Feeling the heat
  |  First Published: February 2004

OUR dams and the fish will be feeling the heat this month. Most of the lakes throughout South East Queensland are low and urgently need rain. The months of January and February have been known to produce the heavy rainfalls to fill these dams so, fingers crossed, some heavy falls may replenish our lakes’ waters. If there are no such changes to the levels of the lakes, the following reports should be fairly accurate.


Bass should be scattered along the weeded edges and in the deep water. Most anglers will be getting into some steady action using various techniques all over the lake.

Schooled bass can be found around the thermoclines in the deepest parts of the lake. Study your sounder screen in the area out from the boat ramp and across to the island, and also at the start of the fishing area in the Bull Creek arm, to locate the best concentrations of fish. Once found, target these fish using live shrimp, paddle-tail grubs, jigs, deep fly and trolled deep divers.

Around the edges there are bass and the odd yellowbelly on just about every bank. The fish can be caught around the shallow weed in the mornings and afternoons and slightly deeper during the heat of the day. Casting reaction style lures has been more successful than using soft plastics and flies. AusSpin ProSpin spinnerbaits have been accounting for plenty of bass. These and other similar downsized spinnerbaits with silver blades are the key to spinnerbaiting success in Cressbrook. Other lures worth trying are beetle spins, lipless crankbaits and Celtas.

The surface action should be quite good in the mornings and exceptional in the afternoons. Working around the weed beds in both arms with cup-faced poppers and walk-the-dog style lures will score both small and large bass. I’ve always found that surface lures consistently produce bigger fish in the lake.

If you can find a supply of live shrimp there’ll be plenty of small bass to help you get rid of them. Watch the size and bag limits (30cm and two per person). A few yellowbelly will also turn up when targeting bass, and you can chase the yellas by fishing your baits along some of the steeper, more rocky banks.


The lake should be fishing pretty well, with lure trolling being the best option to land fish.

Both bass and yellowbelly can be caught from the lower reaches of the lake where the water is deeper. Here, working in and around the old creek channel will see you in the right zone. Shallow to mid divers and downsized spinnerbaits have been the best lures to troll.

If you plan to navigate your way to the top end of the dam, it’s wise to stay in the deeper water. There are plenty of hazards hiding in the shallower water just below the surface, waiting to split hulls or damage props. If you feel comfortable travelling through this water, it can be worthwhile, as bass have been holding around the edges in shallow water. It’s best to look for water that’s around 2m deep and then drops away to 3-4m when it reaches the old creek bed. Here the fish can be caught using lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

Bait has been working best in the mornings and afternoons. With live shrimp hard to come by, anglers opting for worms and frozen prawns have found success on yellowbelly and jew.


Deep diving lures like Smak 19s and Blitz Bagas have been scoring bags of yellowbelly. Trolling these lures around the edges and points, particularly in the morning and afternoon, has been best.

Bass can be found in schools in the deeper water in the middle of the dam at the wall end. However, just because these fish are in deep water doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be suspending deep; quite often it’s best to troll shallow running lures or spinnerbaits. Once you’ve located the schools you can target them with soft plastics, flies and jigs. Working around the edges of the submerged islands located halfway down the dam with soft plastics produces bass at times.


Although it receives plenty of fishing pressure, Somerset continues to produce fish. Catches of yellowbelly from the old river channel have been consistent. Try trolling medium to deep diving lures along the drop-offs to the old river or creek beds north of Pelican Point. Most of these fish will be 1.5-2kg bracket with the odd bigger fish thrown in.

Bass schools can be hard to locate at this time of year. Look for fish anywhere between The Spit and Pelican Point. Normally the fish move closer to the wall (South of Pelican Point) in the hot months and because of the low water level, and the majority of bass should be found somewhere in this area. Often when fish aren’t schooled in their normal haunts along the drop-offs to the old creek and river beds, they can be found suspended in the deeper water of the creek or river beds themselves.

Even when located, these fish can still be stubborn to catch. Casting soft plastics or deeply presented flies will normally yield a few. The quality of the fish makes up for the lack of numbers and, as always when you’re fishing Somerset, there’s a good chance of boating a big bass.

1) The picture attached is of a recently caught bass from Somerset Dam. The fish was caught on a Slider rigged on a 1/2oz jighead and fished through suspended fish in deep water.

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