Big Bass Dominating the Impoundment Scene
  |  First Published: August 2007

August is a month that will interest a lot of freshwater anglers.

It is a prime time to target impoundment bass in peak condition. These bulky fish can really tip the scales, as results continue to show for tournament anglers. Spring is only a month away, so it is a time to think about and prepare for the approaching warmer weather. This signals the return of significant captures of barramundi. In the southern regions, anglers should target golden perch and Murray cod.

There has been a noticeable change in the weather pattern this winter. Colder days and rain have given us hope that higher than average rainfalls will continue throughout the year. The southern States have had some serious rain – let us hope it’s our turn soon but without the destruction.

If you have any information about lakes that are not 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
Closest Towns: Crows Nest, Toowoomba

I recently went for a boat drive around Cressy. With the water level low, there are so many new spots that look appealing. Even though I never had the chance to try my luck at fishing, I believe the action on the day was fairly slow. This seems to be the case for many anglers at the moment. Some days will produce large numbers of quality bass, while other days will struggle to get the goods.

Bass will be the most active fish over the next month. The cold weather keeps the golden perch pretty quiet. On occasions, eel-tailed catfish are caught in good numbers on bait like shrimp or small crays. To chase these fish, try fishing in around 5m of water in the middle of the bigger bays throughout the dam.

Casting lures to the edges is one method that always seems to work well in late winter. The bass will take an assortment of offerings. The variety starts from soft plastics and beetle spins to spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits. It also pays to have some suspending jerkbaits in the tackle box. These lures are often the best option for chasing Cressbrook’s edge-dwelling bass.

The better suspending lures dive to at least 2m depths. Jackall Squirrels and Cultiva Rippin’ Minnows are two that fit into this category. In the earlier and later parts of the day visibility into the water is lower, the fish will take shallower suspending models like Rapala Husky Jerks.

To get the best action from suspending lures, fish with light spinning tackle. The lures are light and easy to toss the required distance. A rod around 7’ long rated for 2-4kg lines is ideal. Sporting a spinning reel and 4lb Berkley Fireline will ensure that your casts travel the maximum distance. When using suspending lures, give them a series of short, sharp rips followed by a pause. It is the lure’s ability to rest motionless between rips that really excites the bass.

Even though the lake is low, there are a lot of edges left to explore. Try the shallower tapering edges and always keep an eye on the sounder for any distinct changes in the bottom contour. There are a lot of smaller v-shaped bays all over the lake which the bass love. These are certainly worth a try with a stealthy approach and subtle presentation.

In the deeper water, there are plenty of schooling bass. Exploring the red buoy-line should reveal quite a few deep or suspending bass. There are some humps in the bottom as you venture across to the other side of the dam (the old Island) from the pumping tower. These depth changes are a good place to spend some time casting or trolling. Depending on the location of the fish, different methods will work on different days. When the bass are holding on top of humps or suspending in deeper water, opt for a TN60 or Mask Vibe Jackall. These lures can be cast or trolled. If the fish are holding deep (over 10m), it is probably a better idea to try an ice jig or a paddle-tailed soft plastic. In this scenario, a vertical presentation can work well.

There are always a lot of small bass being caught. Be sure to watch the legal size limit of 30cm. Mixed-in with the smaller fish have been quite a few over 40cm long.

Boats can easily be launched from the gravel extension. It is a few hundred metres below the old concrete ramp. Take care when navigating as there are some shallow areas starting to pop up out from the edges. Stick to the speed limit of eight knots and you should not have any dramas. There is a boom gate at the entry to the lake and its facilities. This gate requires $2 in coins to open, so make sure you bring your change.

Closest Towns: Esk, Kilcoy

Tony and Chris Deite have had some great action at Lake Somerset. The pair has been fishing with live shrimp in the area around Kirkleigh. This action should continue right through winter. One of the best things about fishing at this time of the year is the bite continues right through the day.

Both golden perch and bass will take live shrimp fished in around 7m of water. Try fishing the water north of Kirkleigh and target the drop-offs to the old riverbed. The fish are in exceptional condition and quite a few are over 50cm in length.

The schooling bass in the lower part of the lake have been hard to tempt. Lure casters and trollers have found it tough in the past month. Dropping water levels are likely to be a significant cause. There have been bass holding around The Spit and opposite Red Rock. Scatterings can also be found between Queens Street and the wall.

By the end of the month, golden perch may start to get more active. These fish will take medium and deep trolled lures. Fish along the steep rock walls in the lower part of the dam or along the drop-offs in the dam’s middle reaches.

The dam level has been dropping so take care to avoid hidden stumps. Even the water between Kirkleigh and The Spit is becoming more dangerous to navigate. There have been whispers of enforcing the current speed limit further down the lake.

