Summer days and red hot fishing
  |  First Published: February 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve put in a full day on the freshwater.

The smell of fish is on my hands and the taste of salt in my mouth after spending a fair bit of time in the ocean. With the barra season reopening at midday 1 February I think I’ll be bending a rod somewhere in the fresh stuff below Awoonga or Monduran in the very near future. Unfortunately, these dams have been a bit quiet over the last couple months but there should still be good numbers of fish below them.

Due to my lack of freshwater adventures, I put a post for some help with pictures on Facebook. I had an amazing reply and not only photos but heaps of reports from all over the place flooded in as well. Sorry if I didn’t get back to you all. You may notice that this is the longest freshwater report I have ever put together. This is due to all the great feedback I had from anglers spending time on the water and wanting to share some information. It was such a hit that I may do it again in the future. Thanks guys for all the help.

Freshwater fishing will have a few changes in place this month. DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) have implemented these from the 1 February so make sure you read up on them. Some of the changes affect set lines, red claw traps, bag limits and a closed season on Murray cod. Pleading ignorance isn’t going to get you off the hook if you are breaking the law. It doesn’t hurt to brush up on the rules once in a while and check the bag and size limits for the fish we love to catch.

Until next month, buckled rods from the Colonel!

South East Queensland
Closest Towns: Toowoomba, Crows Nest

The fishing at Cressbrook has been hit and miss. The fish are showing up around the buoy line, out from the boat ramps and around the toilet point up Beams Creek but are usually hard to entice. When found, try using tail spinners and soft plastics through the better concentrations.

Lure trollers will have success. Due to the fish being spread out, trolling is a great option as it covers plenty of water. Choose a lure to suit the depth the fish are holding or run a deep diver in close to the boat to make it run shallower if necessary. Lures like the Blitz Baga, Golden Child and locally made Little Rippa are ideal. Colour can make a huge difference so alternate if you are seeing fish but not catching.

Early in the morning, there have been some quality bass coming from the edges of the lake. Some of this action takes place within sight of the boat ramps and camping area. Casting spinnerbaits in tight to the weedy edge and slowly working them back to the boat is the key to getting bites. The water here is quite shallow so the action is usually short-lived as the fish retreat to deeper, more comfortable areas as the day warms up and the sun gets brighter.

There is no longer an entry fee at the boom gate but the 8 knot speed limit is still in place. Hours for boating and day use of the recreation area are 6am to 8pm. For all your supplies, expert advice and to check on the boating restrictions, call in at Fish’n’Bits in Alderley Street, Toowoomba, or give them a ring on (07) 4636 6850. The boys at the store are experts on the freshwater scene and really know their stuff.

Closest Towns: Esk, Kilcoy

The summer months can be tough for lure casters at Somerset. The bass have spread out and the schooling fish are harder to find. When found they can be hard to tempt and will bite in small windows where you’ll produce a fish a cast before they shut down and become tight lipped again. Schooling bass have been turning up in some of the usual spots like the river drop-offs and flats around Pelican Point, Bay 13 and One Tree Point. These fish have been the tougher ones to tempt. The better action has been coming from schools found further north. The Kirkleigh flats hold fish at times and they are much more willing to bite.

Casting tail spinners, blades and masks will produce bass when they are active but when they aren’t playing the game, switch to soft plastics. Use the longest cast possible and a slow retrieve through the best shows you can find. Another option is to long line the fish. Drop the plastic at one end of the fish and drive the boat away while the reel is free spooling line. When you reach the other end of the fish engage the reel and retrieve the line. If you’re using this approach leave yourself enough line on the reel to fight a fish and check your drag as the smaller spool diameter of a near empty reel will increase drag tension considerably.

Trolling soft plastics is another option. Drive the boat along at 1.8-2.6km/h using the electric motor. Cast the plastic out around 50m behind the boat and drag it along. You can run several rods like this with 1/2oz rigged plastics and vary the amount of line trailing to alter the depth of the lures. It pays to hold one rod and drop back and wind up through fish you see on the sounder. By retrieving and dropping back line you can work the water column and ensure the lure is at the right depth as it passes over them.

