Lake Somerset Holiday Park – formerly known as Kirkleigh – is conveniently situated on the shores of the northern end of majestic Somerset.
The lake is at full capacity at the moment, making for an idyllic setting with water on two sides of the main camping area.
The Lake Somerset Holiday Park is located on the Esk-Kilcoy road. The road runs between Esk, on the Brisbane Valley Highway (the turn off is west of Ipswich at Blacksoil), and Kilcoy, which is 50km west of Caboolture on the D’Aguilar Highway. The turn off to the campgrounds is 33km from Esk and 18km from Kilcoy.
It takes about an hour and a half to two hours to drive to the lake from Brisbane City, depending on traffic flow. When I leave my home on the south side of the city at 5am to go bass fishing at Somerset Dam, I’m usually pushing the 4.2m TABS Bullshark off the trailer at around 6:30am.
At the entrance to the Somerset Dam Holiday Park there is a new office and kiosk. The capable staff make all campers, vistors and day trippers welcome and can issue required boating permits or fishing permits (SIP) as well as provide the necessary code to allow access via the park’s drop-chain style boom gates. A good range of food, ice, and general grocery items is also available at the kiosk.
There have been minor changes to the park since I visited around five year ago. A cricket ground, a designated swimming area, a children’s playground and a sports area have all been added.
Barbecues and shelter sheds are scattered strategically within the park, as well as five toilet and amenity blocks. There is also a fish cleaning station and paired boat ramps on either side of the campgrounds, which are very handy, as boats can be easily launched and retrieved with prevailing winds.
I recently launched in a light southerly breeze at daylight on the north side of the grounds. Then at 5pm, I winched the boat back onto the trailer on the sheltered southern side of the spit away from the considerable chop kicked up by a strong northerly wind. Best of all it was only a 100m walk to the car and trailer.
The entire 47 hectare camping area is a wide, grassy paddock with trees scattered here and there to offer shade.
The wide, open area are available on a first come, first served basis and the grounds are frequented by people camping with just swags, to others with tents and camper trailers. Caravan owners are also catered for with 12 powered sites.
On the southern side of the campgrounds, there is a certain area set aside as a family camping area. This area is handy, as children can be set up comfortably in a favourite chair, handed a rod and reel, and allowed to soak a baited hook to their heart’s content. Best of all if you put a worm or shrimp on the hook then something will take the bait, ranging from an eel tailed catfish right through to one of the lake’s fabled bass.
Fires are permitted within the fireplaces provided but the park does not allow fires outside of these fireboxes.
Additionally those who don’t wish to camp but want to stay at the lake, can book one of the park’s four deluxe holiday cabins or the large log cabin. All of the cabins are situated right at the eastern end of the park overlooking the water.
Lake Somerset has a well-deserved reputation for producing top quality bass and these feisty fish should still be schooling well in October.
Methods to take bass range from bait such as shrimps and fresh water yabbies to lures and flies. All methods have their devotees and all work, but bait is undoubtedly the most efficient.
Other fish available are catfish, golden and silver perch plus tilapia, which are present in big numbers but are not greatly targeted, they will often take a worm bait though.
Bait is not hard to come by at Somerset Dam. With the warmer months now on us shrimp can be collected by setting a shrimp trap from shore.
Red claw crays are also available in prolific numbers from the shore. Baited red claw traps simply thrown out from the shore on a long rope will produce a feed without much bother. Effective red claw bait can be anything from par boiled potatoes and rock melon to tinned cat food and even blue pilchards.
Most anglers rely on a boat for their Lake Somerset fishing but land based anglers who put in the effort will still catch fish from the shore. For those with a boat, a boating permit is required to use a powerboat on the lake, as is a Stocked Impoundment Permit (SIP) for the fishing.
Lake Somerset Holiday Park is a great place to stay right on the banks of a great lake to fish. Plan ahead and book on the Internet or by phone for holiday times, as this is a popular venue. Call on (07) 54971093, fax (07) 54971184 or email --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 10417