Impoundments Fishing Well Throughout the State
  |  First Published: November 2006

Welcome to the warmer months and the great fishing being experienced across Queensland’s lakes. Despite the low water levels in many areas, lakes are continuing to produce consistent results. Bass, golden perch, Murray cod and monster barramundi are all providing anglers with plenty of thrills.

With the hot summer months soon upon us, we can only hope for decent rainfall where it is needed to top up our lakes. When and if this finally does happen, let’s hope the influx of fresh water doesn’t hurt the fish population.

If you have any information about lakes that aren’t covered in QFM – or even those that are – please send me an email at --e-mail address hidden-- . I had some great feedback over last month. Thanks to those who dropped a line and I look forward to hearing from any new contacts in the future. Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.

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

There are some decent weed formations in the lake and locating these will help increase your catch rate when targeting bass or goldens around the edges. Provided the water level doesn’t fall too quickly, the weed should continue to grow and attract more fish.

Casting lures into the weed is the best way to fish Cressbrook’s weedy edges. Spinnerbaits and silent Jackalls will be two of the better performing lures in November. If the action is slow, experiment with different styles of lures until you find the one that works the best. Switch between spinnerbaits, beetlespins, lipless crankbaits, suspending minnows and soft plastics.

With the weed returning, there should be an increase in surface activity. Fishing Eddy’s Surface Busters or small cupped-face poppers will entice some smashing strikes. Early mornings and late afternoons are the prime times for this style of fishing. Work your topwater lures for 1-2m before allowing them to pause for 1-5 seconds. These pauses make all the difference and draw many more hits than working the lure straight back to the boat.

Don’t forget your $2 entry fee at the gate. This allows you to access the boat ramp and BBQ, picnic and playground facilities. The ramp is still in a good condition with gravel all the way into the water, which makes launching and retrieving boats quite easy. Take care near the ramp as there is some shallow water out from the bank on the eastern side.

Closest Town/s: Boonah

Chris Galligan has good news for those wanting to head to Lake Moogerah for a fish this month. As the water temperature increases, so will the presence of water skiers. Due to this extra activity on this small waterway, the better fishing times are usually during the week or early on Saturday mornings.

A thermocline should be present in the deeper water at the wall end of the lake. This area should hold good numbers of bass and the odd golden perch. The fish will be suspending so counting down lures into the area where they are holding is essential. Hopping lipless crankbaits and tailspinners through these concentrations of fish should produce good captures.

Another exciting way of targeting the lake’s bass is to use suspending jerk baits around the edges. The Jackall Squirrel and Daiwa Double Clutch are two good lure choices for this style of fishing. Position the boat in 5m and cast almost to the bank. Use a couple of good rips followed by a short pause. This will make the lure swim down and follow the contour of the bottom. As the presentation gets closer to the boat, ease up on the rips and use slight twitches with lengthy pauses, being sure to swim the lure right back to the boat. Strikes can occur at any stage during this type of retrieve. Fishing the lake’s edges will produce best in the early morning or late afternoon.

Trolling spinnerbaits on the flats and creek bed edges will pick up golden perch, just try to keep lures off of the bottom to avoid unwanted eel captures. If you do hook a big eel, it is good to be able to get your lure back. Eels can be removed by using a lip gripper. Leave them in the water to prevent them wrapping around line and use a long pair of pliers to keep your fingers away from their needle sharp teeth. After the encounter, be sure to check for any damaged hooks and replace them if necessary.

Closest Town/s: Boonah, Rathdowney

Chris Galligan has some tips to share for fishing Maroon Dam this month. The clear water of Maroon Dam will produce good numbers of fish. With the water approximately 2m above the boat ramp, launching and retrieving all boats is a breeze.

Surface fishing is an exciting option during times of low light. The best areas to fish surface presentations are around broken weed beds or towards the edges of the lake. Keep your drags tight as these fish can easily wrap you up in thick weed.

Once the sun comes out and the fish move in closer to the safety of the weedy cover, sub-surface presentations in the same areas will work well. Vertically jigged stick baits or lipless crankbaits cast around the weed edges will account for fish.

There have been quite a few sightings of Mary River cod sun-baking towards the wall end of the dam recently. These fish are occasionally a bycatch when trolling for golden perch. Stick to the steep rocky edges for this species. If a fish is caught during a trolling run it can pay to double back and fish the same route again.

Storms in the area during November can be quite violent. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on local weather reports and head for safety if in doubt.

