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May be a good month
  |  First Published: May 2007



It’s that time of the year when fish start to move from one area to another with the change in weather and water temperatures. The days are shorter which gives some of the daytime feeders less chance to fill their bellies. This means that they have to make the most of the time they have and some hot bites will be experienced throughout the day.

It should be a good time for bass fishers. The scattered fish should return to schools making them easier to find and hopefully catch. Barra anglers can still expect to catch fish using a range of techniques – that is, until the cold really sets in and makes them tough for the average punter to catch.

Chris Galligan has prepared reports for both Moogerah and Maroon. Chris has proved his skills as a BASS tournament competitor by taking home a third place paycheck in the first BASS Pro of the year. This was Chris’ first BASS Pro though he has achieved well in a number of BASS Electric rounds. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of ‘The Cowboy’ in the upcoming BASS events, so be sure to study his detailed reports.

All in all, it should be a pretty good month to hit the water. The nights may be cool but the days will be pleasant so enjoy it while you can.

If you have any information about lakes that aren’t covered in the QFM or even those that are, then please send me an email - --e-mail address hidden-- .

Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.

South East Queensland
Cressbrook
Closest Town/s: Crows Nest, Toowoomba

With the continual fall of the lake’s level, the fishing has been rather tough. The combined level of Toowoomba’s lakes is now less than 15%. Boats can still be launched from the gravel ramp which has been well maintained, though care should be taken when navigating the dam. The speed is restricted to 8 knots so you shouldn’t get into too much trouble. Take extra care until you reach the safe depth of the creek channel. I’ve noticed there are quite a few rises on what seem to be featureless shallow flats.

Fishers have a few options and it pays to experiment and see where the fish are biting. There should be good numbers of bass holding in the deeper parts of the lake where fish are usually scattered, so a good sounder will reveal the best congregations. Once you’ve spotted a decent showing, try casting soft plastics like Slider Grubs or 3” Gulp Minnow Grubs rigged on 1/2oz Nitro Dam Deep jigheads. Another alternative is to slowly retrieve or hop Jackall Mask Vib 60s. These lures may not get as many hits as soft plastics but they do produce more hook-ups with their two sets of sharp trebles.

The fish that hold in the deep water can also be trolled up with a range of lures. Deep diving minnows are an option. Lures like 1/4oz Hot Lips, SMAK 18’s and Blitz Bagas are ideal. The alternative, which will usually produce more fish, is to troll using an electric motor. When trolling with the electric, you can present a range of casting lures. Jackall TN60’s have been one of the best performers. If the action is slow, try stopping the boat every minute or two to let the lure fall into deeper water before starting off again.

Fishing around the edges is always worth a try. The action can be a bit hit and miss and sometimes small bass will keep you busy while searching for larger specimens. When casting, try the middle reaches of both arms of the lake. The shallower (more gently tapering) banks usually produce the best results. Small spinnerbaits, beetle spins and Jackalls would be my first pick. Surface lures, suspending lures like Jackall Squirrels or C’ultiva Rippin’ Minnows and 3” soft plastics rigged on 1/4oz heads are also worth a try. If you can locate any clumps of weed that are in slightly deeper water they should hold some fish.

Baitfishing with live shrimp is another option. If this is your style of fishing, get into it now before the cold really sets in and the fish are harder to tempt. Try fishing shrimp to the suspended bass in the deeper water or look for schools of fish in 6-9m of water. Bass will be the most common capture and there will be the odd golden perch poking around.

Be sure to watch the size and bag limits at Cressbrook. Both bass and golden perch have a minimum size length of 30cm. The bag limit for bass is two fish per person and for golden perch it’s 10 per person. When visiting the lake, don’t forget your $2 to enter through the gate.

Somerset
Closest Town/s: Esk, Kilcoy

In early April Somerset’s fish were holding in quite shallow water. There have been a lot of bass scattered throughout the dam around 5m deep. Spots like The Spit, the deep water out from Beams Creek, Pelican Point and wide of Queen Street have all been holding their share of fish.

This month we should see these bass moving to deeper water and start schooling up, so hopefully, they will be easier to find and catch. The majority of fish are likely to hold in the area around The Spit. Another prime location should be areas around the first major bend in the dam, just wide of the mouth of Beams Creek.

