This is usually a very good time to fish after the long, hot days of Summer and the arrival of some much-needed rain to top up our lakes and rivers.
Down around the Hunter and Paterson rivers, the bass will be very active as they move into spawning mood and travel down to the lower reaches to feed aggressively. They must feed their high metabolism as the water temperature begins to drop and they try to gain condition before the spawning season, which should start next month.
This is the most productive time to use lures. Some good ones to try are the locally produced Marz lures, along with the Deception Nipper and Mann’s 5+. Natural colours of green, brown and red are good starting points.
The Williams River will also fish well as the fish move down to the lower section around Glenoak to school up before spawning. Good lures for this system are the same as above but because this area is not tidal, soft plastics can be worked out in the deeper sections in the middle of the river. Darker colours like blue and brown are worth trying.
Lake St Clair will fish very well this month as the water temperature begins to fall and oxygen levels begin to rise. The fish will be moving around the dam looking for the schools of baitfish to gorge on before Winter.
Good locations to begin searching are around the points along the Falbrook and Carrowbrook reaches. Then work back into the bays and gullies that feed into the dam. It is not unusual to see the fish stacked up on some of these points where they can be targeted with crankbaits or, if the water is dirty, spinnerbaits.
Because the fish are very active, reaction baits seem to work best, with brightly-coloured crankbaits and spinnerbaits with double willow blades and clear or gold skirts.
Bait-fishing is also very good with worms being the pick for good catches of silvers, bass and golden perch. This time last year the BASS Grand Final was held here and competitors took excellent catches on spinnerbaits. I hope the same occurs this year during the BASS Megabucks, which is being sponsored by Terrace Boating.
Glenbawn has been and will continue to fish well for the same reasons. With some rainfall, the dam should also be rising. Bait-fishing around the timber in the lower reaches with live yabbies is very rewarding for bass and goldens. Trolling along the wall area and around the eastern foreshore with deep-diving lures has also proven to be very productive.
As the water temp drops to around 18°, the bass and goldens tend to migrate around the dam and can be seen on the sounder to stack up around the points that feed into some of the bays. This is put down to being part of the spawning cycle but, sadly, it’s as far as these impoundment fish can get.
Targeting these fish is best done with reaction baits, be they spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Lipless crankbaits can be very productive vertically jigged on fish in deep water and amongst the timber.
If the bass are reluctant to attack crankbaits, I have found some success by going to very large lures such as the 75mm Deception Cherax or AC Minnow. The best option in spinnerbaits is a tandem-blade 1/2oz model with skirt colours of gold or chartreuse. Harry Watson makes a good one and so does Graham Johnson of AusSpin lures. Work them right in among the timber.
April will probably be last good month to fish the impoundments and rivers before Winter sets in. In the rivers it is not a good idea to disturb the spawning cycle and in the dams, the fish turn passive as the water temp drops to around 12°.
* I will be taking delivery of a new sounder from Humminbird in the next weeks and will keep you in touch on its performance. I also have received some new spinnerbaits from Terminator which are tungsten and titanium – stay tuned.
* My email address in the March issue was incorrect it should be --e-mail address hidden--
I have just received the sad news of the passing of Kath Emery of the Aberdeen Fishing Club. Kath had been very sick in the past year but still helped to organise the last Glenbawn Classic. I knew Kath for the past 12 years she did absolutely everything to promote fishing and organised the annual Glenbawn Classic every October long weekend. The proceeds of this event were used for the stocking of bass into Glenbawn Dam. Last year Kath made her stand in making the annual classic total catch and release.
It is always sad to lose a person who gave so much to promote fishing and help make it so much more enjoyable. I offer my condolences to her husband, Ken, and their family.
The author with a very healthy April 2002 bass from Lake St Clair, taken on a Bassman spinnerbait.
This Glenbawn golden was taken by Glen Stewart by working plastics around banks at the top of the dam.
Dick Colleen with a 475mm St Clair bass.Reads: 577