Closest Town/s: Gold Coast

November on Hinze is a great time for chasing a number of species, with the most popular being the Australian bass. Most of the bass encountered at Hinze range from 30-40cm. Some larger fish are starting to turn up, with the occasional 50cm fork length fish being caught by lucky anglers. What Hinze bass lack in size they make up for in the fight – expect to get stitched up every now and then, especially when using light leaders and line.

With the weather heating up, early starts are a good idea. Being on the water at dawn is magical and also the most productive time. Bigger bass cruise the edges of the dam looking for insect life and baitfish hiding along the grassy edges. Surface lures cast into the shallows and slowly worked back to the boat are an exciting way of connecting to bass. There’s also the chance of the odd saratoga or Mary River cod taking a liking to surface offerings.

When the sun is higher, try the slightly deeper edges. This is especially the case when the bank is shaded. Casting Jackalls and spinnerbaits should see some fish come aboard. If these lures fail, make sure each likely looking area is covered thoroughly with a soft plastic or crankbait before moving on.

Areas to try this month will be along Rays Run, Bass Bay, around Ians Island and Pauls Point. With the hotter days, afternoon storms will be on the cards so keep an eye on the southwestern skyline. Graphite rods make a wonderful conductor for electricity! Bass seem to respond to the change in barometric pressure before the arrival of a storm. Surface and reaction style lures are excellent in this instance. Enjoy the action but exercise some care if a storm looks like closing in.

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. Note that all outboards must be removed from boats that are 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 after the most sought after lure colours in the popular brands, they are likely to have them.

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

Cooby Dam has continued to fire. This electric motor only lake is fishing well from boats and from the bank. Boat launching takes some effort but many anglers justify the work involved by the great fishing to be had. The ramp at Cooby is closed to all trailer boats. This means you need to carry or drag your boat over 100m to the water, which makes boating possible for smaller boats, canoes and kayaks only. Once in the water, there’s quite a bit of mud to push through until you reach a suitable depth to jump in and motor or paddle off.

The fish have been biting all over the lake. It pays to try both the shallow flats outside the weed and also the deep water of the old submerged creek beds. In the deeper water of the old creek bed or deep flats, trolling TN60 Jackalls will take plenty of fish. The best method is to let the lure sink to the bottom before motoring off for 10-30m. After that, stop and let the lure sink to the bottom before trolling off again. Another option is to zig-zag the deep part of the creek bed. During your turns, the lure slows down and sinks and when the line straightens it speeds up, working higher into the water column.

On the shallow flats, trolling lures that dive 3-5m deep has been scoring plenty of golden perch. The Murray cod have been active too and there were plenty of captures last month. In one session, I landed three in less than 20 minutes. Most of the cod are great fun to catch but are under the legal limit of 60cm. Be sure to handle these fish carefully and release them safely.

The banks of the lake can be accessed from the road that leads to the left after entering the boom gates, which cost $2 to open. From here, take the walking tracks toward the wall. There are plenty of deeper weed-free banks to fish in this area. Casting spinnerbaits and suspending lures like Squirrels, C’ultiva Rippin’ Minnows or Rapala Shad Raps will give you a good chance of catching all the species you are likely to encounter. Golden perch and big silver perch are regular captures along this section of water. Small cod are quite common and on the odd occasion some bigger ones are hooked too.

Closest Town/s: Inglewood

Coolmunda has been fishing well. Golden perch are the most common species caught. Other captures include jew, silver perch and the odd Murray cod. Live baits of shrimp and crayfish have been producing well. It pays to have an assortment of baits to see what the fish prefer on the day. Trolling lures is another option. Medium to deep diving lures fished close to the old creek channel will do the trick. The area out from the dam wall is always a popular spot. Trolled lures are more likely offerings than bait for catching cod.

Those anglers who specifically target cod are most likely to catch them. To do this, use deep diving lures that swim with a strong, vibrating action and troll close to submerged structure found along the old creek bed drop-offs. You could also try casting big spinnerbaits around the areas of standing timber.

The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only 1-2km 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. 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
Closest Town/s: Murgon, Goomeri

Bjelke-Petersen remains at a similar level to last month. Although this is only around 3%, the lake has been stable for some time and the fishing has been great. Live baits have been accounting for most of the fish. Baits like shrimp, worms, crays and frozen prawns can be fished from the shore for mixed bags of fish. The Quarry area is a good spot to try for shore-based anglers. Jew, golden perch and bass are common captures and some days it’s not hard to reach your limit. With this being the case, anglers need to exercise a responsible attitude by releasing under-sized fish and not exceeding bag limits. Fisheries officers have been patrolling the lake and monitoring anglers’ catches.

