Dam hot fishing continues
  |  First Published: May 2013

It seems like ages since I’ve sat down to write a report and rain hasn’t been pouring outside or been threatening on the radar.

The result of all this rain at the start of the year has filled our lakes and flooded our rivers and usually good fishing would be out of the question for several months. A few locations have suffered but most have recovered very quickly and there is somewhere to successfully target every freshwater species we have on offer. The list of hot fishing locations will only increase as water clears around the place.

With the cold months well on their way, some species will start to slow down. Luring these fish will be tougher so make the most of the action and get out and have a crack.

Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.

South East Queensland
Closest Towns: Toowoomba, Crows Nest

Unfortunately, Cressbrook didn’t open to boating last month. At the time of writing, it remains closed and it looks as though it may not open until the middle of this month. The Toowoomba City Council kept the lake closed to boating due to it being over 100% capacity. The campgrounds are operational and fishing from the shore is permitted.

If you want to try your luck fishing from the edges, try the second point to the north of the campgrounds or the buoy line near the pump tower below the picnic grounds. Live shrimp should account for a few bass and the occasional golden perch. Try casting baits well out to reach deeper water.

When boating is allowed, it will be anyone’s guess as to where the bass will be. Sounding around in 6-9m of water should reveal tight schools. Areas like Bass Bay, Deer Island, opposite the Eagles Nest and the toilet point up Beams (Bull) Creek will all be worth a look. Smaller blade baits, like the Evergreen Little Max in 1/4oz will be perfect due to the dirtier water. Try both hopping and rolling retrieves.

Even though Cressbrook’s bass have been given a good spell from boats and angling pressure, it doesn’t take long for them to smarten up. Once they get harder to catch, try slow rolling blades at a speed which ensures they are only just working.

Red claw crayfish will be an option from the bank and boats when they are allowed on the water. The flooding should have fired the crayfish up. Try rockmelon as bait and see what depth is most effective by moving your pots around every couple of hours.

If you are heading to the dam, don’t forget your $3 in coins to get through the boom gate and the 8 knot speed limit which is in place. For all your supplies, expert advice and to check on the boating restriction, call in at Fish’n’Bits in Alderly Street, Toowoomba, or give them a ring on (07)4636 6850. The boys at the store all compete in bass tournaments and really know their stuff.

Closest Towns: Esk, Kilcoy

I haven’t heard a lot of reports from Somerset over the last few weeks. The fish that have been caught have been taken trolling in shallower water.

The Pelican Point area has held plenty of smaller bass in 4-5m of water. Small bass and quality golden perch are also coming from most of the edges between Pelican Point and Kirkleigh. When targeting these fish, choose hardbody lures which run 3-5m deep and contour troll to keep them close to the bottom in these areas. On Pelican Point flats, trolling blade baits can be effective. I have found 1/2oz blades are perfect for trolling as they will run deeper, getting down to where the bass are.

The timber to the north of Kirkleigh will be an option as bass and golden perch should be scattered around the banks and may even appear in schools. Spinnerbaits, blades and lipless crankbaits cast to the edges or medium depth diving lures trolled out from the banks should score some better quality fish.

Red claw crayfish have been abundant. Moving pots until you find success seems to be the key. They can be caught from the bank around the campground at Kirkleigh or found in better numbers in less pressured areas.

Closest Towns: Nerang, Gold Coast

Hinze Dam has started to fish quite well after some more settled weather. Saratoga numbers have been on the rise with quite a few fish taken along the western side of the dam up towards the wall.

Spinnerbaits have been scoring most of the toga bites but don’t discount the use of a surface lure early and late in the day. The average fish have been of exceptional quality, measuring anywhere from 70-80cm.

Bass have made a move back to the flooded timberline where they are holding in around 7m of water. Here, these fish are keen to whack lipless crankbaits, blade baits and soft plastics. Smaller numbers of bass can also be found out from all the major points. Catching a few fish and releasing them away from the school seems to prolong the bite time as fish released back into the school shut the bite down.

