RECENT weeks at Somerset Dam have been very hit and miss.
Most of the bass have been a bit smaller than usual, hovering around the legal size mark. The bigger models Somerset is known for are still being caught, just not that often. We had a couple of our regular customers capture over 100 fish in a day and only five or six were legal fish. I haven’t heard these sorts of statistics from Somerset for quite some time.
The surface water temperature has changed quite dramatically since the Easter break. We have recently been playing around with measuring water temperatures at different depths and even 4-5m down the water temp has changed quite a few degrees since the in-flows in early April. I suspect the recent change in water temperature is also partly due to the quick change in air temperature.
I don’t think it is coincidence that it’s taken a few hours of the morning sun warming the water for the bigger fish to be found more regularly in shallower water. It’s not always the case, but most reports of bigger fish have come after a couple of hours of sunlight.
The fish have not yet started to school in big numbers but several smaller schools of fish can be targeted. These schools have usually been found near some sort of structure, whether it’s a log or stump, drop-off to the riverbed or a hump on the bottom. These areas have produced fish on a variety of techniques but for cast and retrieve anglers, ice jigs, blades and Mask Vibes have worked best.
The flats across the dams have been a little sparse. Some fish will always be on the flats but lately they have been spread out. Trolling across these areas has produced decent size fish. Trolling lets you cover a lot of water and therefore increases your chances of coming across more fish. Hard-body lures that dive to 4-5m and tailspinners have been the lures of choice.
If casting lures, try drifting. The flats in Somerset are quite large (acres and acres) and when the fish are spread out they could be anywhere, so covering ground is key. Throwing tailspinners and spoons with big long casts will allow you to cover as much water as possible.
I would expect the fishing to become a bit more consistent over the next month as the water temp settles and schools of fish should start to show up a bit more regularly. For the bait fishers, numerous yellowbelly and the odd bass have been coming from the start of the timber on saltwater yabbies.
The top end of the dam is still a bit dirty and has been hard work, though red claw have been plentiful in this area. If heading out to Somerset, keep in mind the winter opening hours of 6.30am to 5.30pm. Stop in and see us at Somerset Fishing Tackle for daily updates on how the dam is fishing.