It’s been quite some time since I wet a line. The ordinary weather at the start of the year kept me at home, busy doing other jobs. After plenty of time to think about fishing, I’m keen and ready to get back out on the water.
Last year I experienced some great fishing. Even when the action was slow there were great times and fun to be had with new found friends. It amazes me how people from all different backgrounds can share one passion – fishing. With this common interest, it’s easy to get along with new people, share conversations and make new mates. This was certainly the case when I fished a couple of competitions at Monduran Dam. I had great times with some of the dam’s locals. They were even kind enough to share some of their secrets – a favour that one day I hope I can repay.
Already this year some of our lakes have been lucky enough to receive some water. Let’s hope this pattern continues and the rest receive some benefit as well. The only downside is with a mass of water flows into low dams there is a risk of substantial fish kills. Hopefully this will not be the case.
If you have any information about lakes that aren’t covered in QFM or even those that are, then please send me an email at --e-mail address hidden-- . The more feedback I receive from readers, the more accurate these reports will be.
Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.
The boating access scheme, which allows access to Lake Samsonvale under permits issued by the Pine Rivers Fish Management Association (PRFMA), has been suspended since July 2005. Unfortunately, it looks unlikely to recommence in the near future. While there is a promise of a wet summer, the lake level will need to increase to more than 50% before the boating access is permitted again. Who knows what is in store for us over coming months?
In the meantime, the PRFMA hasn’t been idle waiting for the heavens to open up. Here are a few things they have done or are working on to ensure a sustainable fishery for the future.
The Association has negotiated a further five year license from SEQ Water to enable access to the designated boating area.
On-going maintenance through regular working bees has ensured the access site off Adsetts Road is in prime condition and ready to accept permit holders when the scheme is up and running again.
Stocking of native species has also been a priority for the association, although they have been limited in this regard as PRFMA’s primary source of income is the currently inoperative boating access scheme.
Members of the PRFMA have been involved in a number of community activities including fishing clinics for juniors, the Pine Rivers Shire Council (PRSC) River Clean on the Pine River and various events promoting sustainable fishing in the region.
Further events are planned for January 2008 including the PRSC SHAFT program (18th Jan), an indigenous children’s fishing clinic (19th Jan), the Petrie Lions family fishing day on Australia Day, and the Bluefin Sunfish “Take a Kid Fishing” event on the 3rd February, all to be held at Lake Kurwongbah.
The most exciting news for the region is the upcoming stocking of Lake Kurwongbah with native species. A small group of dedicated enthusiasts has been working behind the scenes to get this off the ground and that work is now reaching completion. The PRFMA will manage the stocking program and a $50 000 grant secured under the Australian Government’s Recreational Fishing Community Grants Program (RFCGP) will provide the funding for the establishment of the program and initial stocking. The Pine Rivers Shire Council has been a strong advocate of the program, supporting the RFCGP application and providing additional funding under their Community Development scheme. A grant from DPI for the purchase of fingerlings will also assist. More details on this exciting development will appear in future issues of QFM.
The PRFMA can be contacted at any time on --e-mail address hidden--
Toowoomba’s dam levels continue to fall, with Lake Cressbrook now at around 11%. There have been plenty of smaller bass taking an assortment of lures around the lake’s edges, though most of these fish are under the legal length of 30cm. If you are patient and sort through the smaller fish, there are some bigger models to be caught.
With less water for the fish to hide in, the fish are more confined and there are few places that don’t hold fish. Certain banks are more highly populated and continue to produce the goods. Other areas will also hold better quality bass. It pays to move around and explore different areas. The best way to go about this is to cast lures while using an electric motor to manoeuvre the boat into new territory.
Reaction lures have been working well. Offerings such as Jackalls, spinnerbaits and beetle spins will produce fish all day long. They can be worked in a range of depths by altering the speed of the retrieve or giving them time to sink in deeper water. If you have tried these lures and failed to produce, opt for a silent Daiwa or Lake Police Jackall. These lures have no rattles and this more subtle approach can sometimes make all the difference.
