This can be one of the most enjoyable times to be out on the dams. The mornings are usually foggy, followed by days that can hit the low 20°s.
The only issue that arises this month can be the very cold westerlies that can make life a misery.
There shouldn’t be too many boats out on the water and although the bite can be quite slow, the quality of the fish is excellent and they are in prime condition.
Another bonus is that the best bite is in office hours, from 10am to mid-afternoon, when the air and water temperatures and the barometer are at their peaks. The fish come on the bite for only one or two hours.
Lures should be slow but precise presentations in the fishes’ immediate strike zone. This is where neutrally-buoyant lures, jerkbaits and delicately-presented plastics come into their own.
With the cool water I have found that the tighter the lure’s action the better, and the larger the profile the better. With soft plastics that means going from a minnow style to a shad pattern and don’t forget to use plenty of scent.
The most important addition to the lure market in the past 12 months is the blade and it certainly works for fishing this cold water. It can be used very slowly and has a nice tight action.
I find the ‘deflection factor’ important when using lures around timber. The fish can be incited to bite when the lures strike the timber and suddenly change direction.
Lipless crankbaits come into their own for this style of fishing as they can be bounced off trees or dropped down beside them. Better lipless models wiggle or shimmy as they descend.
Size or shape can make a difference with the 50mm working better some days while on others the 70mm does the trick.
Lake St Clair is still pretty clear and at is current capacity has some reasonable weed formed off the banks up the arms, where there is also more water protected from the wind.
Some nice bass have been coming off the weed up the arms with a few from the deeper water in about 10m on blades and plastics in smoke/yellow core. A few goldens have taken baits around the timber in the Fallbrook Reach.
If we don’t get too much wind, try working the Fallbrook and Carrowbrook arms along the deeper banks with lures and plastics. Try in is around 6m where the water is a degree or two warmer and even let the lure drag through the weed, where the goldens and bass tend to hide. Neutral buoyancy lures, blades around 3/8oz and spinnerbaits should work.
Another option is to troll along the edges on the deeper side with lures that run down around 5m or even troll lipless crankbaits. Yellow or green with stripes are good starter colours.
A large yabby or worm jigged up in the timbers in the Fallbrook or Carrowbrook arms will work for the odd catfish from the bank in the slightly dirty water.
At Glenbawn the water is down around 13°c and the westerlies have stirred up water but there are still some good fish coming from the more protected middle section.
Worms and live yabbies, especially around the banks in the main basin, have always been very productive for quality goldens and bass with the odd catty and silver.
Try working lures in 6m to 8m along the banks where there is weed or timber Good lures include the Jackall deep Chubby and lipless cranks and blades around 3/8oz.
At Glenbawn the colour of the lures is not really critical but I like the gold blades and lures with green and yellow.
There is a good trolling run from the start of the river near Shags Point up to the Panhandle in front of the Soil Con shed.
Both of these dams are very open, especially to the westerly wind, and it is common for it to blow to 40 knots. Luckily, the winds usually do not start to hit their straps until midday but keep your eye out because it can get very rough.Reads: 1986