This can be a good month on local impoundments providing we don’t get those freezing westerly winds. Last year they didn’t blow but we certainly got plenty of rain in the catchments and early last month we got more, so the dams should rise in following months.
The rivers are now closed for the taking of bass so the dams are the only option for those chasing winter bass and other freshwater species.
Now that the water is dropping to around 15° the fish are reluctant to bite as their metabolism slows.
Usually the morning bite is slow, with 11am to 3pm the best time. I usually like to spend the first couple of hours evaluating the dam and hope by the time it warms up a little that the bass and goldens have moved up closer to the banks and cover.
I like to let the day play into my hand and try to be at the best spots when the water temperature and air temperature are at their peaks.
To target the fish you have to be right in their strike zone ,which is a very small area, meaning you have to put your lure or bait virtually in their faces.
Lake St Clair is usually very clear this month, and with recent rises there is certainly plenty of flooded vegetation around the banks for the fish to feed in.
The banks are best targeted using small, shallow-running lures and spinnerbaits or some of the new jerkbaits coming out of Japan. I like the Jackall Chubby, Megabass Live X Smolt and Ecogear CK-40 with the clear patterns under clear skies and solid colours on overcast days.
I have been trying some of the Trollcraft lures which are of excellent quality and less expensive than some other imported lures. The Shimmy Jim and Flutter Bug, both around 60mm long, have achieved some good results on bass and goldens.
Trolling is always a good option as you can enjoy the sun and find some of the fish holding out in the bays, where the water can be a few degrees warmer. You need lures that get down around 3m to 4m where the warmer water seems to be.
The sheltered Fallbrook Arm seems to be the better option this month.
Bait fishing can be productive but slow, with the timber in the Carrowbrook and Fallbrook fishing OK with worms and live shrimp.
This month Glenbawn can be slow, especially if the Barrington Tops get some decent snow drops. The can get down around 11°C if the westerlies blow.
Glenbawn needs a couple of days of high pressure with no wind to get the fish to bite so plan your trip with this in your mind.
The best option for goldens and bass is around timber in 6m to 10m using worms or plastics. The bigger trees seem to transfer more warmth into the water.
Dropping a vibration lure down around these trees will also get a hit but can sometimes get the bass and goldens a bit excited and more reluctant to bite.
If jigging plastics around the timber, use plenty of scent and try to alternate among three to four trees; quite often when you come back to one you fished previously for nothing it can suddenly be productive.
Working the banks with lures is also a good option in the middle of the day but you need work lures very slowly and put in several casts to the one section or snag.
Trolling works along the open banks around the middle of the dam. Use lures that run at around 5m with plenty of wobble and troll as slowly as possible. Lipless crankbaits also troll well.
At Glenbawn there are some nice peaks that come up to around 5m around the Dogleg and New House Bay which can be very productive trolling.
Although your fishing time is reduced at this time of year to around eight hours a day, it can be very enjoyable. Although fish numbers will be down the quality is usually high – but those frosty mornings can make for some icy starts.Reads: 556