Queensland’s Lakes Fire Up
  |  First Published: October 2006

This month, we have the return of Lakes Moogerah and Maroon to the QFM thanks to Chris Galligan. It’s been some time since we’ve heard from these lakes. You’ll be happy to know that both are producing well.

Unfortunately we’ve seen the effects of low water levels take their toll on some of the bass and barra stocks in Wuruma Dam. It’s a sad sight to see dead fish after years of effort have gone into stocking a lake. Let’s hope this type of disaster doesn’t become a regular occurrence as the levels fall even further throughout the state.

On a positive note, some of the lakes that were quiet over the winter period have started to fish much better. Read on to find out what should be happening over the coming month.

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 at --e-mail address hidden--

Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.

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

Around a month ago, the fishing action around the lake’s edges started to pick up and suspending minnows were producing the best results. As the weather warms up, these fish are likely to continue patrolling the shallows and may feed on a wider range of offerings.

Some good weed growth was seen in some areas of the lake at the end of winter. Now the days are longer and warmer, the ideal conditions should cause the weed to flourish. Locating the better areas of weed growth is one way to make sure you’re fishing in the right area.

Reaction lures will start producing more fish. Both bass and golden perch will fall for Jackalls, spinnerbaits and beetlespins cast and retrieved around the edges. In the mornings and afternoons, surface presentations are also a good option. Try various styles of topwater lures to see if the fish want to feed this way. Cupped faced poppers like the Berkley Frenzy popper and walk-the-dog style lures like Eddy’s Surface Busters work the surface with two different actions. Sometimes the fish will prefer one over the other.

Fishing in the schools of bass will be hot and cold. With a good sounder, the fish aren’t hard to locate in 7-14m of water. Once you’ve found them, it’s a matter of experimenting with different lure types. Deep fly, ice jigs, soft plastics and Mask Vib Jackalls are all worth a try. When the fish are on the bite, all of these lures will work and it seems like you can do no wrong.

Live shrimp and worms can be used around the points and near the steeper banks. These baits will tempt some bass and golden perch.

Closest Town/s: Esk, Kilcoy

The slow fishing over winter has picked up in a big way over spring. The bass schools and golden perch are far more active.

Anglers targeting bass will be able to catch fish from the wall right up to wide of Queen Street. It’s a matter of sounding the drop-offs to the old creek channel to locate the schools. Once they are located, try different lures until you find what they are looking for. Hopping Mask Vib 60 Jackalls over schooled fish is one of the most effective ways to catch them. Soft plastics and deeply presented flies are also worth a shot. If fishing with soft plastics try rigging them on Nitro 5/8oz jigheads. The extra weight in these jigheads helps to keep the lures down nice and deep.

If the bass are proving difficult to entice, ice jigging can be the answer. Nils Master or Rauhula ice jigs bounced up to a metre off the bottom directly below the boat will occasionally stir up some action.

Trolling medium to deep diving lures along the drop-offs and steep banks will account for some weighty golden perch. Brightly coloured lures will draw the fish’s attention. While trolling for goldens in these areas, you can expect to pick up some smaller bass as well. Trolling is an option throughout the whole dam. The steeper banks seem to be the preferred spot in the lower part of the lake. As the water gets shallower as you head north, the drop-offs become the better option.

Closest Town/s: Fernvale, Ipswich

Plenty of fish will be holding in the main basin of the lake. The area out from Billies Bay and down towards the no fishing area closer to the wall will be prime country. Bass will hang around the deeper flats and move along the drop-offs to the old river and creek beds.

The catfish population will become more active as the days get hotter. To avoid these annoying fish, try using lures with more vibration and keep them off the bottom.

Mask Vib Jackalls and the Sasuke Blade Baits pump out plenty of vibration and are ideal for targeting bass. These lures can be hopped close to the bottom and worked fast enough to give the bass a chance at eating them before the catties. The problem is that both catfish and bass will be schooling together in the same area.