The boat ramp on the western side of the lake is the only ramp open at the moment, although this keeps anglers close to plenty of action. A boating permit (not SIP) is required to fish the dam and is available from several outlets including Go Fishing in Nerang. For an up to date report or any tips on catching bass in the area, call in and see John at Go Fishing at 10 Spencer Street Nerang.

Closest Towns: Imbil, Gympie

Callum Munroe reports not much has changed at Borumba over the last month. Bass are still holding around the lake’s edges where they are fond of spinnerbaits.

The steep walls in the main basin and up past The Junction in Kingham and Yabba arms have held plenty of quality bass.

Spinnerbaits in 5/8oz weight have been ideal for quickly exploring the banks while on the move. If fish are seen on the sounder, chances are there will be plenty more in the area and it should be given a thorough work over.

Closest Towns: Cooroy, Noosa

Lake Macdonald bass have fired up and have been more willing to take a range of baits. I fished the lake about a month ago and the bass were keen on surface lures.

The new 60mm Halco Roosta Popper and old faithful Cultiva Zip’n Ziggy scored plenty of bites up Borer Creek. Since then, the subsurface action has taken off with bass responding to blade baits, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits. Reports suggest bass are coming from all over the lake with the upper sections producing some of the best action. Borer Creek, The Palm Plantation and The Horseshoe have all fished well in recent times.

Saratoga numbers seem to be on the increase in MacDonald. These prized fish are becoming more and more common each year. Last month there were a few caught so don’t be surprised if you happen to hook one while fishing for bass.

Closest Town: Boonah

Bass have continued to bite well at Maroon with spinnerbaits being the standout lure to use. Late afternoon and early morning have been the times to try surface lures around the lake’s edges.

The O.S.P. Bent Minnow has worked well for some anglers so be sure to have a couple ready to go.

Darling Downs Granite Belt Region
Closet Towns: Highfields, Toowoomba

The golden perch keep biting like crazy at Cooby Dam. The fish have been going wild since the floods earlier in the year and can be caught on bait and lures. Bait fishing with live shrimp and saltwater yabbies is the most reliable method and the 6-7m mark just out from the boat ramp has been an awesome spot. Catches of over 20 fish are not uncommon so anglers need to exercise a responsible attitude and release some fish and stick to size and bag limits.

Lures have accounted for plenty of fish although they can be a little fussier at times. Jigging ice jigs in schooling fish and hopping TN60 Jackalls over concentrations of goldens near the bottom will soon sort them out. Trolling medium diving lures is a great way to locate the fish as there can be a lot of unproductive water between the big concentrations.

At times, the steep bank has fished well for shore-based anglers. Bait fishing and casting hardbody lures can work very well when there are good numbers of fish in the area.

Cooby is an electric motor only dam but is well suited to kayaks and canoes. The concrete boat ramp is on a shallow angle when the dam is full and can be slippery in places. A boom gate at the entrance requires $3 to open. Access is between 7am-6pm until the end of August.

Leslie Dam
Closest Town: Warwick

Leslie has fished well for golden perch on bait and lures over the past month. There have been increasing numbers of undersized Murray cod caught and also a whopper of over 30lb that fell for a live shrimp.

Bait anglers are finding fish in the main basin as well as in the back reaches up near the Black Boys. Live shrimp are always a winner and saltwater yabbies are a close second best. The saltwater yabbies have even been responsible for hooking quite a few just undersized cod.

Lure fishers have had success on the TN60 Jackall and Atomic Shiner; both on the troll and casting. Deeper holding fish have been taken on the Mask Vib Jackall. Luring should be good in May but the action will taper off next month as the water cools, so be sure to enjoy it while it lasts.

If you are chasing any supplies for the dams in the Warwick area or want to tangle with some of the cod and goldens in the river, call in and see the guys at Warwick Outdoor and Sports. The store is in Palmerin Street, which is the main street running through Warwick.

Closest Town: Warwick

Connelly Dam has been the better performer in the Warwick area. Golden and silver perch numbers have been good and there are usually a few undersized Murray cod willing to play.

