St Clair bass schooling
  |  First Published: July 2003

Up at Lake St Clair the water level is remaining fairly consistent but is a little coloured, water temperature is down around 15° but the fishing will still be OK.

The bass have schooled up in the open water in both the Carrowbrook and Fallbrook arms and tend to be holding in about 50 feet and suspended around 25 feet, where there is a thermocline and small schools of bait. These bait schools can be easily seen on a good sounder and resemble a black cloud. To see them you will need to have the gain or sensitivity turned right up. These schools will be located relevant to the direction that the wind has been blowing, so if there has been a westerly, try looking along the western sides of the dam.

Targeting these fish is best done on the back of a high-pressure system and in the middle of the day, especially if there is little wind. Trolling deep-diving lures that run at about 20 feet in natural greens or yellows should give you some action. Another option is to jig Rattling Spots, ice jigs or any of the range of soft plastics. Pearl is a very good colour to begin with.

This dam does not hold a large number of golden perch but those which are there are of excellent size and can also be trolled up mainly in the Carrowbrook Reach with purple Feralcatts and Deceptions. Bait-fishing is also a good option this month for bass and goldens, with worms the choice of bait to start with

Farther up the Hunter Valley, Glenbawn Dam’s level has started to rise slowly, the water temperature is around 14° and the fishing has slowed right down .During this month at Glenbawn fishing around the timber is the best option to target bass and goldens with bait or lures.

The best bait at this time of year is worms. If the dam is still rising, yabbies work well fished around the banks. When fishing the banks I try to find those formed from soft soil, not the more rocky ones, as the softer banks hold more bait around them.

Because of the low dam level, there are lots of trees to bait-fish around, especially at the back of the dam. There is the also old river valley, which can be trolled along for a couple of kilometres.

When bait-fishing around the trees, always try to drop a vibrating lure to begin with, because it can always get the fish going. Quite often, you can see the fish follow it up, so that you know that there are fish around that tree. Jigging any of the soft plastics so readily available is also a good option.

Hard-bodied lures to try trolling around the timber or cast towards it should dive to about 20 feet. Green or yellow are good colours for starters. When casting around the timber, I first try normal hard-bodied lures but if things are a bit quiet, I then try lures with rattles in them, such as those from Mann’s or Daiwa, or even lipless crankbaits.

Before you set off on your trip to Glenbawn or St Clair, keep your eye on the barometer and look for a consistent high of about three to four days’ duration.

There is not a lot to write about in the local rivers, as with the recent rain the systems are receiving a good flush-out which will be good for the Spring and the start of the season.


Lithgow-Oberon writer Glen Stewart caught his bass last July working the Glenbawn shallows in under a metre with a Slider grub in baby bass colour.


The author jigged up this Winter golden on a lipless crankbait worked around timber.

3 (slide)

Glen Stewart trolled up this Glenbawn golden on an AC Invader lure.

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