers around but I definitely like the Jackall SK Pop in the lighter colours in the clear water and white in the dirtier water.

At Lake St Clair the Carrowbrook section around the timber will be the most productive for bait anglers and those wishing to throw a few lures. Although you might not catch big numbers of fish they are usually of good quality.

Worms are definitely the flavour of the month. For those using spinnerbaits I find the smaller 1/4oz and 3/8oz to be a better size. Go for really bright colours with a touch of pink or chartreuse on the skirts. I will be trying some of the new Squidgy spinnerbaits in the next couple of weeks as they are also very small in profile and have some bright colours.

If using lipless crankbaits, I have found the smaller TN50s to be really good, especially in the darker colours.


At Glenbawn, with the dam now at around 36% and falling at around 1% a week, conditions are beginning to take a toll on the fishing.

Some of the former good spots are now 10 metres out of the water so you will have to do a bit of boating to find some new locations. But be very careful because a lot of tree stumps and rocks are starting to appear.

The fishing can be quite rewarding at this time of year if you get that slow-moving high weather pattern but you will have to pay a lot of attention to your sounder. If it has not been too windy you can locate definite thermoclines which can be down around the 10 to 15 metres.

You can target the fish that sit around these thermoclines by trolling really deep lures, such as AC Invaders, Ferralcatts and Jackall TN70s and even 3/4oz spinnerbaits with single willow blades.

Another technique is to vertically jig plastics on 1/2oz or 5/8 oz jigs but my preferred method is to work 60mm or70 mm Jackall Mask Vibes through the thermocline, which can be quite easy to find on my Lowrance LMS332. I zoom in on the 20’-40’ range with the sensitivity around 90% and can see the lure quite easily moving through the water column.

This can also be a slow month for bait fishing but targeting individual trees out by themselves using worms is a good option.

The dams are really falling to depths that I have never seen in my 15 years of fishing them and unless we get some decent rain it will take a long while for them to recover. It is the time for bass to migrate downstream to spawn but I hope not to many go down the spout.

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