When the fish are co-operating, they can be caught on a range of other lures. Three inch soft plastics fished on half ounce jigheads, suspending jerkbaits and crankbaits will all succeed. Stealth and a light tackle system is the key. Four to ten pound Fireline or similar super line is all that is required. Be sure to fit this with some 10–16lb fluorocarbon leader.
One of the highlights in more recent times has been the increase in surface action. Bass were avid takers of topwater presentations a few years ago. They loved to hammer these lures in the early mornings and late afternoons. This action died down for some time but has really fired up in the last couple of months. Casting lures right to the edge and using a slow retrieve with plenty of pauses seems to draw the desired result. Good surface lures are the Surface Busters, Frenzy Popper, Rapala Skitterpop and Zara Puppy. Only a month ago, there were quite a few better quality bass taken on the surface during the brighter parts of the day. The morning and afternoon will bring on the smaller fish.
Don’t forget your $2 entry fee at the gate. This allows you to access the boat ramp as well as BBQ, picnic and playground facilities. The ramp is still in a good condition with gravel all the way into the water. The entry angle is shallow and this could cause problems if you want to launch a bigger bass style boat.
For an update on the fishing, boat launching and of course all your fishing supplies call in and see the guys at Fish’n’Bits in Alderly Street Toowoomba. Bass and cod guru, Carl Jocumsen, works at the store and will be keen to share some of his knowledge.
Chris Galligan took the time out to prepare a fishing report on Lake Moogerah. The lake rose to around 13%, up from only 3%. Some great fishing was expected to follow but unfortunately, the day after Chris made his fishing prediction, there was a major fish kill. The cause of this disaster was not yet revealed when Chris compiled his report. It was a sad sight to see news footage of bass, golden perch, bony bream, eel-tailed catfish and eels floating lifeless around the lake’s shores. The fact that even the tough eels couldn’t handle the water conditions leaves little hope for the other species.
What takes years of effort to achieve through stocking groups can be so easily decimated. We really need to appreciate what we have and be grateful for the hard work put in by these dedicated people.
Lake Maroon has been one of the luckier lakes after rain at the beginning of the year. The water level shot up from 15% to over 46%. Provided the fish don’t suffer the same fate, as their mates at Moogerah the fishing should fire up. It’s likely they will pull through fine as Maroon had a smaller rise at the end of last year. This would have made the water level increases less of a shock to their environment.
The flooded grass and vegetation will hold stacks of small to medium sized bass. With the water being slightly discoloured, reaction baits will draw the strikes. Small spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits are ideal presentations. Buzz them through the shallow water in search of hunting bass and golden perch.
In the mornings and afternoons, surface lures are a good option. The bass will be used to feeding on all the terrestrial creatures washed into the dam. This, plus any bug hatches that occur in the meantime, will keep them active on the surface.
Now the dam is almost half full, there are no problems with boat launching. One thing to remember is that the lake will now be more popular with skiers. If you like the lake to yourself then try to do a midweek trip or hit the water extra early.
Somerset was lucky enough to rise a few metres at the start of the year. Brisbane’s demand for water will see this water disappear quite fast but in the meantime the fishing should improve.
Bass schools in the lower half of the dam should fire up. Casting Mask Jackalls, spinnerbaits and soft plastics will get them biting. Use your sounder to locate schools. If the bass are scattered then trolling may be a better option. Usually they would scatter and suspend in open water at this time of year but the rise in the water level may keep them schooled up.
At the start of the month, it would be worth a cast over the freshly flooded banks. Morning and afternoon sessions will be most productive. Bass and golden perch will use these flooded areas to gorge themselves until the drowned vegetation starts to die off.
Boats can be launched from concrete ramps at The Spit or Kirkleigh. It is likely the six knot speed limit will be lifted in the northern part of the dam once the debris clears and it becomes safe.
The fishing at Hinze has slowed down and the quality of the bass that were taken earlier last year has declined. There have been a few bigger ones caught but results are nothing like the action that unfolded last winter. After the rainfall in December and January the dam filled and rushed over the spillway. This rise might be just what is needed to make the fish fire up and move into the shallows.