The southern end of the lake seems to be on fire. Bait anglers are having the best success on the goldens and silvers when using live shrimp. Halco Nightwalker surface lures have been tempting the undersized cod but don’t be surprised if a big one gets in on the action.

Wide Bay and Burnett Region
Closest Towns: Proston, Kingaroy

Lure fishing at Boondooma has been slow due to the dirty water. Bait anglers are catching golden perch on live shrimp. There have been stacks of red claw crayfish around.

To pick up some more advice or the right gear for the job, call in and see Matthew at Bass to Barra in Kingaroy. Bass to Barra also have a shop in Dalby where you can catch up with Dylan. Be sure to call in and see the guys for the latest tips if you’re heading out.

Closest Towns: Monto, Biloela

Cameron Hobson has been getting into the action at Cania and has a few tips to share. There is some good fishing to be had up the back of the dam near the trees where the dirty water meets the clear. Cameron has had success on lipless crankbaits with the Jackall TN60 and TN70 both accounting for fish.

The Smak Mini Coop spinnerbait has also worked well, and adding a 3” Powerbait Ripple Shad trailer with the tail dipped in chartreuse Spike It seems to provoke more bites.

Luring in this area has produced a mixed bag with bass being the main species encountered with golden perch and silver perch making up the rest of the bag. Late in the afternoon, there has been the occasional bass willing to nail a surface lure.

To find out more about the lake or to book some great accommodation nearby, call the Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park on (07) 4167 8188. There are excellent facilities including camp sites, cabins, a playground and swimming pools. It’s worth a visit to the park just to see some of the rare and beautiful wildlife that regularly drop in and live in the area. With regular events such as wood fired pizza night, wine tasting, camp oven dinner and outdoor movies on each week, there is plenty to do when you’re not wetting a line.

Closest Town: Biloela

There is little to report from the dam at the moment. During the flooding, five gates were opened to release water and barra escaped into Callide Creek below. Locals on private property below the dam have been able to catch these fish and if you can gain access, it is another option for hooking some quality fish.

Isis Balancing Storage
Closest Town: Bundaberg

The Isis has been fishing well with plenty of quality bass on offer. Usually, the schools on the edges of the weed drop-off produce only small specimens. Small plastics worked along the bottom through these schools have been accounting for some great bass of 40-50cm in length.

Schooling fish can also be found out in deeper water where they can be caught on blade baits and soft plastics. The quality of these deeper holding fish has dropped a little with the mass movement of the big bass to the weed edge.

Surface action has slowed down but there are still fish to be caught early in the mornings before sun-up. Walk-the-dog action lures have been producing better than popper styles. The Cultiva Zip’n Ziggy and Lucky Craft Sammy 65 are two popular choices for this dam.

A few of the boys at Salty’s Tackleworld in Bundaberg are keen bass fishermen and will be able to not only set you up with the right gear to enjoy the action, but point you straight to some of the best spots. Salty’s has a great range of fresh and saltwater tackle so be sure to call in and take advantage of the great fishing in the area.

Closest town: Gin Gin

Despite all the flooding earlier in the year, the dam is making a quick recovery. The few anglers fishing the lake have found success with small barra taking lures in the usual old haunts. Insane Bay, the big bays on the southern side of the south arm of B and the southern end of Bird Bay have fished reasonably well with suspending hardbodies. Lures around 100mm in length have been perfect and the local tackle store, Foxies, has reported selling plenty of the Yozuri Crystal Minnow, Halco Hamma and Rapala SRX10.

In the afternoons, a few fish have been taking surface lures up the northern end of Bird Bay. Topwater lures like the Cultiva Tango Dancer and River2Sea Tango Prop have been ideal on the better class of barra, which are measuring around 80cm.

Since the flooding has settled down, downstream from the dam in the Kolan River has fished exceptionally well. Barra from 50-90cm have been around in good numbers near the road crossing on Monduran Road. Foxies has sold heaps of cheaper lures that are smacking these escaped barra. The Berkley Frenzy and Troll Craft Prism Murrin have certainly left their mark on these barra.

