St Clair bass school deep
  |  First Published: July 2004

UP AT Lake St Clair, the water level is remaining fairly constant but it is beginning to cool down to around 15° but there will still be some good weed banks so the fishing should still be OK.

The bass are schooling up in the more open water in the Carrowbrook and Fallbrook arms, where the depth is around 14 metres. Although these fish are only small they are good to catch on soft plastics.

These fish are schooled wherever there are big shoals of baitfish, which can be easily detected on a good sounder as a large black cloud. You must have the sensitivity adjusted correctly. With my new Lowrance LMS480 I have found that sensitivity around 87% will give the correct feedback.

These schools of baitfish will be located relevant to the direction that the wind is blowing. If there has been a westerly, try looking along the eastern sides of the dam.

If the days are very bright and the sky is clear there is a fair chance the bass will be in around the trees in these reaches. This will mean fishing right in among the timber, with the best option being soft plastics jigged down through the trees.

Plastics that work well for this include Berkley PowerBaits and Sliders but if you don’t want to lose too many jigs I have found that it is best to rig them weedless. Or you can use a worm hook and attach a small split shot about 6mm up from the hook.

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 lures in natural greens or yellows that run around six metres should put you in the action. Another option is to jig or work lipless crankbaits, ice jigs or soft plastics. A good plastic colour is pearl.

This dam does not hold a large population of golden perch but those which are there are of excellent size and can also be trolled up, mainly in the Carrowbrook Arm using purple Feralcatts and AC Invaders.

Silver perch are starting to show up in good numbers and sizes and are really good to eat. Diving minnows about 50mm long and small lipless crankbaits work best.

Shrimp and worms will work for the bass and goldens, with the catfish really liking to a worm fished along the banks.

Although some of the better weed banks have started to die off, there are still some good bass to be caught around these spots on jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits.

Farther up the valley, Glenbawn is still holding at around 60% but the water has dropped to around 14° and the fishing has slowed right up.


This month at Glenbawn, fishing around the timber is the best option for bass and goldens on both bait and lures. The best bait at this time of the year is worms but if the dam begins to rise, try yabbies fished off the banks, especially the softer banks onto which the wind has been blowing.

Because of the low water level there are lots of trees to fish bait around, especially at the back of the dam. There is also the 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 down first as it can quite often get the action started. Keep your eye on it as often the fish will follow it up to the boat.

Jigging any of the soft plastics described previously is also a good option.

Hard-bodied lures, with green and yellow a good starting colour, could be trolled around the timber or even cast towards it. These lures need to dive to around six metres.

When casting around timber I firstly try normal hard-bodies but if things are a bit quiet, I then try a lure with a rattle, such as those from Mann’s, Daiwa or Jackall.

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. This will give you the best chance of a good trip but if there is any sign of a westerly, stay at home and watch the footy.

There is not a lot happening in the rivers down around Maitland at present but the Williams River can fire up this month if there is any decent falls up the catchment area which will help push the bass down towards the weir at Seaham.

Up at the Barrington Tops, the trout streams are now closed for the season until the October long weekend.

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