Boat launching is still okay below the far boat ramp. Once on the water take care to stick to the old creek bed. It is here that trolling lures is an effective way to target bass and golden perch. The standout lures have been Jackall TN60’s and the new 1/2oz SMAK Tournament Pro Select spinnerbait series. When trolling these lures use either an electric motor or petrol engine to maintain a slow speed.

The kiosk at the lake stocks live bait and an extensive range of tackle. Once you’ve got the right gear or bait, or even a belly full of food, they’ll be able to point you to some of the hot spots.

Closest Town/s: Proston, Kingaroy

Casting lures into the weeded edges has been scoring both golden perch and bass. The trick is to land the lure right in the weed and rip it out before retrieving back to the boat. Small pockets formed by bays and gullies are prime fish holding country. The standout lures have been silent Jackalls and Mask Vib Jackalls. The silent action they have seems to tempt more fish than noisier offerings.

Trolling deep divers around the points and rocky areas in the main basin will attract some golden perch. The fish have shown a liking to purple coloured lures in the past so these should be a good choice. Slow trolling with heavy spinnerbaits or TN60 and TN70 Jackalls in the same areas will often catch fish too. Again, purple seems to be a good colour.

Bait will produce jew, goldens and the odd bass in the Boyne timbered reaches. Try live shrimp, worms and frozen prawns. It’s a good idea to move around if the action is slow. Try different depths until some fish are found.

With the lake continually falling, dangerous obstacles are becoming more of a problem. When travelling up the dam, stick to the deeper water and avoid cutting the corners. The Islands were almost exposed in early October. These are located on the left hand side of the lake after the third buoy from the ramp. They are around 100m from the left hand bank and 400m before The Junction.

Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy can look after all of your fishing needs. Call in and see the guys. The store is in Youngman Street and the guys can help you out and offer some useful advice. Bass to Barra Marine has now opened another store in Dalby. This shop stocks a great range of quality gear for bass and barra fishing. It’s located in Shop 2 Drayton Street so be sure to check it out.

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: Eidsvold

It’s hard to predict how Wuruma will be fishing this month. Low water levels 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.

Closest Town/s: Gin Gin, Bundaberg

The cooler water temperatures over the last month produced good results for those casting lures in the lake. The barra were patrolling the shallow, warmer water found in bays and feeder creeks. With the fish concentrated in these areas, they were more easily located and easy to catch.

During November, the water temperature will rise and the fish will head for deeper water. Fishing the shallows will still be a good night time or early morning option. When casting to these areas try shallow diving lures like B52s, Bomber Long As, or 100mm soft plastics.

As the day gets warmer, try to locate the fish around likely looking features in 3-5m of water. If you can find submerged structure in this depth, the area will be more likely to hold barra. When casting, run deeper lures like Classic Barra 10+s, Jackall Doozers or soft plastic shads or swimbaits.

Trolling in the main basin was slow last month. With the increase in water temperature forcing fish into deeper water, it should start to pick up. If last year’s season is any indication, it will again be a good year for 1m+ fish with the average fish being between 70-90cm.

Although it cops a hammering, Bird Bay continues to produce quality fish. Other areas worth exploring are Seventh Day Adventist Bay, White Rocks and B-Section.

Capricornia Region
Closest Town/s: Biloela

This barra season is set to be another ripper. Some outstanding captures of barra have already been made. The fish should be moving out of the shallows and into deeper water this month. The creek bed drop-offs are the most likely haunts for barra at this time of year.

Trolling medium diving lures like Vipers, Mid Thunders, 4m Bandit Prowlers and Classic Barra 10+ and 15+ will produce some quality barra. These lures can also be cast when fish are located and more confined to particular areas.

Soft plastic fishing has really taken off in recent times at Callide. Anglers have realised the versatility of these lures and are using them in different situations. The 100mm Slick Rig in the drop bear colour is one of the most commonly used plastics. Other companies offer swimbaits that are suitable. The beauty of these lures is that they are pre-rigged with quality hooks that can stand up to the abuse dished out by the big fish. The Berkley Pogy range is ideal. These lures have a good tail action with the added bonus of a nice body roll. This body roll will often tempt more fish than other brands that don’t have this characteristic.

Boat launching at the lake is fine. The level is currently at around 9%. What many people don’t realise is that Callide Dam is fed by water which is pumped across from Lake Awoonga. The lake has actually risen over the last couple of months without any help from rainfall.

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 g’day at the shop. Biloela is close enough to be a great home base for any trips to Callide. The town has all the essentials – groceries, fuel, pubs and even a KFC.