All trailer boats require a boating permit. These can be acquired at the Fernvale news and grocery shop, which opens at 5am, or from the ranger at the lake. Public launching of boats is carried out at Logans Inlet. The bank launching is ordinary for larger boats. Once launched, it is a long trip to the fishing area that takes around 2.5 hours with an electric motor. Remember that only electric, paddle and sail powered craft are allowed to operate on the lake.

Closest Town/s: Boonah

Even though Moogerah’s water level is at only 6% it’s still a good impoundment to fish. Launching boats can be carried out with a 2WD vehicle from the bank but you will need to get your back wheels wet. Moogerah regular Chris Galligan has had some great sessions over the last few months. He’s been enjoying plenty of 1.5-2kg bass.

Bass are concentrated on the flats in around 5m of water. These productive flats always seem to be close to the old creek bed. The lake’s hungry bass love reaction lures so spinnerbaits and TN60 Jackalls will get nailed. These lures seem to attract the bigger bass to 2kg. Soft plastics will also catch their share but the excitement isn’t as intense as when using reaction baits.

Fishing the lake’s edges will pull quality golden perch and the odd bass. Unfortunately, Moogerah’s eels love to hit spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits so use a faster retrieve to keep your lure off the bottom.

This month, the majority of fish will move up towards the wall. Here, they should be found throughout the whole water column. If the bass schools aren’t concentrated, slow trolling TN60 Jackalls or 1/2oz jighead rigged plastics will tempt the lake’s big 50cm bass. Try working along the flats and creek bed edges, adjusting your line length to suit the water depth.

Closest Town/s: Boonah, Rathdowney

Chris Galligan reports that with the warmer weather being experienced, the surface fishing is set to improve. Usually aggressive retrieves will draw surface strikes. Allow a pause of several second each time the lure is moved a metre or so. This pause is often all that is needed to excite bass into striking. Concentrate on working the thick weed beds and edges.

Working spinnerbaits and soft plastics around the weed beds is the most successful way to draw the larger fish. Fighting bigger fish can be exciting when working them out of the thick weed they bury into. Fishing Squirrels (suspending lures) along the face of weed beds is also a fun way to catch a few.

Fish will also be holding around the wall and on the flats. Here, Jackalls and tailspinners can be used to target them. Casting reaction baits into the rocky, weed-free edges will produce some good-sized golden perch.

Maroon is a great lake to build up your skills’ as many different lure types will work. Usually, the size of the fish isn’t worth boasting about but fish numbers make up for this.

Closest Town/s: Gold Coast

October on Hinze dam is magical. The forecast is for cloudless days and plenty of fish.

An early start with a surface lure will be the choice for keen anglers, but plenty of fish are caught throughout the day.

Both arms of the dam will produce fish. The eastern arm usually experiences less fishing pressure and is always a good choice. Try throwing small fizzers, poppers and stickbaits to the banks. When choosing a spot, look for are a bank that has a bit of depth close by and some cover for the fish. In Hinze, this cover is usually submerged grass. A bank with freshly submerged grass that is still healthy is a good choice.

Placing long casts parallel to the bank is the perfect way to cover water in a quick time. Be sure to work any likely areas thoroughly with your lures before moving on. Individual small trees or shrubs submerged on points are worth covering with assorted types of lures. Try slowly hopping 3” soft plastics down a point and past trees – this is a deadly way to hook up. You can also try suspending crankbaits paused and twitched around the edges of grassy banks and out from any points.

Once the bass have stopped hitting surface lures and shallow offerings, make a change to Jackalls and fish them in the same areas.

Large spinnerbaits may see the resident Mary River cod come out to play. Cast to the shallower water found in the backs of bays, especially early in the morning. If these bays have some structure in the form of rocks or a small rock face they’ll be more likely to produce.

