July is probably the hardest month to catch fish in our local impoundments as the water temperature is at its lowest - usually around 11° C - and the days can be quite cold with some strong westerly winds. However if you get some of those foggy mornings and clear sunny days it can still be very enjoyable out on the dam.
Recent catches at both St Clair and Glenbawn have been fairly ordinary with live bait the better option dropped down around the trees along with plastics, blades and lipless cranks.
I recently went to my fishing diary that goes back to 2000, this was when plastics had just hit the market and noted that I had some catches of giant bass and goldens in both Glenbawn and St Clair in absolutely the middle of the dams in around 30+ metres. The fish were taking the plastics down around three metres amongst schools of bait that I could see jumping out of the water on the dead flat water, during a prolonged period of high barometric pressure.
This type of fishing was brought to my attention while cod fishing in the northern dams in winter where the cod appear to bathe in the sun and have quite often been hit by boats. Last year I had also some good catches using sinking or neutral buoyant lures with the Jackall suspending Squirrel excellent for this type of fishing.
With the low water temperature, which will continue to fall, the fish’s metabolism also really slows. It usually makes for a slow bite early in the day with the best time being from around 11am through to around 3pm.
I like to spend the early part of the day evaluating some of the prime spots and then during the banker’s hours target these spots when the water and air temperatures are at their highest. This month you will need to put the lure or bait virtually in the fish’s face to get the hit.
Lake St Clair is usually very clear this month, and after recent rises there is some nice weed forming off the banks and holding a few fish, this is in around three to four metres, which can be targeted with plastics or lures. I have found these fish like a small hard bodied lure worked very slowly along the edges and even blades of around 1/4oz.
There are now plenty of lures for this, with the Jackall Sqirrel, Megabass Live X Smolt, Bassday Kangoku Shad, Chubby shallow and deep, River 2 Sea Baby Crank and the Trollcraft Shrimp, Lightning Minnow and Crawdad.
Some good colours are the translucent in the clear water and the red/gold in the more stained. I like to make these lures just about neutrally buoyant for this fishing, if they are not already, and this can easily be achieved by adding weight or heavier split rings or hooks.
There is already a deep Chubby with this feature and there’s a new shallow version, which will be neutrally buoyant coming out this month with a very nice action.
Trollers can also grab a few fish if they spend some time working along the back sections of both arms in the 6-8 metres deep water. Drop adjacent to timber with the bigger lures a really good option in the 70mm range that have a lot of vibration. Lures worth a try are the Feral Cats, Halcos and The new Viking lures Talisman in colour 23 or 32 in clear water.
I have found that the Carrowbrook arm in the past the most productive and the water temperature a little warmer.
Baitfishing can be productive but slow, with the timber in the Carrowbrook being the most productive, using live shrimps and yabbies
Glenbawn is absolutely picture perfect on some of those early, foggy days followed by beautiful blue skies after a couple of days of high pressure, provided it doesn’t cop the freezing westerlies off the snow lined Barrington mountains.
The best option for some nice goldens and bass is around the timber that is in around 6-10 metres using live bait, plastics and vibrating lures jigged in tight.
Dropping a vibration lure down around these tress will also get a hit but can also get the bass and goldens a bit excited and more reluctant to take a bait or lure. If using plastics use plenty of scent and quite often keep coming back to the same tree, and work around 3 or 4 trees.
Working the banks is also worth a try but do it very slowly and put in a lot of casts with different style lures, such as lipless crankbaits, blades, suspending lures and even plastics. I have found that sometimes the bigger the lure the better the bite and the bigger the fish.
Trolling can be real enjoyable this month if there is little wind with the area around the New House Bay, Dogleg and Soil Con shed always worth a try.
Although your fishing time is reduced at this time of the year to around eight hours a day, it can be very enjoyable. When I was recently looking through my diary, over the past 10 years, the actual fish numbers were low but the quality of the fish was right up, which made those frosty morning starts really worth it.
I recently received an update from the Dept of Primary Industries hatchery and it is hoped with new guidelines in place that the bass stockings should be excellent this year with good numbers of fingerlings produced. However, in the dollar-for-dollar hatcheries, their fish will be tested for nodavirus during the 2009/2010 stocking season as a precautionary approach to ensure that Australian bass fry to be stocked are free of the disease.
Nodavirus can cause systemic infections in a range of wild, farmed and ornamental marine and freshwater fish and is a national notifiable fish disease. Should a hatchery batch of fish tested for nodavirus receive a positive result, stocking will not be permitted and any stocking permits relating to those fish will be cancelled.
We can only hope that all the above works and that the stockings keep happening for years ahead to make up for the last nil two years.Reads: 2329