In the rivers down around the valley the fishing is started to slow up, as is normal with the bass in spawning mode and reluctant to attack baits or lures. So it is a good time to get some Brownie points stored up in readiness for Spring.
Up at the Barrington Tops there have were some good trout stockings last Summer so 2005/06 should be a good season if we get the required rainfall.
In the local impoundments the water temperature will fall to about 12°, which will really slow up the fishes’ metabolisms and make for some very tough angling.
Although the fishing can be really hard during this month it can also be very enjoyable with the morning fog making good conditions for surface lures, especially Jitterbugs and Bill’s Bugs. Recently I also have been very successful with the Jackall Water Moccasin and Lucky Craft Pointer suspending baits.
After the fog the warm days make for some good trolling and working lures around the heavy timber. The goldens and bass tend to hold there because the trees radiate heat into the water and attract the baitfish and weed growth.
When I fish the dams during Winter I like to have a high barometer or one that is rising about three or four days beforehand. No wind also tends to lift the fish up the water column as the thermocline also rises. This can be seen on a good sounder and with my new Lowrance LMS 332C I set the sensitivity around 85% and can then also detect the fish holding usually just below the thermocline.
At Lake St Clair the most productive section will be in the Carrowbrook Reach as it always seems to be a little warmer and there is more timber for the fish to hang near for cover and feed.
Try also around the weed along the banks but as the water is very clear and the fish will be easily spooked. I like to turn both my sounders off and in some cases I walk the banks and cast TN60 Jackalls 3/8oz spinnerbaits.
This is also an excellent time to fly-fish around the dam as the weed is not too thick and sometimes you can see the fish swimming out from the bank.
Last Winter I had some good catches casting deep lures and TN60 Jackalls around the points in the later part of the day, especially on those points facing north.
The bait fishing will also be a little slow but worms and shrimp will be the go with some good catches of the silver perch that are now starting to appear from recent stockings.
Lake Glenbawn can be very rewarding this time of year if you get the previously-mentioned weather pattern, but you will usually have to cover a lot of water. In itself this can be very enjoyable on the nice sunny days but pay a lot of attention to your sounder.
You need to see at what depth the fish are holding and where the thermocline is so you can determine the type of lure or method to catch them.
Before the advent of some of these new jigs and deep lures we had to use downriggers or lead-core line because sometimes the bass and goldens were holding down around 14 metres.
If the thermocline is around nine metres I like to follow it to the banks and work along them at that depth. This can be done a lot more easily nowadays with the wide variety of techniques available but my preferred option is casting jigs and counting them down or dropping lipless crankbaits. The Mask Vibe Jackall is excellent for this style as it casts like a rocket and lacks a rattle which can sometimes spook the fish.
Although the dam is still quite low the back section among the timber is the best option. Black/gold or purple/black are good lure colours to begin with.
This is a slow month for bait fishing but I find it best to fish is around individual trees by themselves and use big yabbies and the ever-reliable worms.
This is the time for some giant goldens and silvers.
Those wanting to target the giant goldens could try an ultra-deep AC Invader in the 42 colour pattern trolled around the backs of bays where the water can be a couple of degrees warmer.
I recently received a story from a reader about a 71-year-old gentleman from Moree who caught a 72 lb cod on a Jackall TN60 and 6lb Fireline at Copeton Dam. It took him 75 minutes to boat the fish.
I recently received the latest stocking figures from NSW Fisheries. Glenbawn received 166,000 golden perch, 44,600 bass and 50,000 rainbow trout, while St Clair received 200,000 goldens and 24,600 bass. On top of these, Singleton Fly Fishing Club through the dollar-for-dollar scheme put in 24,000 bass. At the recent ABT Glenbawn round Simon Goldsmith handed over an ABA cheque to the club for $500 for future bass stockings.