Tossing lures like Jackall TN60’s, Jackall Masks and small profile jerkbaits and crankbaits to schooled fish has been quite rewarding. This season has so far fished differently to previous ones. The influx of water will flood grassy banks, providing fish with a new hunting ground and stirring them up. As the day progresses, expect the fish to respond better in deeper water until they venture into the shallows again in the afternoon. Bass have been responding well to surface lures, though there has only been a short bite window in the mornings and afternoons. This may be extended now the water level has risen. It’s important to be on the water early and ready just before the action starts.
Trolling lures around 75mm that dive to around 3m will also produce bass. There is also a chance of hooking a golden perch. If bass schools can be located, live shrimp will soon get them interested.
There have been acres of floating logs and debris after the heavy rains. This may take a while to settle around the banks and sink. Right after the flood some parts of the dam were impenetrable.
Launching areas are limited as much of the lake and roads around it have been closed to public access. The ramp that is in use is fine but there are limited parking spaces now that the water has risen.
A license is needed to fish this electric motor only dam. Licenses are available from the council office in Davenport Street, the Kiosk at the lake or the ranger. Note that all outboards must be removed from boats that are fishing this lake.
For all your tackle needs, call in and see the guys at Tackle World in Nind Street, Southport. The store carries one of the best ranges of bass, freshwater and saltwater gear around.
After a rise of about 3%, it is an excellent time to target the Borumba’s saratoga. One of the standout lures for targeting saratoga has been the Megabass Anthrax. These are a subsurface lure that run about one foot under the surface. Toga will also respond to small surface lures earlier in the morning. Fly fishermen can fish in a similar manner. Try on top of the water early and work deeper as the day progresses.
The bass population will have copped a hammering over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. The effects of this should start to ease and the fish will again become more predictable and easier to catch. Try the points and flats in the main basin and if these areas don’t seem to be holding fish, move to the timbered arms. Some spots that have been holding fish include Eagles Bay, Eagles Point and the second yellow buoy.
Bass will take soft plastics, spinnerbaits and TN Jackalls. The standout lure is likely to be the Mask Vibe 60 Jackall. These lures can be cast and retrieved, hopped or trolled making them quite versatile.
After the dam flooded last year, the fishing has been slow. Thousands of mature bass made their way over the spillway and into the Mary River. There have been some smaller bass caught on trolled lures. The Airport Corner and Botanical Garden Reach have been two areas holding these fish.
There have been plenty of reports of bass being caught in the Mary River. Anywhere with access is worth a try. Even the sections of river around Maryborough and Gympie have produced quality bass.
Toowoomba’s closest dam, Cooby, is a handy destination for anglers wanting to have a quick fishing session. The lake regularly produces golden perch and small Murray cod. There is also the chance of catching massive cod, silver perch and eel-tailed catfish. This fishing has been hit and miss. Some days anglers will catch a swag of goldens and a few small cod only to return the following day to the same area and struggle.
Shore based anglers can fish with baits all the way from the boat ramp through to the steep rock section closer to the dam wall. Baits like worms, shrimps or frozen prawns work well. Action depends on the mood of the fish. Sometimes there are plenty of goldens chewing on the shallower banks around the boat ramp. If the action is quiet here, head for the deeper water out from the steep rock wall. This deeper water can also be fished by casting lures like spinnerbaits and Jackalls.
Trolling is one of the most popular methods for those using boats. As electric motors only are allowed, anglers can troll when moving between spots. Suitable lures for trolling include spinnerbaits, Jackall TN’s, Jackall Masks and crankbaits. A lot of the water is featureless so to maximize chances of success work lures along drop offs or other fish holding structure. The shallow flats that are found throughout most of the dam can be unproductive. Golden perch are the most common fish caught although small cod can be quite active and outnumber the goldens at times.
