Bass and Barra on the Chew
  |  First Published: October 2007

Writing and preparing fishing reports is a bit like forecasting weather. There are so many variables that can affect the outcome of events.

Due to publishing deadlines, reports are usually written a month before magazines hit the shelves. During this time anything can happen and in last month's case it certainly did. Heavy winter rain fell along the southeast coast giving several dams a much-needed top up. This influx of water will improve the fishing over the coming months.

The dams that received water will start to fire up. When more water is mixed with the fish, they become easier to catch. Fresh water seems to benefit the whole system – from small organisms, to bait species and of course, predators.

Last month signalled the barra to start feeding. We always get anxious and think of them smashing lures at the start of spring but in reality, October is the month that really gets them moving. If you’re keen to tangle with an impoundment barra, this is the month to give it a go. Casting plastics is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to tempt these big brutes.

If you have any information about lakes that aren’t covered in the QFM or even those that are, please send me an email – --e-mail address hidden-- . Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.

South East Queensland

Cressbrook missed out on the heavy rain a couple of months ago and the result is an even lower water level. Boats can still be launched from the gravel ramp. Take care when navigating as there are some areas of shallow water well out from the banks. Stick to the deeper water of the channel when moving around and you’ll be safe.

The fishing at Cressbrook has been pretty slow. When schooled fish are found, casting Mask Vib to them can produce. It seems to depend on what mood they are in at the time.

Some anglers have reported hot bites where they’ve landed quality bass, only to have them shut down and move off. If the bass are schooled and not responding to lipless crankbaits, try a more subtle lure like a soft plastic, deep fly or an ice jig. Try exploring the drop-offs to the old creek bed to find schools. The other alternative is to sound through the deeper water looking for suspended fish.

A few months ago there were some sightings of bony bream in the lake. These schooling baitfish have become a common spectacle. Anglers have witnessed them flipping on the surface in the early morning. Bonies are known to be a great source of nourishment for predatory fish. You only have to look at the size of the bass in lakes like Somerset and Wivenhoe, or the barra in dams like Awoonga and Monduran, to see how well the fish do when bony brim are a part of their staple diet. Some of the bigger bass from Cressbrook seem to be bulking up, which could mean they have taken a liking to bony bream.

Live shrimp are the best bait to use. If you don’t have your own supply, shrimp can be bought at Fish’n’Bits or Mullet Gut Marine in Toowoomba. Shrimp will work wherever schooled fish can be found. A good area to try is the drop-offs in the Eagles Nest area.

Don’t forget your Stocked Impoundment Permit and your $2 coin to enter through the boom gates. Cressbrook has an 8-knot speed limit (4-knots close to the shore).

Closest Towns: Crows Nest, Toowoomba

Somerset finished rising a few metres about a month ago. The rise flooded plenty of banks and islands throughout the dam. This all took place on the weekend of the fourth BASS Pro. Anglers were challenged to locate and catch fish with the rising water levels.

With the water level now more stable, the fishing will really pick up. Bass and golden perch will be feeding in both deep and shallow water.

Casting lures to the banks will produce plenty of golden perch and a few bass. Lipless crankbaits and Nitro 1/2oz spinnerbaits will do the trick. Bass will prefer the more gently sloping banks while goldens will patrol both shallow and steep banks.

Schooling bass will have been flushed down to the lower half of the dam. These fish will hold around their usual haunts. The Spit, out from Beams Creek, Pelican Point and Bay 13 will all hold scatterings of bass. These fish usually respond best to cast lures, however, there will be a run of bass caught by trolling deep divers. Throw in a mix of casting lures like soft plastics, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits to the trolling spread and you may boost your catches.

The steep banks in the lower half of the dam should produce plenty of golden perch. Troll shallow running lures slowly behind the boat keeping them close to the edge. Black or gold lures are hot colours. Other areas worth trolling are the banks inside Wyangi Creek, around The Hump and medium sloping banks between Beams Creek and Pelican Point.

Closest Town: Boonah

Lake Moogerah has fished consistently with plenty of anglers enjoying the spring bite. October will see fish less concentrated on the shallow flats. They are more likely to hold on the lake’s edges and creek bed drop-offs. This means fish will be responsive to reaction lures allowing anglers to fish quickly and cover ground.

Rolling lures like a lipless crankbait over creek bed drop-offs will entice plenty of fish. The other option is to fish the edges. Jerkbaits like the 65mm Squirrel will produce some surprisingly big fish.