The two hottest fish catching techniques are likely to be casting soft plastics and hopping Mask Vib 60 Jackalls. When using either of these methods, locating bass schools or concentrations first is essential. A quality sounder is also essential. I’ve found that the Humminbird sounders with quad-beams and side scan are awesome. They offer you the ability to locate fish and keep track of their movement. When mounted on the bottom of the electric motor the transducer can swivel with the bottom of the motor. By doing this, the side scan or wide angle beams scan outside the range of a normal sounder. When the fish leave the main cone angle, they can be detected in the wider angle beams. I’m sorry if I’ve confused some anglers but I’m sure that guys who have a reasonable understanding of how fish finders work will appreciate this information.

When casting plastics try 3” paddle-tailed grubs or whack on a 3” Gulp Minnow Grub. The pumpkinseed and watermelon colours in the Minnow Grub really do the trick. Plastics should be rigged on at least a 1/2oz jighead. When the bass are holding deep or close to the bottom, there’s no better jighead than the Nitro Dam Deep models. These heads are designed to run deep with a specially shaped face that planes the lure down and creates more action. The Nitro Dam Deep models are also one of the only heads that come in sizes heavier than 1/2oz. The 5/8oz and 3/4oz models still suit the profile of the small plastics being used which is a feature hard to find in any other brand.

When bass are located, hopping a Mask Vib Jackall through them can be successful. Try the more natural colours like ayu or clear with gold fleck. My favourite colour is ayu dipped into an empty packet of Berkley PowerBait Bass Minnows. The glitter inside the pack can be rubbed onto the Jackall and it sticks quite well. It brings even more life to an already realistic looking lure.

Trolling the same plastics used to cast will almost always produce fish. Use your electric motor and travel at a speed that has your lure running at the depth of the fish. Plastics will draw plenty of strikes but when the fish are lazy very few hook-ups will result. The Mask Vib Jackalls are usually a better choice in this situation. Their treble hooks are very sticky and produce more hook-ups.

Wivenhoe
Closest Towns: Fernvale, Ipswich

I haven’t heard many positive fishing reports from Wivenhoe. With the weather starting to cool off I’m sure the lake will attract more anglers. It would be great if someone would like to send a report to me. You can use my email --e-mail address hidden-- .

Boat launching has been difficult at the lake. The water at Logans Inlet is low and many boats that launch there choose to travel to the flats areas out from Billies Bay and Platypus Cliffs. This journey will take even longer than last year with more shallow water along the run forcing boats to stay out wider and closer to the channel. It’s a long way to the best water when using your electric motor but unfortunately, outboards aren’t allowed.

For members of the Sailing Club, having access to their launching site near Billies Bay, isn’t much better. I’ve heard that due to the low water, launching big boats is quite difficult. Once in the water, you have to travel over some shallow ground with underwater hazards like old star picket fence posts to reach the deeper water.

I’m sure the great fishing that is bound to start some time soon will attract plenty of anglers to the lake, so keep a look out in the next month or two for some fishing tips.

Moogerah
Closest Town/s: Boonah

Boonah Council has extended the main boat ramp with compacted gravel making launching boats of all sizes with 2WD vehicles safe. The lake’s water level is low but has remained stable which is good news on the fishing front. Last month fish were scattered across the flats. These scattered fish produced mixed results for anglers.

Chris Galligan has made the following predictions about the coming month. As the weather cools, more fish should hold around the edges and shallow structure like rocky outcrops. These areas can be quickly worked over with 10 gram lipless crankbaits (natural baitfish colours produce more consistently).

If fish don’t respond to these reaction lures try using 3” soft plastics on 1/8oz to 1/4oz jigheads. Soft plastic baits can be presented to fish holding on structure by casting onto the shallowest section and either slow rolling the bait close to the bottom, or hopping the lure back to the boat, allowing the lure to touch the bottom after each upward rod movement.

Lure trollers can also expect to do well this month. A simple yet effective trolling pattern is to use a 3” Slider or Atomic paddle-tail, rigged on a 3/8oz to 1/2oz jighead. Trolling over the flats and towards the wall area of the lake should pick up a mixed bag of bass and golden perch. Try to keep the boat speed slow so the lure’s tail is just swimming. Judge the speed and try to keep the lure just off of the bottom.

Moogerah has easy access to clean banks. This makes baitfishing a great option for families and anglers without boats. The best area to fish when land-based is around Haig Park near the wall end of the lake. African Night Crawlers (live worms) or live shrimp can be used to catch a variety of fish including bass, golden and silver perch.