Lure trollers will be able to score plenty of bass and golden perch. The better action will take place from Pelican Point right up into the timber north of Kirkleigh. Try trolling the creek bed drop-offs and across the flats in the main basin of the lake. Deep diving lures like the Blitz Baga, Golden Child and Crazy Deep Poltergeist will get the job done in these deeper areas. If your lure is cruising close to the bottom, you are in with a good chance of a golden perch. Bass are quite common on trolled lures in the basin of the lake as well.

In the timber, choose a shallower running lure. The Smak 16, 3m Poltergeist and Oar-Gee Pee-Wee are some worth considering. Trolling between the trees and over the flats in the timber will tempt some quality golden perch and the occasional bass.

Closest Towns: Esk, Fervale

The golden perch have fired up for the warm months. The bass have been scarce but there are a few about and fork-tailed catfish numbers have really increased. Trolling the rocky shoreline and steep banks seems to be the best way to locate the golden perch. These fish have been nailing shallower presentations. Hardbodies which dive 2-3m are ideal.

Once fish are located on the troll, it can pay to pull up and cast to the same area. Wes Watson has been having some cracker sessions using this approach and believes casting is the best way to put numbers of fish in the boat (or kayak). The average sized golden perch has been around 40-50cm with some bigger models measuring 55-58cm.

There are some good rocky, steep banks within a short paddle or boat ride from Logans Inlet. There are also some great ones all the way across the dam on the opposite side. If you are making this trip in a small boat or kayak, keep an eye on the wind and weather as this is a huge section of water and it can get rough.

Closest Towns: Boonah, Rathdowney

The edge bite should really be going off over the next month. The warm water will see the bass climbing over reaction lures. Spinnerbaits are one of the best lures to try but others like blades and lipless crankbaits can be equally effective. When fishing lipless baits, experiment with rattling and silent versions as this can really make a huge difference. If the water is clear, I will often keep rattling baits in the box and tie on a silent model.

The weedy edges will be the place to explore. Look for healthy weed beds and try to fish lures down the face of them or inside any deeper pockets. It doesn’t matter if you hook a bit of weed now and then. This is all part of placing your lure right in the zone where it can be ambushed by a waiting bass.

The deeper edges where the weed drops away into around 5m of water will be ideal over the next couple of hot months. The bass will love this cooler water once the day warms up. The action right up in the shallows will be over quickly so try to follow the movements of the fish.

Darling Downs Granite Belt Region
Closet Towns: Highfields, Toowoomba

There have been plenty of golden perch caught at Lake Cooby over the last month. The golden perch action will continue this month and fishermen can expect to score fish on trolled and cast lures as well as baits. The fish seem to be coming from all over the dam. Deeper areas are usually better as bigger schools of fish can be found outside the weed edge in over 5m of water.

Trolling hardbodied lures like the Kezza Mud Mouse, 3m Poltergeist, 65mm Predatek Boomerang and small StumpJumpers will put you in with a good chance. Darker colours are my personal choice and I nearly always have one black lure in tow. Trolling is often best earlier in the morning and late in the afternoon when the fish are moving around higher in the water column. Keep a close eye on your lures’ vibrations as floating weed can foul them up and kill the action.

Casting and jigging to goldens found on the sounder can be a harder option to master but the results are well worthwhile. Locate fish and position the boat on top of them for jigging or a cast length away for a casting approach. The first two lures I try are a TN60 Jackall and a 40mm Berkley Powerblade. These lures are suitable for casting and jigging and it doesn’t take long to alternate between the two to see if the fish prefer one style over the other. The Powerblade in midnight colour is deadly when used with small hops across the lake floor. The TN60 Jackall can be hopped or wound dead slow for several turns before letting it swing back to the bottom during a pause.

Bait fishers will have good results when using frozen saltwater yabbies and live shrimp. Try fishing an area for 10 minutes and if there is no action move on. When you drop bait straight over the side into fish, it doesn’t take too long to get a reaction. The bait rig is simple. A small running ball sinker should be fished on top of a size 1 wide gap pattern hook such as an Owner K-Hook. Alternatively you can fish the sinker on the bottom of the rig with the hook positioned 20-50cm above on a dropper loop. This keeps the bait out of the muddy bottom and is ideal if you don’t plan on holding the rod. Both rigs should be fished vertically from the boat to ensure you don’t miss any bites and have a better chance of hooking the fish.

