Beware the westerly
  |  First Published: July 2010

This can be one of the most enjoyable times of the year to be out on the dams. The mornings are usually foggy, the barometer high and the days can be quite warm – unless the cold westerlies kick in and ruin things.

My diaries over recent years reveal the August westerlies usually hit about midday and can be quite regularly encountered.

With the water down around 12.5°, there has not been too much action on lakes Glenbawn and St Clair recently and the catches are coming mainly from the bait fishers.

A benefit of fishing at this time of the year is that the bite tends to be best from around midday to around 4pm, coinciding with the barometer, water and air temperature at their highest.

With the cool water the bass, goldens and silvers tend to bite for a short period during this window so it is best to be on your prime spots when it happens.

It is best to put a large presentation, be it lure or bait initially, and work it slowly and keep it in the strike zone longer. If that doesn’t work, go for a presentation with more action and vibration.

There are two areas to target the fish this month, depending on recent weather patterns. The individual fish tend to hold close to large structure adjacent to banks, especially those with a lot of weed growth, while the school fish seek the more sheltered bays in deeper water.

Lipless crankbaits or rattling lures are ideal worked around the banks and timber. They are even more productive when modified to be neutrally buoyant.

Locating the deeper fish can take plenty of time as they are on the move, albeit slowly, until they locate suitable oxygen levels, water temperatures, water clarity and food.

A sounder with good definition can find the correct conditions and depth. It is not uncommon that this depth will consistently hold fish in that vicinity.


Lake St Clair is down a little and the fishing has been pretty slow but it is looking good for Spring.

There are quite a few schools of small bass holding up in the Broadwater bays in around 8m but they can be very difficult. But with light line and plenty of patience they can be enticed to bite plastics and small blades.

Up the Carrowbrook Arm around the heavy timber is always good for big goldens and bass using live bait or jigging big plastics with plenty of scent.

Trolling can be ideal for finding the fish in the more open areas. Bigger lures are usually best, especially those with a nice tight action that get down around 5m to 6m.

Lure colour selection this month can be difficult but brighter greens and yellows appear to be close to the mark.

Walking the banks up the Fallbrook Arm can also be very productive, especially after a lot of wind. My favourite lures for this are the Jackall Chubby or Squirrel, which can be cast long distances on threadlines.

Catfish on worm baits are always a good option for a feed. The best spot is at the camping around from the boat ramp.


At Glenbawn the water is usually at its coldest this month and when the cold winds hit, the better fishing comes from the back area in the more sheltered bays.

Worms can be very productive from the banks, while around the timber yabbies work best.

Trolling is always a good option to locate the fish and it can be quite pleasant out on the water on the warm days. And at this time of year you will not see too many other anglers.

Although Glenbawn’s level is down from last year, there are still some very good areas for those who wish to work the banks using crankbaits and plastics. The more gradually sloping spots are the first to try, where I like to use lipless cranks, shallow cranks and compact spinnerbaits.

The schooled bass and goldens out in the deeper water are best targeted with vibes or ice jigs but you have to be patient. They can take some enticing and although you can see them on your sounder, it can be frustrating.

The fish that you catch at this time of year, especially the bass, are mostly in prime condition because they are feeding on the schools of firetail gudgeons and smelt.

As I said, this can be a very pleasant month to fish the dams but have a close look at the weather before venturing out. You need three to four days of high barometer, and keep an eye on the westerlies that blow in around midday.

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