Maroon
Closest Town/s: Boonah, Rathdowney

Lake Maroon’s fishing will suit cooler water techniques this month. Chris Galligan thinks reaction baits will be less consistent and the action when fishing with them patchy. This is the time of year when finesse techniques start to come to the fore.

Early mornings and late afternoons should produce some decent surface luring. Cupped-face poppers and stick baits fished around weed edges and pockets tend to work best. If the fish aren’t responsive or seem to be holding deeper try jerk baiting.

During the day, if fish aren’t playing the game, or are sparse on the sounder, soft plastic presentations can be used with better results. Different soft plastics will work on different days. Sliders, Berkley Drop Shot Minnows, and Atomic Bass Grubs can all produce well. It always pays to experiment to help read the bite.

The newly imported Jackall Bros 3” Cover Craw is a shrimp or hang style soft plastic that moves a lot of water with little vibration. Weighing 8g, the bait is designed to be rigged with a Texas or weedless style hook. Hidden weight system jigheads can also be used to add extra weight if needed. This presentation is best fished on steeper walls, along the face of weed beds or in dense cover. The Cover Craw is best fished with 2-3 short, sharp upward rod twitches, which hops the lure down weed or through structure. It can also be fished vertically by simply dropping down onto structure and gently lifting and dropping the bait 1-3” (25-75mm) continuously. Fish tend to pick up the presentation and swim away with it. It’s not uncommon to see line starting to move sideways through the water. With some good timing and feel a positive hook up can be achieved.

As the weather cools the smaller fish in the lake will move to deeper water, will be found in concentrations and often show up as schooling fish. Lure trollers can catch these smaller fish by trolling the main basin. A better bag of both bass and goldens can be achieved by trolling close to the lake’s edges and structure.

Hinze
Closest Town/s: Gold Coast

With the water starting to cool off and the shorter milder days starting to be the norm, both fish and anglers will be active at Hinze this month. Searching the middle reaches of both arms should find fish schooling on flats and off points. Most fish will be holding in the 4-5m mark. These fish should become active as the light hits the water. This activity generally decreases as the day progresses. Slow rolled soft plastics such as the Basstrix paddle-tails have been scoring plenty of fish. Two-inch Gulp Minnow Grubs have been doing the damage when the fishing has slowed. When presented on a lightly weighted jighead, the Gulp Minnow Grubs have been deadly on suspended fish. The small plastic falling slowly through the school produces plenty of exciting strikes on the drop.

Surface luring will slow considerably this month but it can still pay to have one tied on during the early morning and late afternoon. Slowly twitched surface lures and plastics accounted for plenty of bigger fish in the last few months with most of the larger specimens coming from the upper reaches of the western arm.

Some bigger fish are starting to appear in Hinze, with some great stories of ‘the one that got away’ cropping up. Hinze fish are usually fairly smart and will make use of any available cover within reach. Gearing one rod up with some heavier line and slightly larger lures might see a few of these bruisers landed. Hinze may even start to lose its small fish reputation.

Overall May is one of the nicest times of year to fish Hinze. The weather is not too hot and not too cold, and the fishing is just right.

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. All outboards must be removed from boats fishing this lake.

For all your tackle needs, call in and see the guys at Tackle World Southport in Nind Street. The store carries one of the best ranges of bass, freshwater and saltwater gear around. If you’re chasing a hard to get colour or particular lure type there’s a good chance the guys can help out. Call in or give them a call on (07) 5531 0755.

Darling Downs Granite Belt Region
Cooby
Closest Town/s: Meringandan, Toowoomba

Around two months ago, Cooby Dam was closed to all recreational activity due to an exceptionally high blue-green algae level. The levels have been monitored and in early April, the dam was deemed safe due to the levels dropping considerably.

This brings goods new and bad news. The bad news is that the dam has only just reopened and therefore I cannot report on how well it is fishing. The good news is that every time the dam is closed and the fish are given a rest, the action seems to pick up. So if you have a chance, give the lake a go. It would be worth your while giving one of the local tackle stores a call to check that the dam’s still open. You can call either Fish’n’Bits on (07) 4636 6850 or Mullet Gut Marine on (07) 4632 9770.

Cooby is only 20 minutes drive north of Toowoomba. There’s no camping at the lake and there’s a $2 coin entry fee. There are toilet, BBQ, picnic and playground facilities once inside the boom gate.