Trolling the deep water of the creek channels can also produce. Watch the sounder to see how deep the fish are holding and try presenting lures to the right depth. With sinking lures like spinnerbaits and Jackalls this means you may need to slow the boat down to make the lures run deeper. Another alternative is to work the boat using short bursts of speed. The burst of speed will make the lure work hard and pull up through the water column. When the boat slows so does the lure’s action. If the boat slows enough, the lure will then fall back into deeper water. This technique works well on the lake’s golden perch when using TN60 Jackalls. You can even bring the boat to a complete halt and watch for slack line as the lure hits the bottom before moving off with the electric.
Lure casting is a method that isn’t used by many visitors to Cooby. There are a couple of options that will produce the goods. Casting lures like spinnerbaits, suspending jerkbaits and Jackalls to the lake’s edges will often tempt one of the lake’s beautifully coloured golden perch. There is also the chance of a Murray cod or silver perch. Option two is to locate and target the fish in the deeper water of the channel or around the drop offs to it. These fish can be caught by casting TN60 Jackalls or hopping Mask Vibes. When the action is slow, try small, slow hops and make sure the lure sinks deep enough until it is on the bottom or below the fish. Goldens will eat a Mask Jackall when it is barely moving. Hopping Masks has also claimed its fair share of small Murray cod. It won’t be long until a big one latches on.
Only electric motors can be used on Cooby although an outboard can be left on the boat. The boat launching is pretty good from a temporary gravel ramp. There is a boom gate at the entry to the dam that requires $2 in coins to open.
After a serious rise late last year, Coolmunda should have settled and the fishing returned to normal. At around 70% of its capacity Coolmunda will be popular with fishermen and skiers. All that is required is a good storm in the catchment to bring it to 100%. The increase in water does put more water between the fish. Still, switched on anglers should be able to take advantage of the fish that should be more willing to bite. A decent rise always seems to improve the fishing.
The action has been hot and cold. Visitors to the lake will catch plenty one day only to go empty handed the next. I guess this means if you have the time, plan to stay for a few days as the fish are bound to bite at some stage. Both bait and lures will catch golden perch this month. It pays to mix it up and try a bit of both. Baits like shrimp, frozen prawns and worms will fool the goldens. When luring, try a mix of shallow and deep running lures. Deep lures can be fished around the drop off to the old creek bed and the shallower ones are ideal for exploring the expansive flats. Golden perch will be the most common fish encountered while trolling but there is always the chance of a nice Murray cod.
The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only one or two kilometres away from the lake. The park is off the Cunningham Highway and far enough away from the noise of trucks to get a good night’s sleep. It offers camping sites, cabins, caravan facilities, tennis courts, a swimming pool, BBQ shelter and a camp kitchen. Why not take advantage of some great fishing opportunities in the lake and the river below and give them a call on (07) 4652 4171?
After storms and rain, Bjelke rose a couple of percent in the last few months. A few rises like this would be ideal before a decent inflow is received. Too much water running in at once can result in fish fatalities, especially when dam levels are low prior to the rise in water level. This small rise won’t change the fishing too much. It may actually make it improve.
There will be bass biting for those wanting to cast lures from the bank. Good lures are the TN60 Jackalls and River 2 Sea Phantom. These lures are known as lipless crankbaits. They sink fast and are ideal to work areas over quickly in search of fish. The idea is to have a few casts in one area working the lure at different depths before moving along the bank to try a new area.
Baits will also produce for those fishing from the lake’s edge. The Quarry area is a good spot to try your luck. The usual baits of shrimps, worms and frozen prawns are good. A days fishing in this area can produce a mixed bag of bass, golden perch and eel-tailed catfish.
With care, smaller boats can be launched. The bank is suitable in places for trailers to be backed down to the water. Once on the water in a boat, you can take advantage of being able to move around. Trolling lures is a relaxing way to get into the action. Bass and golden perch will eat spinnerbaits and Jackalls in both the TN and Mask variety. Bjelke’s fish often hold shallower than in other lakes. Quite a few areas are shallow and they have no choice anyway. When trolling the suggested lures, an electric motor is usually the best option to present them at a slower speed and make them run deeper. In Bjelke, try using the outboard motor as well. The faster speed will keep the lures higher in the water column, which is where the fish sometimes prefer them.