October is well known for by-catch. Captures include eels, eel tailed catfish, silver perch and golden perch. These species will take lures aimed at bass and make for interesting fishing.

On a recent trip to the lake, three tagged fish were captured. The information sent to Suntag provided some great facts on their growth rate, movement and age. If you visit the lake make sure you have your SIP and if you are taking a feed of fish, only take your legal limit. – Chris Galligan

Closest Towns: Boonah, Rathdowney

Fishing Lake Maroon this month will be exciting. Anglers will experience excellent surface and reaction fishing. The Nursery area is now a 1-5ft deep flat and the Old Quarry is becoming exposed in parts.

During September fish were holding on these super-shallow flats and responded well to small swim baits and shallow running crankbaits. As the weather warms the water temperature, bass will move off of these flats and into areas with deep-water access.

Low light periods are best to target fish on surface and the best areas during October are generally those hard in and on top of well formed weed beds. Concentrating on the small pockets in the weed can yield good catches of bass.

To get even more interest from these fish try using a crankbait shaped lure with the yaw and wobble that stay on the water’s surface. Cast the bait past the weed pockets and simply slow roll it with plenty of pauses.

Deep water presentations will be the key during the day with both bass and goldens getting into the action. Prominent areas such as points formed in the weed beds are great areas to fish. Try rolling spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits along the face and down the sides of the formations.

The boat ramp is currently out of the water. The bank is very hard and, with care, boats of all sizes can be launched. – Chris Galligan

Lake MacDonald
Closest Towns: Noosa

When water poured over the wall of the lake in August, plenty of bass were seen swimming with it. There’s no way of knowing how many fish were lost over the wall. The dam was close to full before the rain and the bass were very active. There are sure to be plenty of bass left in the lake that will start to bite once the water settles.

By October, the bass should be back to normal feeding patterns. Look in around 5m of water in the Three Way area. Fish will hold close to the base of weed beds or in any of the pockets they form. Casting lipless crankbaits will soon locate the best concentrations.

MacDonald is known for its awesome surface fishing. Bass would have made an appearance crash tackling surface lures last month. This surface bite will continue right through spring and summer. Periods of low light are best to try this type of fishing.

Anglers fishing with bait can try the bubble trail. This area is a well known hot spot for golden perch.

Outboard motors are not allowed to be used on the lake, however, they can be left on the boat. Most anglers opt to use an electric motor.

If you’re thinking of fishing the lake, Mark Pertot can provide all the information you need on the lake itself and catching fish there. 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. You can give them a call on (07) 5449 8099.

Lake Borumba
Closest Towns: Imbil, Gympie

A lot of fish were holding in the timbered areas of the lake a couple of months ago. Some of these fish will migrate out into the main basin where they will hold around the flats before the timber, close to the banks and out from prominent points.

When located, these fish will respond to lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits. In the timber, bass, saratoga and golden perch will take the same lures. Casting from the channel into the trees marking the edge of the drop-off will produce. Another method is to cast to the bank and retrieve the lure to the boat past as much structure as possible. When fishing in the timber, it is often important to bump the structure with the lure as it is swimming past. This seems to flick a switch and triggers the strike. Even when fish are suspending in the open water in the timber this technique seems to work best. Don’t discount any of the small bays in the timber. A cast placed right into the back of them and worked back out will often pay off.

Bait fishermen will be able to catch bass and golden perch all over the lake. Popular spots include the start of the timber and the Eagles Nest.

Wide Bay and Burnett Region
Bjelke Petersen
Closest Towns: Murgon, Goomeri

The fish in Bjelke can easily be targeted from the banks. Fish will be more concentrated in the deeper parts so look for banks that drop away into the creek channel. There is plenty of deeper water from The Quarry up towards the dam wall.

There was some construction happening at the dam wall but all indications suggest that this will be completed before this month. This means the main road to the second boat ramp will be open.

Bass and goldens will respond well to cast or trolled spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and hardbodied diving lures. Smaller boats can easily be launched. The water is gradually getting lower so it may pay to check if you plan to launch a bigger boat. The falling level is due to water being released to fill the weirs below. It is from here that the towns draw their water supply. To check up on the fishing or boat launching, give Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy a phone call on (07) 4162 7555.

Closest Towns: Proston, Kingaroy

Boondooma Dam is dropping continuously. By this month the level is likely to be around 8-9%, though there is still plenty of water to fish. Most of the action will take place in the lower part of the lake. Due to lower water levels, the usual haunts further up the lake won’t be very productive.