The dam is open to electric motor and paddle-powered craft only. You can still have an outboard in place so long as you don’t plan to use it. Trolling in the late afternoon with small lures that dive 3-4m deep should produce a few beautifully coloured golden perch. There’s always the chance of a nice Murray cod too. Cod are plentiful but there are many undersized ones so check size and bag limits.

Coolmunda
Closest Town/s: Inglewood

There has been some reasonable action in the lake over the past month. Trolled lures have been producing some of the bigger golden perch and there have also been a few cod taken. One Murray cod was reported to be around four feet long. That sounds pretty big and over the legal size limit so I hope the big old girl was released. Trolling Jackalls was doing the damage last month. Both goldens and the occasional cod fell for these versatile lures. The trolling action is likely to taper off as the water gets colder, though cod can tolerate the cooler temperatures and will still be an option right through the winter.

Baitfishing with live shrimp is the best way for bait anglers to tempt some fish. Shrimp will produce better than other baits, especially when the water starts to cool down. Live shrimp can be caught in collapsible traps at the dam. Try catching them during the night with traps baited with cat food in the area around the wall.

Regardless of the fishing style you try, the best areas remain the same. The fish are most active along the drop off to the old creek beds. Find these with a sounder and fish right on the drop or just at the top of it. Out in front of the wall is one of the most popular spots.

The ramp is now well out of the water. Launching bigger boats will be a bit more difficult especially with 2WD vehicles. Take care and use the hard ground next to the boat ramp.

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?

Wide Bay and Burnett Region
Bjelke Petersen
Closest Town/s: Murgon, Goomeri

Each month, the lake remains at a stable level of 3%. There were a few tougher months at the lake with the fish being more difficult to tempt. This was possibly a result of fluctuation in the water level from some run in that was quickly released to the towns below.

As the dam cools off the action should pick up and great catches will be experienced from the banks and boats.

Trolling lures in the main channel between the boat ramps will be sure to draw strikes from bass and golden perch. Lures like TN60 Jackalls, spinnerbaits and shallow diving minnows will do the damage. If some decent concentrations of fish are found, casting lures will be an option to consider.

The banks in the same area can be easily accessed. Fish can be caught by casting lures or by baitfishing. At times, bait will produce better results than the lures. The best baits to use will be shrimp, frozen prawns and worms. Frozen prawns are an easy bait to get your hands on and work quite well at this time of year.

Boondooma
Closest Town/s: Proston, Kingaroy

The fishing will be reasonable in the deeper water. Here the fish will least feel the effect of the constantly falling water level. Casting to the banks is definitely an option. It’s hard to say how well this will work due to the ever-changing water level. It’s the right time of year for it to work but will the fish be in the right mood?

Schooled bass will be holding in the deeper water at the wall end of the lake. Schools are likely to be cruising around and can quickly disappear so make the most of the fishing when you’ve found them. Trolling and casting lures like Jackalls, 5/8oz spinnerbaits and soft plastics should help you bag a few decent fish.

Due to the dropping water level, it’s hard to make a good call on the fishing action. Boat launching may also be difficult. For the most up to date information, give the guys at Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy a phone call. They’ve kindly offered to help out. If you’re passing through Kingaroy, call in and say hello. They have an awesome range of freshwater fishing tackle.

For accommodation at the lake, give Bob and Deb a call on (07) 4168 9694. Boondooma has excellent amenities, bunk houses, cabins and camping facilities that will make your stay enjoyable.

Wuruma
Closest Town/s: Eidsvold

It was around last September last year that Wuruma Dam suffered a terrible loss in its fish population. Both bass and barra were the two most heavily affected species. It’s believed this was due to low oxygen levels in the lake, which has had only 1% of water for a long time now.

The good news is that reports are coming in of bass being caught on trolled lures. There haven’t been a lot of anglers fishing the lake. I’m sure that when the news gets out that the lake is producing some fish it will become a more popular destination.

I’m guessing that the next few months will be a great time for bass fishing. The cooler weather will mean the fish find the lake’s shallow water far more comfortable. Let’s hope I’m right.

Capricornia Region
Awoonga
Closest Town/s: Benaraby, Gladstone

Queensland’s hottest barra destination will continue to produce quality fish. Most anglers will be able to enjoy reasonable barra fishing for another month or so. Last year I fished Awoonga on the May Day long weekend and there were fish to be caught trolling in deep and shallow water as well as casting to the edges and snags. We racked up around 30 fish for three days fishing.

