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Dams stop rising
  |  First Published: May 2008



As we move into the end of Autumn the bass will be moving down the rivers to reach the correct salinity level in preparation for spawning. The fish can be very aggressive during this period as they like to feed up to gain condition before breeding.

In the Williams, Hunter and Paterson rivers, targeting these bass is best done with lures from 40mm to 50mm in very contrasting colours, such as reds and blacks. They need a very strong action and those that get down to around a metre will be suffice.

Spinnerbaits of around 1/4oz with a single Colorado blade and clear shad or purple skirts will also entice a bite.

Beetle Spins or Bass Spins of around 1/4 oz with 3” plastics or the new Berkley Jigging Grubs also have been very successful, along with the Jackal Chubby in Ayu pattern either trolled or worked along the deeper banks at the change of tide. The most productive tide is the last of the run out.

Glenbawn and St Clair have stopped rising and are both around 48% and starting to look good. I have been fishing both these dams since the mid 1980s and have never seen both dams have been slowly rising over such a long period.

While the dams are rising the fishing has been quite good as the water floods new ground, attracting fish to the banks to feed on the worms, crickets and the like.

But now the water has stopped rising the fishing has become a little quiet.

The drowned vegetation, some of it 2m tall, has died off and as it decomposes it can affect the water quality out as far as 20m from the bank.

It is hard to predict how these dams will fish over next couple of months. The water temperature will be dropping but water quality should gradually improve and with an influx of fresh nutrients, the baitfish and fresh weed should come on strong in Spring.

ST CLAIR POPULAR

Lake St Clair has been very popular over recent months with skiers and anglers and with so much new ground to fish, it’s looking good.

Because this dam is quite shallow, the water cools quickly and the oxygen level rises, making the bass and goldens active, especially around 6m down where the thermocline forms.

Trolling out in 7m to 8m with deep crankbaits and lipless crankbaits is a good option because there is still quite a bit of dead vegetation in close to the banks. Good colours for the crankbaits are dark purple or black with silver stripes.

In this depth 1/2oz spinnerbaits with willow blades and purple skirts also work. Some days the fish want a fast retrieve with a short pause and on other days a slow, constant retrieve works best .

It is good to see some of the structure up the back of the Carrowbrook and Fallbrook arms again accessible. There is a lot of dead vegetation but that should disappear over the next couple of months.

Bait fishing will also be a bit slow but dropping a worm alongside some of the timber up the arms will tempt some catties and goldens.

Lake Glenbawn is looking good and it is great to be able to fish some of my favourite spots that were previously dry. It is also good to be able to get up towards the back of the dam and see some of the wildlife.

Since Glenbawn has risen the fish have spread out. This month is also a transitional one for bass and goldens so they will be a little harder to locate. It would be wise to try many different approaches and methods.

Around the lower section and right up to the Narrows there is some good water for trolling deep lures and bait fishing. This is a particularly good time to target the giant goldens which can be tempted by a yabby or worm dropped down around the timber, of which there is plenty now that the dam has risen.

NOTE CONDITIONS

Bass can take some locating. This season the water is warmer and it pays to note the predominant winds, which can affect water stratification and thermoclines.

I have seen some concentrations of bass in May down around the Main Basin and in following years up around Pelican Point, so it is important to use a good sounder and study weather patterns. A good time is after three or four days of rising barometer.

Trollers will need rattling lures with a tight action that get down around 6m, while those who cast should work around timber in 5m to 6m with spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits.

Sometimes bass and goldens can be suspended from 5m to 10m so target these with plastics, ice jigs or Jackall Masks, but sometimes these fish can get very hard to bite.

With all our waterways and impoundments now looking so good we can look forward to some really good fishing this Spring.

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