Trolling hardbodied diving lures will cover plenty of water in the hope of locating fish. Bass and golden perch will be holding in the deeper water in the lower half of the dam. The fish usually scatter at this time of year and this is why trolling works so well.

There will still be the occasional school of fish around in this area. Work them with the trolled lures or pull up and cast some soft plastics or lipless crankbaits.

Golden perch will hang close to the steeper banks and rocky points. They can be trolled up or fished to with live baits. Shrimp are best but if you can’t get any try some frozen prawns or worms. There will be some eel-tailed catfish mixed in with the goldens.

For the most up-to-date information, give the guys at Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy a phone call on (07) 4162 7555. If you’re passing through Kingaroy, call in and say hello. They have an awesome range of freshwater fishing tackle and specialise in providing the right gear and advice for the local area.

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 Town: Biloela

There have been stacks of golden perch on the chew. These fish are munching baits of prawns and live shrimp. They are so thick they are even taking soft plastics on a regular basis.

There are plenty of barra left in the dam. Callide suffered a fish kill in winter that started some vicious rumours about the dam losing all its fish. The fact is there have been over 300,000 barra stocked into the lake. Despite all the barra that died during the kill, there is still a large percentage left in the lake.

Locals are predicting that this year will be one of the best ever. After being so docile over the winter period, the barra are sure to come out hungry when the water heats up. As soon as the temperature of the shallow water heats up, the barra will leap into action!

The size of fish may be down but the numbers are likely to be high. The shallow water will fish well with lures like Classic F18’s, B52’s, Laser Pros and soft plastics. Boat launching is fine and the fish will be lean, mean and ready to rock’n’roll.

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, tackle 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 Towns: Monto

There are plenty of bass and goldens on offer at the lake. Both bait and lure fishing is producing these species.

Baits of worms, frozen prawns and shrimp will pick up golden perch, eel-tailed catfish, spangled perch and the odd bass.

Fish can be caught from the banks but it is best to use a boat and access some of the better water. Try fishing in 6-7m of water with baits directly below the boat on an almost tight line to help detect bites.

Lure fishermen can catch bass and golden perch trolling and casting. The deeper water (6m plus) is the place to look for schooled fish. Soft plastics and lipless crankbaits are prime offerings for both casting and trolling. If you do catch fish from an area trolling, don’t be afraid to have a go at casting to the same fish. Be sure to get the lure to the right depth before retrieving.

Casting lures like spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and suspending lures to the edges will turn up some of the better quality bass and a few saratoga. The whole dam is alive with fish and buzzing with action so be sure to give it a go.

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.

Closest Towns: Benaraby, Gladstone

October is one of the best months to get out on Lake Awoonga. This year is shaping up to be one of the best yet for lure casters. During winter, the majority of fish left the deep water and headed for the warmer water on the lake’s edges. This is unusual as normally a large percentage of barra remain in the deep water. With such great numbers of barra holding close to the edges, there will be even more to target when casting lures.

If you can locate any submerged snags lying on the bottom in 1-5m of water the barra won’t be too far away. These areas can be fished with soft plastics but a better presentation is a hardbodied lure suited to the depth you are fishing. When casting diving lures, don’t rely only on the depth rating of the lure to match the water you are fishing. When casting, the lure won’t dive as deep as it says on its packaging. This is due to the retrieve being slow with a lot of stops and starts.

Work the lure down into the fishy zone and pause it, then give it plenty of twitches using the rod. This is like ringing a dinner bell for barra and there’s nothing better than to be smashed while slowly twitching a hardbody.

Soft plastics are one of the easiest lures to use. My favourite is the Berkley 5” Powerbait Mullet. These are a quality pre-rigged plastic. They are ready to use straight from the pack (you can add a stinger hook) on some 30-50lb braid topped off with some 60-80lb leader material. When casting plastics, the trick is to follow the bottom or structure contour. Vary the speed of the retrieve and add some pauses to make them work at the desired depth.

Weed beds are prime barra country. There is a lot of weed around the main basin of the dam. Look for areas that have more submerged or broken weed. This weed can usually be found around points or where flats or islands are shallow enough for it to form. My secret locations are usually weed beds that are growing that have not yet hit the surface giving away their location. A fish finder will reveal such weed formation.

Trolling lures in the deeper water will probably be slower than usual. If trolling, try working the weed edges. A night-time session would certainly be worth a shot.

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