GREAT conditions continue at Clarrie Hall Dam, with the water level climbing to 100%, thanks to welcome rain throughout February.
This represented a 10% increase and has covered some heavily grassed shoreline. The Bass are bound to be up into the edges for the food so everything from small crankbaits to spinners, spinnerbaits, soft plastics, flies and surface lures should produce good catches. If you include the enormous numbers of airborne terrestrial life that’s about, this all provides for fat happy bass.
So the shorelines are the way to go if you’re venturing up that way over the next month. The best part of the dam is the top half from Crams Farm to the mid reaches. It has the best cover along its shore, appears to have a great deal more baitfish and the water clarity is also a lot better.
My tip would be to work the shorelines with lures that are able to cover the depth of water. In other words, a sounder is a big help but looking at the shoreline can also provide a glimpse into what lies beneath. Steep banks with a narrow line of lilies mean you have deep water. Shallow water is obvious by the numbers of weed types that extend some way out from the shore.
There are many timbered areas in the dam which bass love. A lure dropped vertically down beside a tree will often produce better than average fish. On other days, dropping a spinnerbait deep and cranking back at speed will cause the fish to react quickly to an ‘escaping’ lure.
The shallows are the easiest places to fish with small, shallow-diving crankbaits, spinners, surface lures and a fly on an intermediate line.
The rivers have been well worth fishing recently and this should continue into March. About the only thing that will prevent that will be a full-blown flood and that’s a possibility at this time of year. The best lures have been small soft plastics, 1/4oz spinnerbaits, shallow crankbaits and, when the opportunity presents itself, surface lures.
Creek junctions have proved to be great holding locations along with areas where there are overhanging trees, undercut banks or both. Bass like to locate close to feeding stations, where the food that ends up in the stream is brought to them – so the heads of pools are also high on the fishes’ pick of spots.
Try your best not to handle the fish too much. Definitely don’t suspend it so the gills are put under pressure; rather, support the belly of the fish. Gently slipping it back into the water gives it a much higher chance of survival than a triple backward belly flop into shallow water.
I recently gave a talk on Clarrie Hall to some members of the South East Queensland Fly Fishers Association. Their enthusiasm was refreshing and they love to fly-fish. There are members who are fortunate enough to travel and fish all around the world, professional fly-tiers and plenty of people who just love to fly fish. If you’re a fly angler or are keen to learn, email me and I will pass on the info. It gets you in with people who are keen to share their knowledge and expertise in a friendly and social way.Reads: 500