Surface lures and small, lightly weighted plastics are a brilliant way to target the saratoga. Most of these fish are caught as a by-catch but anglers targeting this acrobatic species can improve their chances. Concentrate on any overhanging branches during the middle of the day. Small shrimp flies and poppers are a great choice.

Overall the middle of spring on Hinze Dam is probably the most productive time of year. The longer and warmer days are definitely kinder to anglers and the fish activity heats up with the water temperature.

For all your tackle needs, call in and see the guys at Gold Coast Fishing Tackle at Southport. The guys will be able to help you out with the right advice. A license is needed to fish this electric motor only dam. Licenses are available from the council office in Davenport Street, the lake’s kiosk or the ranger. Note that all outboards must be removed from boats that are fishing this lake.

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

Due to Cooby’s low water level, trailer boats aren’t permitted to launch. Boats can still be carried to the water and launched by hand. Remember that you can only use electric motors or paddles in this lake. It might sound like hard work but quite a few anglers are making the effort and enjoying some great fishing.

Lurefishing has picked up and for the last month anglers have been enjoying the action. It’s likely that the fish will continue to bite the same way until the water starts to get too hot.

Casting and trolling Jackalls has been catching most fish. Golden perch to 5lb are the most common fish caught and Murray cod are certainly not rare. There have been reports of plenty of small cod and a few anglers have tangled with some of the lake’s monsters over the past month.

Late in the afternoon is a good time for trolling hard bodies – just as the sun goes down. Black and white Mini Busters or StumpJumpers are excellent at this time of the day.

Fishing from the shore can be okay. Live shrimp and worms will pull a few jew and golden perch. If you are fishing the lake don’t forget to bring $2 to open the boom gate.

Closest Town/s: Inglewood

Coolmunda will be fishing well for both lure and baitfishers. A lot of anglers haven’t found had any trouble reaching their quota of golden perch. If the fish are on the bite, remember the bag limit and take only what you need. It’s always a good excuse to go fishing again when the fillets in the freezer run out.

Goldens have been the most common catch but there have been some jew, silver perch and Murray cod mixed in. The cod in the lake are pretty big and one of these fish will make your trip. Last month, the biggest recorded was over 30lb.

Trolling lures is effective along the drop-off to the old creek bed. Use a lure that dives close to the bottom. In some areas, there are hidden snags along the drop-off that hold plenty of cod.

Baitfishing with worms and shrimps around the deep channel will produce plenty of goldens. It pays to have both baits as the fish change their mood and preference from day to day.

The lake is at 55% and boat launching is fine from the concrete ramp. With around 50,000 fingerlings released into the lake last year, things are looking good for the future.

The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only 2km away from the lake. This is the perfect spot to base trips to the dam and river below. Why not take advantage of some great fishing opportunities and give them a call on (07) 4652 4171?

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

The lake remains at around 3% capacity. The stable, low water level has kept the fish on the bite. There is good fishing to be had from both the bank and boats.

Bait anglers will be able to score a mixed bag of fish from the shores of the lake. Golden perch, bass and jew are all taking baits of worms, shrimp and frozen prawns.

Boat launching is fine below the far boat ramp. The shore is hard and cars can safely launch most boats. Anglers fishing from boats can enjoy trolling and casting lures for bass and golden perch. Reaction lures like shallow and medium divers, spinnerbaits and Jackalls trolled or cast will do the trick.

The kiosk at the lake stocks live bait and an extensive range of tackle. Once you’ve got the right gear or bait, they’ll be able to help you out with a few more tips.

Closest Town/s: Proston, Kingaroy

The fishing at Boondooma will be rather patchy. This is due to its constantly falling water level. When the water is being drawn out and the lake falls faster, the action can be slow.

Casting spinnerbaits and Jackalls to the edges will account for both bass and golden perch. Try to locate the deeper weedy edges, as these areas are likely to hold fish.

Trolling medium to deep diving lures around the rocky points will produce some good goldens and the occasional bass. Trolling can also be effective in the first hundred metres of the Boyne timber. Casting spinnerbaits around the edges and to the bigger trees in the same area will stir up some golden perch.