Despite low water levels, boat launching at The Spit and Kirkleigh is fine. Most boats can still be launched with 2WD vehicles, provided care is taken.

Closest Towns: Fernvale, Ipswich

Most boats fishing this electric motor only dam have been launching from Billies Bay and Hays Landing. A special key is required to open the locked gates to this area. All members of the Wivenhoe Sailing Club are given a key when they join up.

The fishing has been a bit tougher than in past years. The bass schools holding around the drop-offs are always moving and are hard to locate. Trolling lures is an ideal way to find fish. Deep divers like Blitz Bagas or 1/4oz Hot Lips are ideal for a quick troll along the ledges formed by the river, creeks and gullies.

For a slower paced troll, try running some Jackall Mask Vibe 60’s. The Tennessee shad and pearl ayu have been two of the best colours. When trolling, bass will turn up from different areas. The best place for consistently finding schools of bass has been the steep ledges out from Platypus Cliffs. This ledge runs the full length of the cliffs and is around 50m out from the shore. When schools are located here, try hopping some Mask Vibe 60’s through them. They will also take spinnerbaits, soft plastics and metal jigs.

I have noticed that the fish can shut down after you catch a few. To make the most of the action, land a few on Mask Vibes and as soon as the action slows down, work a soft plastic through the same school. Some good plastics to try are 3” Slider Grubs, Squidgy Fish 65mm and 3” Gulp Minnow Grubs.

Fishing various lures to the lake's edges has been known to work. Jackalls or spinnerbaits cast to the banks can lure some thumper bass. There was no action last time we tried, but there have been excellent reports from other anglers catching bass from such areas.

The boat launching at the lake is rather ordinary. A 4WD will get most boats in if you choose a sensible launch site. It would be risky with a 2WD, unless putting in a small boat. It is advisable to be cautious; there are not a lot of people around to bail you out of trouble – especially midweek.

Closest Town: Boonah

Chris Galligan reports that Lake Moogerah's fishing has been hot and cold. The unsettled weather patterns and the constant rise and fall of water level is a major attributor. By August, Galligan believes the fish will be full of roe and settled into their typical winter patterns.

This means great fishing right through spring. At the time of writing, Lake Moogerah’s water level is at 3% capacity. SunWater has advised that the water level will be used for human consumption not irrigation. Let us hope we get some good rain soon.

Bass should be schooling in and around the original creek bed. They will be susceptible to a wide variety of techniques. Target these fish with soft plastics, lipless crankbaits or sinking pencil baits like the Jackall Bros Water Monitor. Harry Watson used pencil baits on the lake at this time last year with great success.

A standout searching technique that will lure fish into hard strikes and violent headshakes is to fish spinnerbaits. Galligan’s favourites are the Kustom Spinnerbaits. Various patterns will catch fish when using these versatile baits. Selection depends on the fishes’ mood. The most common technique is to slow roll, keeping the bait touching the bottom during the retrieve, with the blades just turning.

Dragging spinnerbaits along the bottom can also be effective. Let the lure sink to the bottom on a loose line. Pick up the slack and slowly lift the rod tip 45 degrees. Drop the rod tip and reel in the slack line. Repeat this all the way back to the boat. It helps to keep a small amount of tension on the line to feel any hits.

Pumping is another spinnerbait technique that can work. Pumping involves slow rolling the bait along the bottom. After five or six winds, make a quick lift with the rod, stop reeling and let the bait flutter back to the bottom, repeating this all the way back to the boat.

Exploring the lake's edges will be a good way to catch bass. Towards the end of the month, the odd Golden Perch should also show up.

On August 5, Chris Galligan will be holding the Lake Moogerah Bass Electric round. We should see some great limits caught on the latest lure casting techniques.

Closest Towns: Boonah, Rathdowney

Chris Galligan has prepared the following report for Lake Maroon. Chris is an angler always experimenting and trying to develop new techniques.

Maroon’s water level continues to diminish and changes typical fish habits and holding areas. This means that lure casting can be hot and cold. It will pay to search the lake’s edges (rocky and weeded) with 3" paddle-tail soft plastics. This should reveal the better concentrations of bass. Once found, refining tackle can be a fun way to load more fish.

Super light 1.5” to 2” plastics like hawgs, or tube baits, are a fun way to draw interest and get heaps of hits from bass. Being a slow technique, it is better to use these presentations on calm days so you have full control over the bait.

As we progress through August, we should see a transition from the typical soft plastic bite to a jerkbait bite. Angler’s jerkbaiting the lake’s weed edges in the early mornings and late afternoons will account for their share of fish. Painfully, long pauses are a great way to tease bass into striking. It is remarkable how long a fish will look at a suspended jerkbait that only requires a small twitch to invoke the strike.