Shore-based anglers will be able to get into some of the action from the steeper rocky banks along the walking trail which heads towards the dam wall. Lure casting can produce but baits are most effective in this area.

Over the past months, there were several quality Murray cod caught and released. These fish usually take lures meant for golden perch. One of these big fish actually ate a golden perch, which had taken the angler’s lure. You never know when you are going to hook one of these fish. They can be landed on light lines but upping the leader size to around 14lb will ensure you have a better chance of landing them.

Cooby is an electric motor only dam and 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 but a big electric powered boat can still be launched with care. Outboard motors can be left on the boat but must not be used. Live shrimp and saltwater yabbies can be purchased from Highfields Bait and Tackle on the New England Highway in Highfields.

Call in and see Doug and check out the great range of fishing gear, kayaks and accessories he has on display.

Closest Town: Warwick

The golden perch and Murray cod continue to impress at Leslie Dam. Bait fishers and lure trollers and casters are all getting into the action with fish coming from all over the dam.

The back end of the dam is popular with anglers as it is a quieter area away from the water skiers. Trolling lipless crankbaits is a good way to pick up some golden perch in this area. If you come back into the basin of the lake try to fish the edges of the creek beds and any submerged rocky structure. In these areas hopping vibes or slowly winding them can see great results. Small blades are perfect for golden perch but if you up the size of the lure to around 60mm you stand a better chance of hooking a cod. Lipless crankbaits and soft vibes are perfect all-rounders.

If you are into trolling, try working the edges of the creek bed with medium diving lures. The golden perch will favour a particular depth at times and often suspend in Leslie. Run a few lures at different depths until you find where the best action is. One thing I have noted with the goldens over the last few months is how fussy they can be. Even a colour change can turn them on and the same lure can take 5 bites in a row while the others are neglected.

Bait fishers should target fish in the same areas as the trollers. Try to find a ledge and position the boat near it. The ideal depth to drop bait is 5-8m so keep this in mind and move around if you aren’t having any fun. When the fish are moving around a lot in the summer months, trolling is often a better option than using bait.

For any tips and gear for fishing Leslie Dam or the Warwick area, call in and see the guys at Warwick Outdoor and Sports in Palmerin Street Warwick. The store stocks a great range of bait and freshwater gear, which is well suited to catching our Australian natives.

Closest Town: Inglewood

The fishing at Coolumnda has slowed down. Lure anglers will find it very tough until the lake clears up more. Storm rain at the end of last year dirtied the water and made the dam rise slightly.

Bait fishers will still be able to catch some quality golden perch. Try fishing the drop-off to the old creek and river beds. If you head straight out from the boat ramp, you will find the river course less than 100m from the bank. From here follow the drop-off using your sounder until you find a spot holding some life. Live shrimp will be prime bait in the dirty water. Their flicking action in the murky waters will attract the predators from a greater distance. If you aren’t able to score some live shrimp, try frozen saltwater yabbies.

The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only around 1km away from the lake. The park is just off the Cunningham Highway but 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. The park now has an extra two new wheelchair friendly cabins to add to their older ones. Camping is also available near the boat ramp with toilets and hot showers to make your stay more comfortable.

To take advantage of this and the great fishing opportunities in the lake and the river below, give the park a call on (07) 4652 4171.

Sunshine Coast Area
Closest Towns: Cooroy, Noosa

Matt Williams has been managing to sneak away from work occasionally and torment the MacDonald bass. He has had short sessions but managed between 10 and 15 fish on most trips. The average bass has been around 34cm but there are some bigger models in the low 40s as well. There should be plenty of action in the main basin and down towards the Three Ways area next month. The bass can be found across the flats holding in 3-5m of water and seem to like 40mm blades hopped across the bottom. You could also tempt a few on soft plastics but the bite to hook-up ratio on the blades is much better. Matt’s favourite blade is the Damiki Vault 42.

