This can be the most rewarding part of the season, especially for bass and golden perch.
It is also the last month for the season with an ‘r’ in it so is also a prime month or so the old legends would have it.
In recent weeks bass have been really firing in the dams and rivers, especially after those nice foggy mornings and again towards the end of the day.
Down around the lower Hunter, the bass become very active, looking for plenty of food as they prepare to move into spawning mode. They begin to travel down the rivers until the correct salinity is reached, where they hold station until after spawning.
If the rivers continue to remain very clear the bass will nail virtually any lure or bait presented to them. My preference is 50mm shallow-running lures in dark patterns around the cover.
Another option is a small, compact spinnerbait with Colorado blades and purple skirt or a lipless crankbait from 50mm to 60mm long. There are plenty of good lures to use, from the inexpensive Trollcraft Flutter Bug and Shrimp to the Jackall Chubby and Atomic Hardz.
The Williams River also fires up exceptionally well this month, with fewer water skiers easing the stress levels. The abovementioned lures will work, along with Bass Spins or Beetle Spins tipped with Gulp grubs in camo pattern.
Lake St Clair really fires this month as the water temperature falls to around 22°, raising the oxygen level.
During mid-Autumn the oxygen levels at the bottom of the water column (10m-plus) drop, so the bass and goldens move up to just below the thermocline, which is normally around 4m.
Shallower fish are naturally easier to target with lures and various other techniques around the banks and shallower water.
The fish are very active as they begin to get into spawning mode so a good sounder and a lot of exploring are critical to finding them. Trolling can be very helpful in covering ground.
It has been very windy I find the fish are usually up the Fallbrook and Carrowbrook arms. Once it settles down they then move out into the Broadwater and more open areas.
The bass and goldens are best targeted with reaction lures with 1/2oz spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits good options. Also worth trying are the 3/8oz to 1/2oz blades, along with deep diving lures or soft stick baits.
Any pattern with a lot of gold is good, as are spinnerbaits with gold Colorado blades.
Trolling can be very productive, especially with lures that get down 5m to 7m. Effective models come from Viking and AC Invaders.
Live shrimp and yabbies also hit a high in Autumn. There is not a lot of weed off the banks so some good catches can be made from the shore and around the trees. I’m finding my Lowrance Structure Scan finds the downed timber and cover out in the deeper water where the fish hold up.
There are plenty of nice catties around the main camping area that are partial to a bunch of worms.
Lake Glenbawn has been fishing well and should continue to so all this month.
The dam does not have a great deal of good weed around the banks so the bass and goldens are moving out in deeper water in search for food and cover.
As the water begins to fall to around 22°, schools of gudgeons and smelt will appear.
A good sounder will find the depth of the thermocline, which will dictate the depth the fish will be holding at.
With very little oxygen below the thermocline in early Autumn, the fish are normally in the top 10m of the water column where they can be located by trolling and then worked with reaction lures, especially lipless crankbaits, deep crankbaits and spinnerbaits.
This month bass appear in good numbers around the main basin, along with goldens and silvers.
The goldens and silvers will take lures but are very partial to worms and yabbies dropped around the timber in 10-12m, while the bass will also take a live shrimp or yabby.
Trollers who wish to try something different should tow Jackall TN60s or TN70s, which are very good in more open water, especially around the wall areas and Cemetery Point.
I recently had a test run with the new Lowrance Mark and Elite series of sounders and was astounded at their ease of operation, performance and value.Reads: 800