Spring Changes on the Impoundment Scene
  |  First Published: September 2008

Spring signals a time for change in the impoundments; the golden perch liven up, bass change their habits, and the barra increase their activity. Therefore, expect to see more boats on the water.

Some of the lakes have risen over the past six months and now that they have had time to settle, the action should pick up. Already we are seeing the signs on lakes like Boondooma, Bjelke and Monduran. The fish in some of these lakes are in prime condition after the rise in water, as it provided nutrients and more food.

The fishing over the last 12 months has been trying at times, so this spring should be the start of better things to come. Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.

South East Queensland
Closest Towns: Crows Nest, Toowoomba

Cressbrook has been producing quite a few bass from all parts of the lake. And there are plenty of options when it comes to catching these fish, but most are only small.

T-tail soft plastics have been accounting for some reasonable bass both in schools and around the edges. Rig them on 1/4oz jigheads for shallower presentations and up to a 1/2oz head for fishing the deeper water. Other lures that have been performing well have been TT 1/8oz Switch Blade and Evergreen 1/2oz Little Max. These blades baits are very versatile in that they can be fished at various depths to suit the location and of course, the fish.

Small crankbaits cast and retrieved around the edges will also tempt plenty of bass. The 4cm Rapala Countdown has been quite effective. As the water warms up, the bass may start responding better to reaction baits like spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits. If these lures aren’t producing for you, stick with the smaller and slower presentations.

The surface fishing has been pretty good right through winter, though with warmer temperatures on the way this action should fire up. The peak of the topwater action is likely to be around October. I’m predicting that the surface action will be the best we’ve had at Cressy for some time. Of course this will depend on the water level and the amount of fishing pressure the bass receive.

The water level is very low but boats can still be launched easily from the gravel boat ramp. Take care when navigating, as there are some shallow areas out from the banks. Speed restrictions of 8 knots in open water and 4 knots close to the shore are still in place. Don’t forget your $2 entry fee at the gate. This allows you to access the boat ramp and BBQ, picnic and playground facilities.

Fish’n’Bits in Alderly Street offers all of the required gear and tackle for fishing Cressbrook and Queensland’s many other lakes. The experienced staff there will help you out with the most up to date information.

Closest Towns: Esk, Kilcoy

Somerset continues to be a tough fishing destination. Last month, there were reports of the odd bass taken from the edges of the lake on spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits but the schooled fish were playing tough. On at least one occasion, some bass schooled up and a group of anglers was able to boat around 40 fish.

September has always been a good month on Somerset. It’s the time of year that the bass tend to school up if they haven’t already done so over the winter period. In spring, the bass are also more willing to bite on a wider range of offerings. If schools can be found, try using soft plastics, soft lipless crankbaits and blade baits. If the fish refuse these lures, try fooling them with ice jigs or deeply presented flies.

There is the possibility of finding schooled bass anywhere from the wall right up to Bay 13. With the higher water level, there should be numerous spots holding the fish. Follow the creek bed drop-offs and venture up onto the bordering flats to locate them.

Somerset had another rise in July. This may persuade the fish that have been holding around the edges to remain in the area. Golden perch and bass will eat both spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits cast into the shallows. The area in the timber north of Kirkleigh is certainly worth a look.

Trolling lures around the rock walls and medium tapering banks in the lower reaches of the dam should produce golden perch. Spring is the time of year when they fire up after the cold winter period. Small medium to deep diving lures will account for some quality golden perch and the occasional small bass.

Closest Towns: Fernvale, Esk

Wivenhoe’s famous schooling bass have been tough so far this year. The bass have been scattered making them tough to locate and catch in good numbers.

Trolling lures is a good option when the bass are scattered. You can use deep diving hard bodies or soft lipless crankbaits to produce the goods. Trolling allows you to cover stacks of water in search of the scattered fish. Once some bass are located, pull up and give the area a thorough work over with cast lures. Small schools of mobile fish will hang together and there is a good chance of picking up several from the one area. Try working the area out from Billies Bay and up toward the buoy line closer to the wall.

On a positive note, there have been some exceptional bass taken from the shallow water on spinnerbaits. These big bass have been well over 2kg and are great fun on light spin or baitcasting tackle. Once again the banks in the same area of the lake are producing fish. There have also been quite a few taken around the island further down the lake.

Closest Town: Boonah

Moogerah’s peak fishing period is from August to September. Having spent plenty of time on the lake, and received reports from other anglers, it seems that the fish population has suffered considerably from last summer’s rise and fish kill, but thankfully not all the fish were lost – there is definitely a population of bass, goldens and cod.