Baroon Pocket and Ewen Maddock
Closest Towns: Montville, Landsborough

With the popularity of kayak fishing, more and more anglers are fishing these two great lakes. Thanks to the efforts of the fish stocking group, the numbers of fish are rapidly growing. Local anglers have been enjoying the place to themselves but more and more anglers are starting to travel and enjoy the fishing opportunities.

Bass are the main species encountered for the lure fishing kayak angler. Both lakes are suited to casting and trolling and fish come on a variety of lures from surface lures early in the day to deeper presentations like blades and deep divers during the middle of the day. Ewen Maddock has also produced quite a few saratoga around the lakes edges in the past. These fish will take topwater lures or spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits intended for bass.

Sunshine Coast Rivers

The rivers around the Sunshine Coast are home to plenty of Australian bass. These fish can be tricky to find and I’m not one to give away the spots of others. Put in the hard work and you’ll find these great fish. Local youngsters like Ben Golden have been having a ball with these fiery little fish. The bass will be found in brackish or totally fresh sections of rivers and creeks and love to hide in the shade of overhanging trees.

Bass in the wild are an opportunistic feeder. They will pounce on most bite sized offerings that fall into the water in their territory. Surface luring is an exciting way to fish for them. They will also eat lightly rigged plastics, small hardbodies and beetle spins.

These wild fish deserve a lot of respect as these systems are not stocked like the lakes. Care should be taken to look after them and return them safely to the water. If you are keen to put on your boots and explore, check out the rivers and creeks between Noosa and Mooloolaba. Good luck, don’t trespass and watch out for snakes.

Wide Bay and Burnett Region
Closest Towns: Proston, Kingaroy

Fishing at Boondooma should be great this month with heaps of golden perch and bass biting trolled and cast lures. The fish are still spread out through the whole dam so you’ll need to cover some water to find better numbers.

Trolling a deeper lure like a Blitz Baga, Golden Child or Crazy Deep Poltergeist will reach the suspended fish. Lures should get down to at least 6m to ensure they are wobbling past the area the fish tend to suspend out in the middle of the lake. This open water trolling can feel strange but a quality sounder will reveal the presence of the fish. If good numbers are found, casting is another option.

Soft plastics rigged on 1/2oz or 5/8oz jigheads are perfect for long casts over the suspended bass in the middle of the lake. Be sure to use suitable jigheads with fine gauge hooks to ensure a better hook-up ratio. Some are specifically made for using in the dams such as the Nitro Dam Deep range. These jigheads have had a few refinements made over the last year and are now better than ever for pinning our smaller freshwater natives. Long casts should be made over the fish before counting the lure down into them and then using a fast wind to bring it back to the boat. Stronger actioned soft plastics with bigger paddle tails like cut down 9cm Powerbait Ripple Minnows seem to be getting better results than the more subtle actioned varieties like Slider Grubs. Most shad styles will suit the bass, which seem to be favouring reaction style presentations.

Blade baits and tailspinners can also be cranked through the suspended fish with good results. The key is getting the lure to the right depth and keeping it there for as long as possible. If you are a new player to casting to suspended fish, I highly recommend locating the fish first then driving away to an even and flat piece of lake bed the same depth the fish were holding. Use this area to count your lure’s initial sink rate and how long it takes after a set number of winds to reach the bottom again. If you are a few seconds out in the fishy spot, you could be spending too much time metres away from where the fish actually are. It makes a huge difference to be right on the money with pinpoint depth control after a bit of count down practice.

In the Stuart timber, there have been some schools of quality bass. These fish usually hold off the edges and can be caught in the deeper water by slow rolling 5/8oz spinnerbaits. Last month these fish were quite responsive but they may move on.

Boondooma is a great place to camp right near the water and sit by the fire while enjoying the view. You could also stay in more style and comfort by booking into one of the cabins overlooking the dam. The kiosk at the main office does hot food and other basic items. For campsites, cabins and bunkhouse rooms call Corey and Niki on (07) 4168 9694.