You can expect a few fish on bait with goldens and jew being the most common species. Fishing around the rocky points in the main basin with shrimp or worms is a good place to start.

Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy can look after all of your fishing needs. Call in and see the guys and they can help you out and offer some useful advice. 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.

Closest Town/s: Maryborough

Lake Lenthalls will be in one of its peak fishing times this month. Anglers casting lures can expect to catch both bass and barramundi. Quite often both species can be caught on the same lure.

Surface fishing is one of the best ways to excite both species. Spectacular surface strikes can be enjoyed throughout the day at this time of year. Lures like the Frenzy cup faced popper are ideal for both bass and small barra. If you want to target barra, opt for lures that are bigger than 80mm long.

Casting spinnerbaits and Jackalls to the weed pockets and submerged timber will also produce the goods. If the action is slow, try a silent lipless crankbait.

Closest Town/s: Monto

The low water level (6%) hasn’t stopped Cania’s brilliant fishing. Boats can still be launched from the hard bank to the right of the old concrete ramp. Bass, goldens and saratoga have all been frequent captures and are sure to continue biting well. Casting, trolling and baitfishing have all produced mixed bags of these fish.

Shrimp or frozen prawns have been working quite well. Anglers fishing from boats have had most success, but bass and jew can be caught from the shore.

Casting lures like spinnerbaits, Jackalls and soft plastics will catch bass from schools in the middle reaches of the lake. The edges will also hold scattered bass that can be caught on these lures. As a rule, the bass aren’t fussy about lure presentations.

Trolling the deeper water with shallow to medium divers out from the dirt boat ramp will score some good bass. From this area work along the steep banks towards The Quarry. Make sure that you stick to your bag limit of two bass over 30cm per person. They’re pretty easy to catch so enjoy the fun they provide and release them safely for next time.

To find out more about the lake or to book some great accommodation nearby, call the Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park on (07) 4167 8188.

Closest Town/s: Eidsvold

It’s hard to predict how Wuruma will be fishing this month. Low water levels have contributed to the loss of a lot of bass and barramundi only a month ago. It’s sad to see fish die and even harder to bear if you’ve been involved in stocking them and watching the fishery grow.

Hopefully the remaining fish can adapt to the changes taking place in their home. Time will tell if these fish are in the mood to bite or if they are still feeling the effects of the low water.

Capricornia Region
Closest Town/s: Benaraby, Gladstone

The water temperature will rise this month so you can expect to see some changes from the barra. The barra will moved out of the bays and shallows seeking submerged timber and lush weed beds. These fish will become more active as the water’s surface temperature climbs back up to the mid to late 20s. What will follow will be great fishing during both day and night.

Try targeting fish holding in the 10-15ft depth range with plastics like Squidgy Slick Rigs in 110mm or Berkley 4” swimbaits. Plastics are a very effective tool when fished around drop-offs, weed beds and prominent points. A steady, slow rolling retrieve can be lethal, but make sure you experiment with your presentation to find what the fish like best on the day.

Hard bodies such as the Classic Barra +10s, assorted Scorpions, Reidy’s and Bombers will all be fish takers, but don’t be shy about throwing lures that aren’t as well known. Often a new or different lure can become the hot lure of the day. You need to take into account that barra see lures over and over again and they do get wiser.

When fishing with hard bodies, make sure you upgrade the split rings and trebles before casting or trolling. Owner products are the strongest on the market.

Trolling should start to pick up after the quieter cooler months. With the onset of warmer weather and some unseasonably hot days, expect the trolling to really start producing fish. Try around the old creek beds and drop-offs for best results, relying on your sounder to locate them. Often good numbers of fish move towards the dam wall with the build up to the wet and if last year’s incredible season is anything to go by, expect similar patterns again. In this deep water, using your GPS to set trolling grids is a great method and it takes the guesswork out of returning to the areas where you’ve caught fish.

