Flat out on flathead
  |  First Published: November 2012

With the weather warming fast, we can expect more fish activity in Wallis Lake and surrounds over the next few months.

With the warming weather will come an increase in holiday visitors and competition for prime space on the water.

The advantage of the Summer months is that you can escape the confusion of the lower lake and the varying array of watercraft, and varying capabilities of their controllers.

The beauty of this time of year is that juvenile fish spawned in Winter and Spring are growing rapidly and drawing the predators’ attention.

The upper rivers should be bristling with very scared prawns around the mangrove roots, while the baitfish are pushed close to the surface in fear of the ghostly shadows of the bream and tailor below.

The shallow edges of the rivers will have a few flathead waiting for a bait or lure, but the main concentration of flathead will be lower in the lake from The Step back to the bridge.

Some dredging is to be done in the Paddock area around the leases in an attempt to improve water depth and increase productivity of the surrounding leases.

It may also increase flathead holes that can be fished once the area settles and this should encourage better water flow and more bream habitat. So it is a win-win for all, as I see it.

Whiting should be fairly prolific in the clear water of the lower lake around the bridge, Breckenridge Channel and Wallis Island.

The huge spawning aggregation and the sheer numbers of fish in the area drive them to eat surface lures and snaffle worms or yabby baits. Prime target areas are around the channel drop-offs.

The increasing weed patches along Sandy (Miles) Island hold the interest of the gathered whiting but also provide a perfect ambush area for some very large flathead. A recent drift past the spot revealed four huge fish that made slow but determined retreats to the deep water.

The shallow water means these fish are easily spooked, so long casts with large plastics or live baits early morning, before the Winter-whitened legs of swimmers start stomping the flats, is best.

The last of the run-out tide is also a great time to drift live mullet along the channels down to the bridge or to cast surface lures toward the sand edges and over the weed patches for bream and whiting.

If you are lucky, or unlucky, you may stir up a big flathead on the surface lures so don’t be surprised, just a bit disappointed, when you don’t land it. It’s a probability thing.


Bream fishing around the oyster leases is just getting better with most of the leases being populated by fish of some size.

The racks at the mouth of the Wallamba River are always worth a look around the high tide and a slice of bread floated over the racks will give you a good indication as to whether the fish are there. It’s not a conventional method of finding fish, but it works a treat!

Flathead are perhaps the main focus in the lake for the Summer but if you want some shallow-water spinning away from the crowds, you could look farther afield to Smiths lake.

While Smiths does have marine park sanctuary boundaries, there are plenty of areas to cast a lure or bait. The shallow nature of the lake makes it a great Summer venue and there are also some stud whiting lurking there. So keep an open mind and take tackle to change tactics if the flatties don’t perform.

Lots of other lesser-fished species are available through the Summer, like mullet, garfish, leatherjackets. And don’t forget the blue swimmer crabs are back among the weed beds and are well worth the effort.

Blackfish around the leases and weed beds can make a nice change to target on the run-out tide so there is no excuse not to go home with a feed this month.

The breakwall, too, has been surrendering a few school jew, bream and tailor and spinning from the ends of the walls has put anglers in touch with some big bonito.

The weather has been ideal to chase bass in the local freshwater and the past flood and near-floods have meant the bass have been able to move well back up the rivers.

So the distribution of big fish means they can turn up anywhere in the feeder creeks and rivers.

The rivers have not been as healthy for fish in a long time, so dust off the bass lures and get to it.



• Blue swimmer crabs, prawns, bream, flathead and whiting in Wallis Lake.

• Tailor, jew, bonito and mack tuna from the rocks

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