To check up on the fishing or boat launching, give Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy a phone call on (07) 4162 7555.
The better quality bass have been coming from the main basin area. There have been some good fish to over 50cm caught in the last couple of months. This is great news as the dam’s quality bass have been in hiding for far too long. If you do catch these better specimens, it’s a good idea to release them as there are stacks of smaller specimens for the taking.
There are several options for targeting the bass in the main basin area. A productive technique is to use a sounder to locate fish and then work these suspended fish with soft plastics. Casting or trolling 3” paddle tailed plastics rigged on 1/4 to 5/8oz jigheads should get results.
The steeper banks in the main basin area can yield bass and some goldens when hopping Mask Vibe Jackalls down them. Cast the Mask Vibe into the bank and hop it as it touches the bottom. Retrieve the slack line between hops and allow the lure to sink to the bottom again. This method will work the lure down the ledge keeping it close to the bottom at all times. This is sometimes the method to use when you want bigger fish.
The edges of the lake should also produce some fish. If there is some decent rain and the lake level remains stable, the fishing along the edges will be better. A rise of 3% at the start of the year will give the weed growth a good head start. Water stability allows the weed beds to grow and it is these that attract bait and fish to the area. The more weed, the more likely predatory fish will be in the area. On the edges try casting a mix of lures including soft plastics, spinnerbaits and Jackalls in both the rattling and silent variety.
Golden perch can also be targeted in the main basin. They will turn up as by-catch when fishing for bass but to increase your chances, spend time working the points and rocky banks. Troll lures like Smak 12s and 16s, spinnerbaits and Jackalls and there’s a fair chance that you’ll bag a few goldens.
The boat launching at Boondooma is fine below the far boat ramp. There should be plenty of productive options to consider. It’s just a matter of experimenting to see which one produces or suits you best.
Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy can look after all of your fishing needs. Call in and see the guys. The store is in Youngman Street and the guys can help you out and offer some useful advice. Bass to Barra Marine can also be found in Dalby. This shop stocks a great range of quality gear for bass and barra fishing. It’s located in Shop 2 Drayton Street so be sure to check it out.
For accommodation at the lake, give the managers Roy and Pamela a call on (07) 4168 9694. Boondooma has excellent amenities, bunk houses, cabins powered sites and camping facilities that will make your stay enjoyable.
Lake Lenthalls is again open to outboard motors, though restrictions are still in place. Only outboards of 60hp and under that meet the 3 Star emission rating from OEDA can be used, which is a very sensible reorganisation of the regulations for most anglers.
After a fish kill in winter last year, the barra have been quiet but the bass are certainly worth targeting. They will take surface lures in the mornings and afternoons. During the middle of the day, try casting spinnerbaits or Jackall TNs to any form of structure. Bass may also school in bays, off points or across flats. When this is the case, a soft plastic like the Powerbait T-tail should be considered.
Cania will fish well for those that are able to locate the schools of bass. Either knowledge of the dam or the ability to read a fish finder will pay off. Casting, trolling and bait fishing will all produce fish. Some of the locals have been calling in at the caravan park to buy their live worms. These have been catching bass as well as the odd golden perch and saratoga.
The dam is at around 4%. A gravel boat ramp was put in but lately it is better to launch from the hard bank nearby. 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.
The fishing at Monduran has been pretty tough. Casting lures in the timbered areas is the gun approach. There is the chance of the odd barra on a trolled lure in the main basin. You might find more success working patches with fewer trees and drop offs further up the lake in the timbered arms.
Although the fishing is tough, most anglers are still having some form of action in the form of boils, hookups, bust offs, thrown hooks and of course, if your really lucky, a landed barra. The shallower water right up in the timbered arms has been producing fish. The area around the tree marked with an H in the main river is a good starting point. Shallow water needn’t be found right on the edges of the river. It can be anywhere – even in the middle.
As the water heats up over 32 degrees Celsius, the fish may seek deeper water in the brighter and hotter parts of the day. Cast lures at the heavy structure in four to five metres of water.