I have heard reports of big goldens being caught and bass up to 40cm. As the water starts to warm up, Moogerah’s fish will start to move back to shallow water. In these holding areas, they’ll be responsive to both soft plastic finesse presentations and reaction baits. Any of the lakes rocky outcrops are worth working with a rolled lipless crankbait or a jighead rigged slider or bass minnow.

The same presentations will also work in and around the Reynolds Creek timbered drop-offs. Jerkbaiting the clean shale banks can also be successful on Moogerah during spring. Bass, goldens and silver perch are common captures in these areas. Jackall Bros Squirrel 67’s are a perfect choice. I prefer colours like HL ayu, koayu, wakasagi and ghost ayu.

Keeping it simple is the key to a successful trip to Moogerah this month. Have a quiver of rods rigged with some simple and proven presentations and try them all before moving spots. – Chris Galligan

Closest Towns: Boonah, Rathdowney

Anglers who fished Maroon through winter noticed the fish holding unusually shallow and a little hard to tempt with typical presentations. Golden perch seemed to be a common capture when targetting Maroon’s winter bass.

Looking forward to spring we can expect bass and goldens to become more active and with the right conditions an increase in surface action.

Shallow weed beds and lilies will start to flourish and take a good hold on the lake in the next few months. These will be a great place to start looking for a few fish. The nursery area will see more fish taking up residence, as will other bays and flats. Don’t dismiss super-shallow areas of only 1-2ft during the low light periods of the day. Goldens will move a little deeper and become less common on lures.

September is a transition month giving anglers the opportunity to fish a whole range of presentations, Mask Frogs, lipless cranks, jigs, jerkbaits and soft plastic finesse rigs will all have a use at the right time on Maroon.

Maroon’s water quality has improved over the winter months and most of the duckweed has subsided. If you would like any information on Lake Maroon’s fishing or you have any reports on a recent trip, please drop me an email at --e-mail address hidden-- – Chris Galligan

Darling Downs Granite Belt Region
Closest Towns: Meringandan, Toowoomba

The fishing at Cooby has been ordinary. There has been the odd undersized Murray cod caught and released but otherwise it has been tough. The action is likely to pick up at the end of this month when the weather starts to warm up and the golden perch get more active.

Try fishing with live shrimp close to the drop-offs if you have a boat or off the steeper walls if you are shore-based. Live shrimp will be the key to catching fish and these can be purchased at Fish’n’Bits in Alderly Street Toowoomba.

Closest Town: Inglewood

The talk of a fish kill at Coolmunda was doing the rounds about a month ago. I’m unsure of what killed the fish in the lake but have heard that the majority of dead fish were bony bream. This provided some relief as I had visions of a devastating toll on the stocked fish population.

Prior to the kill, the action on live shrimps was unbelievable. Golden perch were biting like crazy with some anglers scored a fish for each shrimp they had. I only hope they were sticking to the size and bag limits. September should see the golden perch pick up again.

Shrimp will produce the best catches and lure fishing will again start to produce. Medium diving lures trolled around the drop-offs to the creek bed can attract enough strikes from goldens to make it interesting – and there’s always a chance of hooking one of the big Murray cod that inhabit the lake when you are luring.

The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only around 1km away from the lake. The park is just off the Cunningham Highway but 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. To take advantage of this and the great fishing opportunities in the lake and the river below, give the park a call on (07) 4652 4171.

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

Once again, the fishing from the banks of Bjelke will fire up. Good catches of golden perch, catfish and the odd bass can be expected. Anglers using baits of shrimp, frozen prawns and worms around the boat ramps and The Quarry area will pull a mix of fish for their efforts.

Boats on the lake can expect similar results when fishing with bait, but trolling and casting lures are the other option. The creek bed drop-off will be holding schools of bass and golden perch. These fish can be caught by trolling or casting. Spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits work well when using either technique. The new Mini Coop spinnerbait has been racking up some impressive catches of late. When casting, try a soft plastic or soft lipless crankbait as well as the other lures.

Casting lures around the banks will also produce some action. Bass and golden perch will take lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits tossed around the shallower water. You can even try trolling shallow running lures closer to the edges.

Recent catches have indicated that the fish are doing well; they have picked up in size and condition. The extra water in the dam has made things look brighter for the future of the lake.

If you do wish to get in on the action, remember to stick to the regulations, size and bag limits and always carry your Stocked Impoundment Permit. To check up on the fishing give Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy a phone call on (07) 4162 7555.