Maroon is a great lake for anyone wanting to build confidence in casting for fish, and August is a great time to get out on the water. The good news is that boats of all sizes can still be launched from the hard rocky bank.

Lake MacDonald
Closest Town: Noosa

Recently, Lake MacDonald is running over the spillway. This event has caused the majority of the lake’s big bass to move closer to the wall. If a decent fall of rain pushes a rush of water over the bass, they will be ready and waiting to go with it.

While the fish are lined up, anglers can take advantage of some great fishing to quality bass that are in prime condition. The area from the Botanical Gardens to the wall is holding plenty of bass. These fish can be caught in around 7m of water. Locate them on your sounder and fish to them with tailspinners or soft plastics.

Experienced bass angler Mark Pertot can provide all the information you need to catch fish from MacDonald. You can call in and see him at Davo’s Bait and Tackle. Davo’s is on the corner of Mary and Thomas Streets in Noosa. Give them a call on (07) 5449 8099.

Lake Borumba
Closest Towns: Imbil, Gympie

Mark Pertot from Davo’s Bait and Tackle has been out on the lake in recent times. He has made some predictions for the coming month.

Bass have moved into the main basin of the lake. These fish will be caught casting lures around any secondary drop-offs. The fish will be widespread, so move around until you find the better areas. Targeting them by running lures between 3-5m deep seems to work well.

Further up the lake in the timbered arms, bass are being caught by casting spinnerbaits and Jackalls. Work your lures around the heavy structure or lake’s edges. Borumba bass pull hard for their size, so be ready to muscle them out of the snags.

Through July, the water was below the end of the concrete boat ramp. The ramp has been extended with gravel so take care when reversing the trailer into the water.

Darling Downs Granite Belt Region
Closest Towns: Meringandan, Toowoomba

The fishing at Cooby has been steady. Bait fishermen are managing the odd golden perch and jew. Those opting to use lures can expect the action to be slow. One species that doesn’t seem to mind the cold weather is the Murray cod. Cooby has a good breeding population of these magnificent fish and big specimens are caught every year. If you do manage one of these big fish, admire it, take a photo - and let it swim away to make heaps of babies.

It will not be until next month that the fishing starts to fire up. Spring will bring on the golden perch and get the cod more aggressive around their breeding time.

Boats can be launched from a gravel ramp. The edges are boggy so don’t take any risks. There is a boom gate that requires $2 to open at the entry to the lake.

Closest Town: Inglewood

Fishing with bait has continued to produce mixed bags at Coolmunda. The action is slower than during the warmer months but reasonable numbers can be caught. Golden perch are the most common capture. However, there have also been some silver perch and eel-tailed catfish on the chew.

The best bait is live shrimp. These can be hard to come by when water temperatures are cold. The dam usually yields some when using collapsible traps baited with cat food or something similar. Peter from the Coolmunda Caravan Park has found that raw or even cooked prawns are a good alternative.

The water level is well below the boat ramp and launching boats needs to be done from the bank. The shore of the lake is very boggy, so take care. If possible carry your boat to the water, or only get as close as is absolutely necessary.

The Coolmunda Caravan Park is 1-2km 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 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 Towns: Murgon, Goomeri

A few months ago, the campgrounds and accommodation were closed at Bjelke Petersen. This will remain until the council decides to reopen it. The road that leads to the far boat ramp has also been closed to public access while work is carried out in the wall area. This means cars can no longer drive around the shores below the boat ramp, let alone attempt to launch a boat.

Despite these changes, fishing and boating are still allowed on the lake. The main access to the water is now below the unused campgrounds and accommodation. Here you will find another boat ramp. This ramp is well above the water and the bank below is very steep. With some effort, small boats or canoes could be launched from the banks nearby. Getting a boat to the water may mean carrying it. Do not expect to launch anything too heavy.

Plenty of visitors to the lake are still being rewarded with catches of bass, golden perch and jew. These fish are falling for baits and lures. Live worms and prawns will attract fish but shrimps are by far the best bait. Shrimp can be hard to catch at this time of year, so make sure you have some other bait on hand.

Bass and golden perch can be caught by casting lures around the edges. Whack on some hiking boots and walk the shoreline while fanning the water with casts. A range of lures will produce results. Try lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, soft plastics or crankbaits. If a fish is caught, give the area a thorough working-over, as there are likely to be more nearby.

If you do opt to launch a boat, trolling lures is a good option. Shallow diving lures are the prime offering with the water level being so low. Troll around the drop-offs to the old creek channel in the area between the two high and dry boat ramps.

