This month, Pine Rivers Fish Management Association (PRFMA) President Ron Oliver responds to the question: “Where all the Lake Samsonvale yellowbelly?” Hopefully his advice will help all of you ardent golden perch fishers out there to catch a few!
LAKE Samsonvale (North Pine Dam) is a relatively new fishery in terms of boat fishing, so it still holds a lot of unknowns. In this magazine we’ve reported on the great bass being caught in Lake Samsonvale, but so far we haven’t said much about golden perch.
To date there have been over 320,000 golden perch stocked, along with approx. 263,000 Australian bass. Permit holders who access the lake, via the PRFMA’s Boating Access Scheme, are required to complete catch cards after each outing, and from these we have some interesting statistics. The total catch of bass and yellows is currently 5040 fish, but yellowbelly catches make up only 13% of this figure.
A possible reason for this low percentage is the high number of spangled perch and other predatory species (including bass stocked two years before the yellows) in the lake during the early years of stocking. The lack of standing timber and decent weed beds could also have contributed to the low yellowbelly catch, or it could be as simple as a lack of local knowledge.
I am still convinced that there are plenty of good quality yellows to be found if you’re prepared to put in the time to look for them. Lake Samsonvale is a new fishery, and unless you get out there and try new tactics – not all dams fish alike – you’ll never gain ‘local knowledge’.
I had a chat to a large number of permit holders and found that most have been targeting bass, and generally using lures. In doing so, they pick up the occasional yellowbelly. The few anglers who have been targeting yellows have had the most success on live bait.
So where are you most likely to find these elusive fish in the area accessible under the permit scheme?
The old river bed goes close to the shoreline in a few places, and running lures along these drop-offs may pay dividends. These areas have provided some nice specimens using bait.
Other areas worth a look are rocky outcrops in six or seven metres close to the old river bed. These have produced the best results for me, including a number of yellows around the 5kg mark. A couple of sites with sunken timber have been found, and these also have produced some nice fish. The old sunken bridge might be worth a try, but you’ll need to wait for the water levels to rise first.
Whether using lures or bait, a good sounder is a must to help you find the right spot, or even to locate the fish when they’ve schooled up.
Remember – the yellows are definitely out there!
There are still a number of boating access permits available for the 2002/2003 season. Just contact the PRFMA on 0417 742 023 or email --e-mail address hidden-- - Ron Oliver.
1) A 5kg thumper yellowbelly from Lake Samsonvale.Reads: 1937