Closest Towns: Proston, Kingaroy

The fishing at Boondooma had been good until a small rise dirtied the water in late July. The water won’t take long to clear and the fishing will have fired back up for this month. There are schooling bass holding in the deeper water of the middle and upper reaches of the dam. These schooled fish will take soft plastics, ice jigs, blade baits and soft lipless crankbaits.

Towards the end of the month, the fishing on the banks will pick up. There isn’t much weed about at present but the warmer conditions and clearer water will provide ideal growing conditions. As the weed takes off, look for the better patches as these are likely to hold good numbers of bass and golden perch. When fishing the banks try using lures like lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and T-tail soft plastics.

At around half full, there is plenty of water to venture up into both of the timbered arms. These areas are worth trying with lures and bait, for bass and golden perch. Goldens will also be holding around the rocky points in the main basin of the dam. Here they can be trolled up with medium to deep running lures or tempted with baits like shrimp, prawns and worms.

Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy can look after all of your fishing needs. The store is in Youngman Street and the guys can help you out and offer some useful advice. Bass to Barra Marine can also be found in Dalby, and both shops stock 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 the managers a call on (07) 4168 9694. Boondooma has excellent amenities, bunk houses, cabins, powered sites and camping facilities that will make your stay enjoyable. Boats can be launched below the far boat ramp from a reasonably hard bank.

Closest Town: Monto

Despite falling back to only 5%, the dam is still producing good numbers of fish. Lure anglers are reaping the rewards of the great fishing on offer. Both trolling and casting lures is producing good numbers of bass and golden perch.

The main basin of the lake has been producing the best numbers of fish. The deep water straight out from the launching area holds reasonable numbers of fish and is a good starting point.

Saratoga were caught right through winter and warmer conditions should see the toga action pick up. Casting lures around structure in the shallow water will attract these fish. Spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits will score some strikes. If you want to target the toga, try a beetle spin rigged with a 3” paddle tailed plastic – saratoga love them.

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. There are excellent facilities including campsites, cabins, a playground and a swimming pool. It’s worth a visit to the park just to see some of the rare and beautiful wildlife that regularly drop in and live in the area.

Closest Town: Eidsvold

It was about 16 months ago that fish stocks in Wuruma Dam suffered a major blow. Thousands of bass and barra died in a major fish kill. It’s been hard to source a report on the lake as not many anglers fish it and the fish kill kept them away for some time.

The good news is that the bass fishing has recovered well. There have been reports of anglers scoring heaps of quality bass casting lures around the edges and at schools of fish. The quality of Wuruma’s bass is exceptional with plenty of the fish being over 40cm in length.

Wuruma offers a great fishery. It is virtually untouched because it is remote enough from the major centres to keep flocks of anglers away. Once the word gets out, I’m sure more anglers will visit this awesome lake.

Closest Town: Gin Gin

Monduran produced barra right over the winter period. This is great news as sometimes after winter we are left wondering when the barra action will start to pick up. With the fish being reasonably active during the cold months, they will be firing as soon as the warm spring days arrive.

The lake received almost another metre of water in July flooding even more fishy country. Trolling and casting will both be good options in September. Trollers can try working shallow and deep lures around the dam wall, Bird Bay and the points of the main basin. The full moon will be a popular time for this approach.

Lure casters are faced with almost endless possibilities. There are miles of creeks and hectares of timber to explore. The shallow flat areas of B and C are prime barra country. The barra will find the shallows attractive at this time of year, therefore try casting shallow running lures. Also try lipless crankbaits, soft plastics swim baits, and frogs.

Fish the lures to suit the mood of the fish. If the action is slow move the lures slowly to try to entice the strike. When action is fast, speed up the presentation to make the fish react.

Monduran is a massive lake that can leave you feeling lost and confused. If you’re heading there, call in to Foxies Barra Havoc in Gin Gin where they specialise in supplies for fishing the lake and can guide you in the right direction.

Capricornia Region
Closest Town: Benaraby, Gladstone

Hopefully the cold southwest winds that plagued last month are gone and September becomes a little warmer and more stable. Winds and weather patterns should start to settle in to southeasterly sea breezes and warmer days, with temps slowly rising into the 20ºC+ bracket.

So far this winter, fishing at Awoonga has failed to reach any great heights in comparison to the years gone by. Small windows, two to three days, have been very productive but have been followed by cold southwest changes, very cold nights and low temperatures.