Closest Towns: Murgon, Goomeri

The action went ballistic last month at Bjelke. Cricket score catches of golden perch were not uncommon. Bjelke is the home to some of Queensland’s biggest golden perch with fish of 4-5kg not uncommon. The average sized golden perch is a lot smaller at 1-2kg but the numbers certainly make this lake a great option this month. Smaller bass are also whacking cast and trolled lures. These fish are around the legal size of 30cm with a few bigger models mixed in.

Trolling has been the top technique with medium running lures producing best results. If you are heading to the lake make sure you have a selection of Smak 12s and Smak 16s in your tackle box. Darker colours work well with purples, black/gold, dark green and black/white regular fish producers.

The best areas for trolling have been about half way up the dam. Bass Point and also the second open basin of the lake have held great numbers of fish. The creek bed drop-offs out in the middle of the lake will concentrate the fish and following these or criss-crossing them will ensure your lure is dancing in the right spot.

Lure caster will be able to catch a mixed bag of golden perch and bass. Target the drop-off areas, which have good signs of fish on the sounder. Medium sized blade baits like 1/4oz and 3/8oz are ideal for fishing these areas. Bass are suckers for a winding retrieve while goldens will love the lure hopped across the bottom. If there are fish right below the boat, try a bit of vertical jigging.

For help catching Bjelke and Boondooma fish, call into your local Bass 2 Barra store. You can see Matthew at Kingaroy or Dylan in Dalby and the boys will have you all geared up and ready for action in no time. Bass 2 Barra stores stock an awesome range of gear suited to chasing our freshwater fish and the boys have all the knowledge to guide you on how to use it.

The Yallakool kiosk is all set up with a great range of tackle if you don’t happen to have the right lure or lose one. Be sure to call in and check it out.

Closest Towns: Maryborough, Hervey Bay

It’s been some time since we have had a report from Lenthalls. This great little lake has made a comeback over the last few years and is now producing quality bass and barramundi. The lake has some strict restrictions in place but provided you meet these you will enjoy the day exploring its waters.

The tea tree coloured water of this lake can take some time to clear and due to a lack of run off, the water remains coloured but there is heaps of visibility for luring. The golden, green coloured fish that live in this waterway should provide plenty of thrills if you take a selection of the right lures. Dane from Fisherman’s Corner in Hervey Bay recommends starting the day off with some surface poppers. Walk the dog and blooping styles are both popular around the edges of the lake. The weed beds haven’t developed all the way to the surface and lily pads haven’t yet taken over. When this does happen, it will be time to bring out the surface frogs.

Crankbaits, 100mm jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits are ideal for fishing the lake’s edges and structure once the sun gets higher in the sky. Work along the banks and look for productive areas by covering heaps of water. The middle and left arms of the lake seem to be fishing better than the right arm.

Lure trollers have been scoring some of the better quality bass by dragging hardbodies in 5-7m of water up the middle of the arms. The better bass are well over 40cm in length while the barra range from 50-80cm in length.

There are entry gates in place at Lenthalls. These open and close to allow access with fishing times being from 6am to 8pm. Only 4-stroke outboards or low emission 2-strokes up to 50hp are allowed on the lake. The speed limit is 6 knots.

For more information on fishing the lake, call in and see Dane or one of the other guys at Fisherman’s Corner in Hervey Bay. The store is at 59 Torquay Road.

Isis Balancing Storage
Closest Twon: Bundaberg

The bass fishing at the Isis has been tougher over the past month. This has been due to the weed dying off and changing the water quality. Dead weed isn’t pleasant for fish to be around so if you are hitting the lake stay away from it and search for fish out in the middle in deeper water.

Schooling fish are often found out in the middle of the dam where the three arms meet. Sound around until you find the arches and then start chucking lures at them. Hopping 1/4oz blades, lipless crankbaits and tail spinners through these fish should get a response. With the dead weed pushing more fish out into the middle, there will be more quality bass mixed in with the smaller tackers. These fish can be over 50cm to the fork of the tail.