There are plenty of opportunities to catch barra in the Kolan with some excellent water around the Bucca area. Be aware restrictions are in place around any weir walls and if you are found fishing inside the closed boundary, you will face the consequences.

The tackle store in Gin Gin, Foxies, stocks a range successful barra lures. The store will mail order and you can check it out online at www.barratackle.com.au . Be sure to call in and get directions to some of the best barra fishing in the area.

Accommodation can be booked through Lake Monduran Kiosk and Tackle Shop. They look after all the cabins, houses, powered and unpowered camp sites, as well as house boats and boat hire. You can also make bookings for Guide Lines fishing charters. The kiosk’s number is (07) 4157 3881.

Jamie Bein runs Lake Monduran Barra Charters and fishes that dam more than anyone else I know. His regular visits ensure he has a good understanding of what’s going on. Contact Jamie on his mobile number 0407 434 446 or through his website www.lakemonduranbarracharters.com .

Capricorn Region
Closest Towns: Benaraby, Gladstone

Awoonga Dam looks like it will take quite a while to recover from the big flood in January. The Boyne River on the other hand has been going off from below the dam wall to the river mouth.

The water around Pikes Crossing below the dam is still very dirty but barra are being caught from the road crossing and further upstream in boats. Boat launching is now quite difficult due to the flood erosion but a 4WD will safely launch a 4m boat on a roller trailer. Just take care, not only with launching but also on the water as new obstructions will be hidden in the dirty water.

Hardbody lures have been scoring plenty of fish in this area.

The highway bridge near Benaraby is another access point to the river. The bottom side of the bridge is fine for launching bigger boats. The upstream side has been washed out and towing trailers through here will be risky at the bottom stages of the tide as there are plenty of soft spots up near the deeper water needed for launching. Once on the water you are in prime barra country and there have been big fish caught from both sides of the bridge.

The water is dirty and fresh but the barra are still responding well to lures. Both plastics and hardbodies are taking fish in this area although they seem to bite in phases so action can be red hot or ice cold depending on the mood of the fish.

Further downstream near the mouth of the river, barra are stacking up in numbers around shallower flats and near the major rock bars. A lot of the fish are above the bridge but they are just as likely to move about over the coming month.

Trolling lures when the current is ripping is an ideal way to get a strike. Deeper diving lures like the RMG 125 Scorpion in the 5m model has been exceptional. When the current slows, try hopping Transam 95’s or rolling soft plastics through schooling fish.

Next trip I’ll be experimenting with some weedless rigs to pull fish from the rock bars on plastics when the current is running fast.

For your accommodation while in the area give Lyn and Mark from Awoonga Gateway a call on (07) 4975 0033. At Awoonga Gateway you’ll find clean, modern cabins and your hosts will be full of useful advice to help you try to land that barra of a lifetime.

Whitsunday Region
Closest Towns: Proserpine, Airlie Beach

Proserpine barra have stayed close to the same areas they were holding in for the past few months. Changes may start to take place as the days get shorter and the water gets cooler with more fish heading to the shallow water and around the weedy edges.

Casting to the deeper trees where the creeks carve their channel has been effective. Crash diving hardbodies around these trees will draw some interest. RMG Scorpions and Barra Baits capable of diving 4-5m are perfect for this area.

Early and late in the day and at night around the full moon, surface lures will work near shallow lily and weed areas. Topwater lures like Cultiva Tango Dancers and 90mm Rapala Skitter Pops are ideal for this work.

Red claw crayfish numbers have taken off and can be caught all over the dam.

If you are planning a Proserpine Dam assault call in and see the boys in town at Proserpine Bait and Tackle. Lindsay Dobe has spent years running charters on the lake and has a good idea where the barra will be and how best to catch them. If you are interested in a charter make sure you get in early with your booking. Lindsay can be reached through the store on (07) 4945 4641.

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