Try fishing PowerBait Mullet and Slick Rig pre-rigged plastics to the weedy formations around the dam. Look for the weed that extends right out into the main basin of the lake rather than the stuff that is closer to the shoreline. If you can find any pockets or submerged weed, there’s sure to be barra in the vicinity. The creeks are also a good option for casters, especially after dark. Try the bays in Iveragh Creek and the gullies and weedy pockets half way up Futter Creek.

Trolling lures in the deep water in the mouth of Iveragh and out in front of the wall will turn up some monster barra. Another location worth a look is the last few kilometres of river channel heading down towards Dingo Island. Run a mix of lures. It’s good to place some at 10ft deep and others at 20 to find out where the fish are most active. A few good lures to try are the Classic Barra 10+, Rapala X-Rap Magnum 20+ and the 20+ River Rat.

Matthew Mott runs barra tours on Lake Awoonga and has a wealth of knowledge to share. To learn how to target impoundment barra and for the chance to tangle with Awoonga’s awesome fish, give him a call. For booking enquiries call (07) 4168 4811.

Callide
Closest Town/s: Biloela

With the cooler water temperatures this month, the barra are likely to be more active in the warmer water. Casting soft plastics like Slick Rigs and PowerBait 5” Mullets is an effective and fast way to search the edges for active barra. Casting hard bodied lures should also be successful. Try lures like the B52, Strom Shallow Thunder, Rapala X-Rap, Slash Bait and Daiwa’s Shoreline Shiner.

When looking for warmer water, try the banks that receive the most sun. Barra can be caught in surprisingly shallow water so don’t be afraid to venture into such areas. If the day time fishing is slow, opt for a night time session. The night can be much more productive, especially when the days are windy.

Trolling lures will start to slow down, though trolling lures along the old creek bed should still produce a few fish. If you work a smaller profiled lure like an 80mm Poltergeist you’ll increase your catch rate by enticing some of the lake’s monster golden perch and at the same time, have a good chance of hooking a barra.

Creek to Coast Fishing Tackle in Biloela stock a great range of tackle. The store services the lake, which is just a short drive away. For any tips or the latest information call in and say good day at the shop. There are no camping facilities at the lake but Biloela is close enough to be a great home base for any trips to Callide.

Central Coast
Proserpine (Peter Faust)
Closest Town/s: Proserpine

The barramundi fishing in Lake Proserpine has been very tough. This has been due to too much wind and a rise in the dam. When the north had its wet season earlier in the year, Proserpine rose around seven metres bringing the dam to 35% of its capacity. This is, of course, great news but the fishing has suffered.

The dam needs to settle before the action gets any better. When I spoke to charter operator Lindsay Dobe, he said there was a lot of dead floating weed about. By the time this report goes to print, there’s a good chance the action may have picked up. If you want to find out how the lake’s going, call in and see Lindsay and the guys at Proserpine Bait and Tackle in Proserpine. Or give them a call on (07) 4945 4641.

It’s expected that the barra action will improve soon. They can be targeted in the shallows with soft plastics. Lindsay finds the slow sinking Storm Curl Tails in the 150mm size work well. Another lure that does well in the shallow water is the Rapala X-Rap. Unlike many other hard bodied lures, the X-Rap attracts fish on a straight retrieve without the need for lots of rod twitches.

If you struggle in the shallows, a trolled deep diving lure can be the answer. At the same time last year, trolling in the middle of the dam through open water was one of the most successful methods. It may be different this year due to the rise in the water level and such a large percentage of fresh water.

1.

Chris Galligan with a bass taken on a TN60 Jackall.

2.

Chris Galligan with an early morning bass taken on a Sammy surface lure in Lake Maroon.

3.

QFM writer Jason Metcalf thinks Powerbait 5" Mullets are great plastics for barra.

4.

Chris Galligan with a fine saratoga caught from Hinze Dam. These fish will get tougher as the water cools down more.

5.

It's scary to think this shot was taken from halfway down the concrete boat ramp at Cressbrook Dam. The tide is a long way out.

6.

Trolling lures will produce barramundi in reasonable numbers until the water gets too cold.

7.

My son Blake pulled his first bass from Cressbrook Dam trolling a TN60 Jackall. Next time he wants to have a go at casting.

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