The fishing has fluctuated in recent weeks with some days being very productive while on others the bite can be quite fickle.
During May and into June, the bass move down the rivers to reach the correct water conditions in preparation for spawning and they can be very aggressive as they feed up to gain condition before breeding begins.
In the Williams, Paterson and Hunter rivers, crankbaits spinnerbaits and blades work best at this time, especially those 40mm to 50mm long with contrasting colours including black or red.
These offerings need to get down around 2m, rattle and have a very tight action so they can be worked very fast or even trolled.
Spinnerbaits need to be around 1/4oz with willow blades, with black or purple skirts preferable.
Vibrating blade lures around 6g, in purple patterns or with a lot of black stripes, should be worked right along the bottom.
Glenbawn and St Clair have been holding around 70% and their water are still very clear, with reasonable weed growth around the banks.
However, the sunken trees have plenty of weed growth and this is where some good catches have been coming from in recent weeks.
With the water temperature in both dams gradually falling, it should be quite a good month ahead provided we don’t get too many of those strong westerly winds.
It is magnificent to get out on the water on those foggy mornings and you just know that once it lifts, it is usually a perfect day for fishing.
While deep jigging produces bass, I typically focus on the shallows for bass and goldens early and late each day, even with surface lures. And if there is a slight breeze or it is overcast, I’ll continue on throughout the day with deeper presentations.
Lake St Clair has been very popular over the past month with skiers and anglers, with the dam looking good from the recent rain and relatively mild weather.
Because St Clair is quite shallow it tends to drop in temperature quite quickly and usually a definite thermocline forms around the 6m mark.
This is important for trollers and baitfishers because it is just below this depth that the goldens and bass tend to hold up or move around.
Trolling deep-divers, spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits is very productive, especially when searching for fish. The better colours include solid purple or black with silver tiger stripes. Spinnerbaits of 1/2oz to 5/8oz with willow blades are also good exploratory tools, along with heavy lipless crankbaits or blades.
The long, shallow points can also be very productive for neutral buoyant lures and plastics, especially if there has been some stable weather leading up to your trip. This same method takes fish over some of the deeper banks where weed is about 1m under the surface.
Bait fishing will be a bit slow but a worm or yabby dropped among the timber should be productive, especially up St Clair’s Carrowbrook Arm.
Lake Glenbawn is looking great and at its current level there are plenty of good areas to fish, especially up around the backs of bays and up the back of the dam.
In late Autumn the bass and goldens move around in search for food and suitable water, which can be trying on your patience.
With fine weather, it is often just a matter of trying to cover a lot of water and putting your sounder to good use. My Lowrance Structure Scan has found me some ‘hidden’ areas in the 10m depths adjacent to the banks and found timber along the old river bed up around the Soil Con shed.
The fish hold up around the timber as the water cools and can be targeted by trolling or casting deep lures up tight to the woodwork and even bouncing through it.
I have found that some days a slightly larger lure can be the answer for larger fish. This may mean swapping from a TN60 Jackall to a TN70 or upsizing my spinnerbait or soft plastic.
There are some good areas for dropping plastics or bait down along tree trunks in around 10m depths in the Main Basin and up to around The Narrows.
This year the water appears to be a bit warmer than last May and the weather seems different but if you can note the weather before your trip it can sometimes make finding the fish a little easier.
For example, strong winds can affect water stratification and can sometimes even turn the whole water column right over.
In the past there have been good concentrations of fish around Glenbawn’s Main Basin and in other years up around the Dogleg, so doing some preparation and planning can be very fruitful. If you can plan your trip after four or five days of high pressure, this is a good start.
Trollers will need lures with strong actions, solid colours and rattles and that get down around 6m.
Working the banks and timber is best done with neutral buoyant lures very early, then work out deeper crankbaits or plastics.
The bass can be seen to school up and suspend around the thermocline and can be very hard to target but finesse fishing with very light leaders and sensitive rods will help. Other options for suspended fish include ice jigs or Jackall Masks.Reads: 809