Closest Town/s: Monto

The fishing at Cania will be outstanding this month. The lake is far enough away from the major centres that it receives little fishing pressure. Bass have been the main species on offer. Golden perch, silver perch and saratoga are also common encounters.

The deep water opposite the boat launching area should be holding some good schools of bass. This should also be the case along the bank opposite the old concrete boat ramp. When these schools are located, they aren’t fussy. They’ll eat trolled or cast lures. Try offerings like spinnerbaits, Jackalls, deep diving hard bodies and soft plastics.

Further up the dam where the banks taper more gently, there is a better chance of catching mixed bags by casting lures to the edges. Try soft plastics, lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

Creek to Coast at Biloela stock a great range of lures that can be used at this magical lake. They can be contacted on (07) 4992 1288. For accommodation at the lake, contact the Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park. This great park is only a short drive from the lake and offers camping, caravan sites and cabins. You can enquire about the fishing or book your stay by giving them a call on (07) 4167 8188.

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

The lake has been a bit quiet for this time of year. Last month cool and windy weather kept the water temperature very low and the fish weren’t very active. With the arrival of warmer weather, the barra are expected to become easier targets.

Casting lures to the weeded edges is one of the most reliable ways to entice Proserpine’s monster barra. Day break has been the best time to be on the water and at your spot. If you are prepared to sit it out, the night can also produce well. Anchoring out from the weed and repeatedly casting in towards it will eventually pay off. The barra tend to roam around after dark and when they arrive in an area, the action can be fast and furious. The best lures for casting have been the Rapala X-Rap SXR14 and the Squidgy 130mm Slick Rig.

The trolling scene will pick up a bit too. Lures like the 12+ Barra Bait trolled outside the weed in the shallower water are a good option. The river bed will also hold some decent fish and these can be chased using lures like the 20+ Barra Bait.

With the lake at around 15% one might expect boat launching to be a drama, but a new ramp has been completed and once this is opened, launching of big boats won’t be a problem. It was expected to be open before November so by now the job of putting boats on the water should be much easier.

Lindsay Dobe runs charters on Lake Proserpine. 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.

Northern Tropics and Tablelands
Closest Town/s: Ravenshoe, Innisfail

It will be an absolute sooty smash-a-thon in the dam in November. The sooty grunter will belt anything that moves. If you have some lures or techniques that you haven’t yet had a chance to try, now is the time.

In the last month, James Coate has been using 50mm Squidgy Wrigglers with a 1/16oz round jighead. His first technique is to look for timber piles on the water’s edge. James has a preference for timber extending into the water or large tree trunks lying horizontally from the edge and running into deeper water.

James explains, “The aim is to cast the plastic up to or just above the water’s edge and then slow hop it down the timber itself. You’ll see the fish stalk and attack the lure. Sometimes they’ll dash out from nowhere and just smash it. Even a gentle retrieve with no hopping at all can be as effective”.

The second method James regularly uses is to vertically drop and jig over timber lying across the bottom. Water from 3-15m deep can be fished effectively. Use slow lifts of the lure as you gently move along. This will draw a lot of attention. Be prepared to lock up quickly because, as soon as the sooties hook up, they head straight back for the timber. Don’t underestimate the strength of the sooty; on light gear they’re an absolute challenge.

The spangled perch is a common species in the dam and a good food source for barra which are stocked into the lake. Small pecks detected through light braided lines are often these fish having a go at your lure. They frequently inhabit shallow snag piles during the warmer months. Therefore, any snags that are holding these fish will naturally draw the attention of the lake’s barra and are worth targeting during an evening session.

The road into the dam isn’t too bad but there are some horrendous potholes that are pretty deep, so take care.

New England Ranges (N.S.W.)
Closest Town/s: Inverell

John Hodgens reports that after a quiet period over the cooler months, the lake has started to produce. Golden perch are the most common fish being caught. There have also been a few jew mixed in for those anglers fishing with baits. Both bait and lures have been tempting the goldens.

In some areas blue green algae is present. Try to avoid contact with the water in these places as it can cause sickness. The fish are fine to eat from lakes suffering from blue green algae blooms. It’s not common practice, but avoid eating any of the intestines as this part of the fish can carry traces of the algae.

Lake Copeton will be hosting the Great Inland Fishing Festival on the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of December. There are plenty of great prizes on offer with $20,000+ worth of cash and gear up for grabs. For information about the competition call the Inverell Tourist Information Centre on (02) 6728 8161. To find out what’s biting and book accommodation or a camp site at Copeton Dam, contact the Copeton Waters State Park Administration Centre on (02) 6723 6269.

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