Closest Towns: Proston, Kingaroy

There is a good chance that bass will start to fire up in deep water schools this month. There have been plenty of smaller fish coming from the schools with some days producing larger models. It is the presence of larger fish and the cold winter that would suggest the fishing in these locations will pick up. To locate the fish run a sounder across the area out from the dam wall. Bass can also turn up in the deeper water near The Islands, which are exposed or right down at the end of the run to Pelican Point.

To target the deep schooling bass, a number of lures can be used. Play around with soft plastics, spinnerbaits and hard and soft Jackalls to see what the fish prefer. Both casting and trolling will produce fish. When trolling, you may need to use an electric motor to control the speed of the boat and present the lures at the right depth.

Bait fishing around the edges will be pretty slow for another month. The odd bass, eel-tailed catfish and golden perch will turn up. Try moving in close to any weed edges and target fish in 3-4m of water. The other option is to drop baits and suspend them at the depth the bass are holding in deepwater schools. Live shrimp are the best bait, with worm and frozen prawns being a good backup. There have been some reports of guys catching shrimp in the dam around any of the better weed growth.

Boats can still be launched even though the water continues to fall. The main boat ramp is well exposed but there is an area below it that is doing the job nicely. Launching should not be a problem even for 2WD vehicles.

For the most up-to-date information, give the guys at Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy a phone call on (07) 4162 7555. The dam is always changing as the levels drop. If you are 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.

Capricornia Region
Closest Towns: Benaraby, Gladstone

The lake has not seen a lot of fishing pressure over the winter period. Casting lures to the lake’s shallow bays and weed beds can still catch Barra. It will not be long until the weather will warm up and fishermen and boats return in their droves. Take care when launching your boat as last month, the concrete boat ramp ended with a sharp drop a couple of metres past the waterline.

Closest Town: Biloela

Callide’s barra population can be pretty dormant over the winter period. This makes winter the ideal time to target the lake’s golden perch. Goldens can be caught in big numbers and the quality is spectacular. Throughout the year, some fish fall for trolled lures but the prime winter method for catching them is to use live shrimps. Other baits will produce a few fish but as a general rule, one shrimp equals one fish. A baited collapsible trap thrown into the dam will snare the odd shrimp.

The barramundi scene has been quiet. Only the dedicated anglers target them at this time of year. Despite being more difficult to catch, they can still be caught if you go about it the right way. The warmer still days are the best time to try your luck. There is no need to skip breakfast to get out onto the water. In winter, barra get more active later in the day when the sun has warmed-up. Stealthily work your way casting into shallow bays. Big barra can be caught in as little as 1m of water. Give a Daiwa Shoreline Shiner a run or try swimming some lightly rigged soft plastics.

Creek to Coast Fishing Tackle in Biloela stock a great range of tackle. The store services the lake that 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.

Closest Town: Monto

There have been mixed bags of fish caught through the colder months so far. This pattern should continue over the coming month. There have not been many boats on the lake and some days you will have the place to yourself.

Saratoga have been responding well to white spinnerbaits. Toga are usually caught close to the edges and some form of cover. Fishing spinnerbaits close to the surface or mid-water in such areas should draw some strikes. When a toga hits the lure, strike hard to bury the hook in the bony mouth of the fish.

Golden perch and bass have also been taking lures. Soft plastics in natural colours are quite effective. Try plastics like 3” shads or 3” paddle-tailed grubs rigged on 1/2oz jigheads. Plastics can be cast to the edges and wound back to the boat or worked through fish holding in deeper water. Deeper holding fish will also respond to them when they are trolled.

Despite the low water level, boats can be launched from the hard bank. The area used to put in boats is accessed by travelling down the old concrete boat ramp. The new site is quite noticeable, so should not be hard to find.Accommodation is available a few kilometres below the dam wall at the Cania Gorge Caravan Park. This beautiful place is one of my favourite destinations. The park has abundant wildlife that interacts with people and is an ideal place for families. Camping and cabins are available. The kiosk can be contacted on (07) 4167 8188 to make enquiries or bookings.

North Qld
Closest Town: Ravenshoe

James Coates reports tough and trying conditions at Koombooloomba for at least another month. The lake will still be experiencing plenty of cold weather. Fishing the main basin will be the go, but be prepared to get belted by the wind.

Trying to sneak into some of the sheltered bays adjacent to the main basin would be a good choice. Target snags with soft plastics. Use gentle jigs and hop across vertical timber or down rock faces and boulders.

It is probably not worth heading down to where the Tully meets the dam, it is usually too cold there at this time of year.

With the rain that has been around in the past couple of months, watch out for the potholes on the dirt road.

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