The weed may start to make a comeback. If fishing the edges of it, keep an eye out for lush green weed growing or coming in fouled on your hooks. This healthy weed will definitely concentrate fish numbers as it establishes itself once more. Reaction lures will cover plenty of water and excite the fish over the hot months. Spinnerbaits, blades and lipless crankbaits should produce if you find a fish holding section around the weed.

The boys at Saltys Tackleworld in Bundaberg are bass experts. They love to fish the dam on their days off so will be able to steer you in the right direction. Saltys has an excellent layout and an awesome range of tackle suited to freshwater fishing as well as catering for the endless fishing opportunities in the surrounding area.

Closest Town: Gin Gin

The fishing at the lake has been very tough with only a handful of fish caught over the past month. This has to change at some time so hopefully they begin to fire up this month. Finding fish hasn’t been a problem if you are running a side imaging sounder. The fish are moving through but just refusing to bite.

Whenever we read or see something about barra fishing there is a lot of emphasis on winding our lures slow and keeping them in front of the fish. During these hotter months, it can actually pay to speed things right up and look for the active fish. Use a fast retrieve to burn the lure back and you will cover 4 times the water as when fishing slowly. Suitable lures for this approach are soft plastics and lipless crankbaits as they handle the speed well.

The barra season will be opened as of midday on the 1 February. This changes bag limits in the dam but also allows anglers to target the population of barra, which live in the Kolan River below. There are several access points suited to car toppers and kayaks along the freshwater reaches of the Kolan. Check out Smiths Crossing and Bucca Crossing on Google Maps and you’ll be able to access kilometres of water suitable for catching barra. Bigger trailer boats can be launched from the ramp above Bucca Weir at the rowing club. This section of water is deep and wide for a couple of kilometres before it heads around the corner and begins to narrow. The Kolan has a lot of weed growth in some areas. I’d recommend bashing the snags with hardbodies if they aren’t weeded up or getting right up into the weed and tossing surface frogs or weedless rigged plastics.

The tackle store in Gin Gin, Foxies, stocks a range of effective 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 or pick up one of the detailed maps.

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 through the kiosk, on (07) 4157 3881. I usually stay at the Gin Gin Hotel, which is about 20 minutes from the boat ramp. The rooms are very affordable and pretty basic but you can get a great feed and cold beer. To make a booking call (07) 4157 2106.

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

Closest Towns: Monto Biloela

Cania Dam has been fishing well for bass with the occasional golden perch and saratoga mixed in. Reaction lures seem to be performing well. Schooled fish can be trolled up on diving lures throughout the lake. On the steeper banks and up in the trees at the back of the dam, casting is a good option. Spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits worked down the slope of the banks and near the bottom around the trees in 5m of water should produce some quality bass and goldens.

The saratoga tend to come from the edges of the lake where they are quick to pounce on a lure. Plenty of toga bites will happen not long after the lure hits the water. If fishing the edges, it pays to roll the lure out a couple of metres after it lands rather than letting it sink to the bottom. Saratoga are a pretty fish and it takes ages for lakes to develop breeding populations. Considering they are poor eating and such great fish to catch, handle them with care and let them swim away safely.

Closest Town: Biloela

The barramundi have started to fire up again in Callide Dam. This once great fishery has struggled to make a comeback after a couple of floods causing the fish to escape. The stocking group is working hard to get fish back into the dam and their hard work is now starting to pay off.

Callide is one of the few lakes you can catch barra from the bank. That’s right! You don’t even need a boat to get into the barra action. With roads leading around much of the dam, there are plenty of access points to walk down to the water and try your luck. Shallow diving lures are best suited to this approach and usually you would venture in to a windblown bank, which tends to concentrate the fish.

Lures like Bombers, X-Raps and big spinnerbaits have been working well for local angler Nigel Krueger. One of his favourites is the Outlaw Spinnerbait laced with some Dizzy aniseed catch scent. Nigel sent a pile of pictures through to me and his Navara ute is in the background of nearly all of them. It just goes to prove you don’t need a boat to catch one of Australia’s most iconic sportfish.