Lures like the Big B52 and Halco Laser Pro 120 are ideal in the shallows and for deeper work. For deeper water swim The Judge. This lure is a favourite among Lake Monduran regulars. The most popular colour has a gold chrome body with a chrome orange back.
If you are struggling to find some action, try downsizing your offerings. Smaller lures around 80mm in length can make all the difference. Rapala Slash Baits and Tail Dancers fit this category well. Experiment with retrieves. One of the most productive can be a straight forward slow wind without pauses and twitches. The slow wind keeps the lure in front of fish for a long time and the bite sized treat is irresistible.
If you’re on your way to Monduran, be sure to call in at Foxies Barra Pro in Gin Gin. The store has all the gear you’ll need. The staff here will be able to give you a few tips and steer you in the right direction.
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 the house boats and boat hire. Bookings with Guide Lines which is a guiding service specializing in Lake Monduran can also be made through the store. The kiosk’s number is (07) 41573881.
The fishing at Awoonga has been a bit slower than in previous years. Still, the lake remains Queensland’s premier barra destination. The latter half of the warm months tend to see less boat traffic and anglers pursuing the magnificent barramundi on offer. With less fishing pressure, it may mean fishing action will pick up.
Trolling deep diving lures like the Scorpion Crazy Deeps along the drop offs to the old riverbed in the lake’s main basin is a method that will produce some fish. While doing this, run a shallower 3-5m diver as well in case the fish prefer them. If diving birds are spotted, troll through them. The birds will be working bait schools and sometimes the barra will have the same idea. Late in the afternoon a good area to try is in the deep water out from the old boat ramp where the houseboats are moored when not in use.
The lake’s many weed edges and submerged weed beds will produce barra for those casting lures. Try the popular Slick Rigs and Powerbait 5” mullets. These soft plastics are pre-rigged and ready to fish straight from the pack. You may hear of anglers adding stingers and modifying them to increase their catch rate, but they will catch fish just as they come. Heavy leaders are more important when using soft plastics than when working hardbodied lures. Barra often take plastics deep and they can wear through light leaders with their abrasive mouths. I use either Vanish or Stren fluorocarbon in at least 60lb breaking strain to prevent the line chafing through.
When navigating on the lake, take care. As you head toward Dingo Island, there is a lot of shallower water out in the middle. In most areas the weed is on the surface and it gives away the presence of this shallower water. If you are unfamiliar with the area slow down and give boats that appear to be fishing submerged weed in the middle of the lake plenty of room as you go flying past.
The fishing at Proserpine has been surprisingly quiet. Unlike other dams further south, the barra survived last year’s cold winter water temperatures well. Therefore you’d expect them to be active and willing to play. All the fish are still there, it’s just a matter of time until they fire up.
Trolling lures in the deeper water of the main basin has been the most consistent way to hook into the lake’s fish. Targeting the edges of drop offs and bait schools in the main basin area will increase your chances. Deep diving lures like the Poltergeist 5m or 8m Crazy Deep Scorpions are good performers when times are tough. The Deep Purple (R24) colour has been one of the best performers.
Casting lures has been slow. There have been smaller fish taking cast lures in the shallows but better quality fish have been holding deeper. Try crankbaits in the timbered areas or soft plastics to the open points.
Lindsay Dobe runs charters on Lake Proserpine. Lindsay also owns Proserpine Bait and Tackle, which stocks all the gear to successfully target the lake’s big barra. You can call in to the store on the highway in Proserpine when you are on your way to the dam or give them a call on (07) 4945 4641.
There have been few reports of fish taken on bait and trolled lures in the past month. Golden perch to immense proportions are making up the majority of these catches.
It is the anglers casting lures that seem to be enjoying most of the action. Purple spinnerbaits, Jackall Doozers and TN70s are drawing plenty of attention. Big golden perch and monster Murray cod have been regular captures. The fish don’t jump into the boat but if you persist, you should be rewarded. Some boys from Moree ventured to the lake a while ago and managed plenty of cod with a couple over the 20kg mark.
For information about fishing and camping at Copeton Dam, contact the Copeton Waters State Park Administration Centre on (02) 6723 6269.Reads: 3287