Keep an eye out for Bushy’s new Stiffy hard body lures. These lures were designed and tested on Awoonga’s barra and proved devastating during trials last year. These Stiffies consistently caught barra when other lures couldn’t raise fish. They are serious impoundment lures and can be fished straight out of the box without having to upgrade the hardware. They come standard with Owner 4X trebles and Owner Hyperwire split rings.

On a final note, keep in mind that all fish intended for release need to be cared for correctly. Supporting their weight is critical, as is their protective coating of slime. Wet the area where you intend to lay the fish or even better - don’t lie it down at all. Barra are robust but can go into shock very easily. A minute or less out of the water will give these beautiful fish their best chance at becoming even bigger. Letting the big ones go will mean even bigger fish next year. With fish now over 70 pounds, who knows what you will hook next!

Matthew Mott runs barra tours on Lake Awoonga and has heaps 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.

Closest Town/s: Biloela

The fishing at Callide will continue to fire over the coming month. The lake is at around 9% and can be fished from either a boat or the bank. Last year, it was as low as 7% and boating access wasn’t a problem.

There have been some big barra coming from the shallow water. It is shaping up to be another excellent season – possibly the best yet. Lures like B52s, 3m Scorpion 125s and Predatek Vipers cast and retrieved around the lake’s edges will do the trick. Soft plastic swimbaits are also worth a try. These lures are dynamite when steadily retrieved around any form of structure.

The Lake Callide Stocking Group will be holding the annual fishing competition towards the end of the month. The event will run on 21-22 October and is sure to be a success.

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 those who know Marella from the store, she is due to have her first baby in October. For any tips or the latest information – or just to wish her all the best – call in and say g’day at the shop. Biloela is close enough to be a great home base for any trips to Callide.

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

This month, the action will be all happening at Proserpine. Casting and trolling will improve around the whole lake.

There is a lot of weed growth around the whole lake. Around this weed is a good place to cast lures for barramundi. Rapala X-Raps and 110mm Squidgy Slick Rigs are ideal for working the weedy margins of the dam. Topwater lures are another good option in the early morning and late afternoon. There are a lot of open banks to fish so try to concentrate efforts around any little gullies that run into the dam, as these tend to hold more fish.

Trolling deep diving lures in the main basin will pull some magnificent barra. Lures like the RMG Poltergeist 80 and the 7m and 8m Crazy Deep Scorpions are ideal for open water trolling. The barra can be caught anywhere and are often concentrated around bait schools. If bait is found on the sounder, work this area over thoroughly.

There are a couple of competitions being held this month. The weekend 13-14 October is the Faust competition. On October 17-18 ABT will be running their round of the BARRA Tour on the lake.

Lindsay Dobe runs charters on the lake. He spends a lot of days on the water and understands the lake’s barra well. Lindsay also owns Proserpine Bait and Tackle, which stocks all the gear to successfully target the lake’s big barra. You can call in to the store on the highway in Proserpine when you are on your way to the dam or give them a call on (07) 4945 4641.

New England Ranges (NSW)
Copeton and Pindari
Closest Town/s: Inverell

The lakes have experienced a slow period, though the fishing is likely to pick up now we are well and truly into spring. Golden perch will be the target species for most anglers. Baitfishing and trolling should start pulling goldens and the occasional cod. Be sure to release any cod captured as they are protected until December while in their breeding cycle. Detailed information on NSW’s freshwater fishing rules can be found on the website www.dpi.nsw.gov.au or by calling 1300 550 474.

Later this year on 1-3 December, Lake Copeton will be host to the Great Inland Fishing Festival. There will be $20,000 in prizes on offer. For more details about this event, call the Inverell Tourist Information Centre on (02) 6728 8161.

For information about fishing and camping at Copeton Dam, contact the Copeton Waters State Park Administration Centre on (02) 6723 6269.

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