In the impoundments up the valley, the water temperature will fall to around 12°, which will really slow up the fishes’ metabolisms and make for some really tough angling.
Although the fishing can be really hard this month, it can be very enjoyable with the morning fog making good conditions for surface lures and the nice warm days good for trolling deep lures or even, in some cases, using downriggers or lead-core line along some of the sections around the old river bed.
When I intend fishing impoundments during Winter I like to see about three to four days prior a high barometer, or at least a rising barometer.
At Lake St Clare the most productive section will be in the Carrowbrook Reach as it always seems to be a little warmer and there is more timber for the fish to associate with and find cover among. Try around the edges of the weed early with shallow lures or spinnerbaits in bright colours, especially green, and then work out to the deeper sections around the trees using deeper lures, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits or vertically jigging soft plastics on light jig heads. The bait fishing will also be a little slow but be prepared to try a lot of different trees with worms, yabbies and live shrimp.
Lake Glenbawn can be very rewarding this month but it requires covering a lot of water, which itself can be very enjoyable on a nice sunny day. I have found that this month, especially after several days of high pressure, that there are some good thermoclines, usually around 40 feet. They are in open water so you need to have the gain on the sounder turned right up to see them. Usually the schools of bait or goldens or bass are not to far away.
Before the advent of jigging plastics, I had a lot of success downrigging or lead-core trolling small lures such as Deception Nippers or Migrates along these thermoclines. I caught bass and goldens but the problem was that these fish could not be released as they could not deflate their swim bladders.
As the level has dropped up around the back of the dam, trolling between the soil conservation shed and the ruins should be rewarding using lures that run at about five metres. Troll along the river close to the trees. Good colours to try are black and white and red and white. Baitfish are also slow this month but as the level has dropped, there are a lot more trees to fish, with the best bait being black crickets.
For those who want to target goldens, I have caught my largest fish this month, by fishing Deception Shrimps and AC Invaders in the shrimp colour, working them around the backs of bays in shallows to around a metre. water
Glenbawn has been producing a lot of juvenile bass recently, with these fish around 25cm the product of the extremely large stocking a few years ago. Because there is no minimum length for bass in impoundments, it would be wise to return these fish, which will be the trophy fish of the future.
Not a real lot is happening in the rivers this month as the bass are in the breeding mode and therefore reluctant to feed, so it is a good time to catch up with the brownie points before the season starts again.
I would like to make a point about the boat total exclusion zone in Lake St Clair and the no-boat zone at Glenbawn. Boaters should stick to the rules here and if people continue to disobey the rules they will be made bigger. And that can ruin a lot of good fishing area, as has already happened at Glenbawn.
I received a letter recently from Craig Watson of NSW Fisheries enquiring about dollar-for-dollar funding for bass and Murray cod in our region, so if any club or organisation is interested, give Craig a call on 02 6765 4591.
Brrr! The author with a 10kg Murray cod trolled up in Glenbawn in June 2002. the fish took a fluoro pink AC Invader.
Catherine Mclean with a nice Winter St Clair bass which took a deep crankbait around a drop-off.Reads: 446