Mackay region
Closest Towns: Marion, Mackay

The weedy waters of Kinchant should fish well this month for barra. The dam has risen in the past months allowing some of the existing weed beds to send long shoots all the way to the surface. These areas are very difficult to fish due to the long stringy weed lying across the top of the water. The outside edges of the weed beds or inside them on the new, fresh weed growth will be the place to look for a barramundi.

Outside the weed trolling will be a good option. Hardbody lures can be effective especially at night. Kayak anglers are able to use the stealth of their craft to their advantage and catch some massive fish trolling soft plastics. Plastics can be rigged with the hook exposed on a standard jighead for outside the weed or with a weedless hook system like a TT Snakehead for brushing occasionally through it.

Inside the weed on the fresh growth in the shallows, try using surface lures and frogs over the top of the weed. If surface action is slow, opt for a weedless rigged soft plastic and fish it across the top of the weed. The 6” Z-Man SwimmerZ have proved a winner for some anglers. Similar 5” and 6” soft plastic paddle-tailed shads will get the job done.

Whitsunday Region
Closest Towns: Proserpine, Airlie Beach

The trolling action has taken off in the basin of the lake near the buoy line at the dam wall. It looks like Christmas lights of a night with all the green and red lights zig-zagging the area with lures in tow. The reason for this activity is plenty of bigger barramundi have schooled in the area and it isn’t uncommon to land a few of these fish in an afternoon session.

Lures like the Poltergeist 80, Killalure Dr Evil and 5 and 8m Scorpions are doing the damage. If you are running a few lures, mix it up to see if the fish prefer a certain depth or colour. Just make sure you have an R11 (chrome gold orange back) in the 8m (Crazy Deep) 125 Scorpion attached to the end of your line and try all the others on your mate’s rod.

Fishing the back of the dam has been tough. Some great weed beds are starting to develop and this is where I’d be looking early and late in the day. Head to the deeper timber if there isn’t any action and the day is warming up. Surface frogs, topwater lures and soft plastics are ideal around the thicker weed beds while deep diving hardbodies are perfect for the snags.

There is a great weed bed on the southern side of the lake which forms a nice point about 2/3 of the way to the timber. The barra were tailing in this weed last month so they are definitely in the area. Try surface lures on the edges or over the weed before the sun gets up then work the edges and pockets in the weed with soft plastics during the day. Surface frogging on top of this weed would certainly be an option on the calmer days too.

If you are heading out to the dam make sure you call in at Proserpine Bait and Tackle. The store is on the highway through Proserpine and stocks all the barra gear you could possibly need. The guys will be able to send you in the right direction and help with nailing the lake’s big fish. The store owner Lindsay Dobe runs charters on the lake and bookings can be made through the store on (07) 4945 4641.

Central Queensland
Dawson River
Closest Town: Theodore

Drew Hedington has been hitting the Dawson River and having plenty of success on the golden perch and saratoga. While others would look at the water and think it is too dirty, he has persisted with using lures and managed to produce the goods. The high water has resembled a cup of coffee in colour and thickness, reports Drew. Best lures have been black Z-Man Frogz and Stingerbaits Buzzbaits in dark colours for the saratoga, which love to eat surface offerings.

Golden perch can be caught on small blades jigged in any eddies or around the larger structure. Another cool way to catch them has been to cast out and drag back Stingerbaits Jigs.

It’s awesome to hear people trying different things managing to crack a pattern. The more remote waters like these are often forgotten about by most anglers. It proves you need to stay open-minded about all your fishing exploits. The little finned suckers are all over the place and all you have to do is put in the time to find and catch them.


Lake Borumba temporarily closed to all water-based activities

As a precautionary measure and in the interest of public safety, Lake Borumba will be temporarily closed to all water-based recreation activities from 6pm Thursday 15 January 2015, due to the presence of blue-green algae. All water-based recreation activities include swimming and waterskiing as well as boating, kayaking, canoeing and sailing.

Seqwater will continue to perform water quality testing at Lake Borumba, and will communicate with stakeholders when they have further results. It is unsure of the duration of this temporary closure. The lake will be re-opened to water-based recreation activities when test results indicate that it is safe to do so. For further information please see the Seqwater blue-green algae fact sheet. – Seqwater

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