Kurt Hutchby, Hatchery Manager from Gladstone area water board, released approx 60,000 fingerlings last month. The stocking of Lake Awoonga continues at an impressive rate, with total barra numbers now over 3 million. Kurt will be working on mangrove jacks in the coming months so fingers crossed, the hard work of the hatchery staff will pay off and we will get another stocking of jack fingerlings.

If weather this month improves and keeps a stable pattern, expect the fishing to fire up at Lake Awoonga. Casting the fringes and deeper edges will see great results, with Bombers, B-52’s, X-Raps, Stiffy’s, Classics and other similar lures being productive. Jackall Doozers are another awesome barra lure that are not talked about that often.

Medium to fast retrieves over mid-depth (4-10ft) as well as vertically jigged in deeper water or on the edge of drop-offs can be a very productive method. A great way to do this is to find and learn an edge that starts off shallow and slowly, but steadily, drops away to deeper water. Start with a fast retrieve and then as you get into deeper water slow right down and let the lure follow the contour of the bottom. Once you learn more drop-offs, this can become a lethal tactic and is often overlooked for shallow water fishing.

And remember that not all fish will be in shallow water. Barra have high tolerance of a range in temperature and will sit deeper in the cooler months.

Plastics will also be an effective method as the water warms and fish become more active. It’s no secret that swim baits are incredibly successful on wild, lake barra.

Using soft plastics is a very simple method. Casting them out and using a steady medium retrieve is all that’s required. If you are more experienced you can add your own twitch and speed variations to entice more strikes.

Don’t write off top water action either this month. If the weather and the mood of the fish are right, some surface action may be on the cards. The Zoom Horny Toad, the Batwing Frog from Berkley and the new Squidgy Boof Frog are most certainly worth a look. Hooks that are best for this style of plastic topwater are the TT SWS 1/8 hooks in size 6/0. Other proven top water lures like Tango Dancers, Luckycraft Sammies and Skitter Pops are all worthy contenders too.

If you’re interested in a guided Barra trip on either Lake Awoonga or Lake Monduran, check out my website at www.barramadness.com or give me a call on 0420 846345. Until next month, happy fishing! – Jason Wilhelm

Central Coast
Closest Town: Mackay

Due to the cooler water over the last month, weed growth was slow. In most areas, the weed and lily pads have receded. This makes fishing around these areas easier and productive. As with most stocked impoundments, the barra inhabit these weed beds during the cooler months for the warmer water and for food.

The downside with Kinchant is the large number of weed beds in the dam, and also knowing where to start. It makes selecting a fishing spot difficult. Location becomes very important as the barra move between the bays and points on a daily basis. Look for areas where baitfish are plentiful. They can usually be found in the shallow water frolicking on the surface or visually with polarised glasses. If you find the bait, the barra won’t be too far away.

Casting is still the better option with surface lures being one of the better options. Tango Dancers, Skitter Pops and soft plastic surface frogs have been producing good fish and make the fishing very exciting.

Try fishing in the late afternoon and into the night. Some people believe that fishing around the full moon makes the fish more active but this is no rule of thumb and plenty of fish are still caught around the new moon. Most people, including myself, prefer to fish the full moon because of the visibility. For any extra information on Kinchant Dam feel free to email me at --e-mail address hidden-- . – Daniel Grech

Closest Towns: Pinnacle, Mackay

Hopefully the southerly winds stay away this month and the water temperatures begin to rise. The southerly winds have made fishing very hard over the last few months.

Most fish caught recently at Teemburra have come on the calmer days and in the shallow open water. Calm days are very comfortable for fishing as it allows for a very stealthy approach; the slap of the waves hitting the boat often spooks the fish.

Shallow bays with very few trees are also extremely easy to fish and make landing fish painless. The majority of the larger fish are found in these bays, holding in the depth range of 5-10ft. These areas are often overlooked in Teemburra because of the appealing timber structures just around the corner.

Since the excessively damp wet season and dam level rise that occurred earlier this year, weed hasn’t been a big problem in Teemburra. As the days get longer and the water gets warmer, the weed growth should pick up and become very thick. Once the shallower water becomes overgrown with weed, it will make a number of the normal and productive fishing spots around shallow horizontal timber un-fishable. This is when heading deeper and finding the right depth becomes very important.

When the water warms up, try fishing the newly formed weedy drop-offs around bays and points as these are known fish holding features. Slick rigs and mid range depth lures are perfect for this situation. For any extra information on Teemburra Dam feel free to email me at --e-mail address hidden-- – Daniel Grech

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