The rains are here!
  |  First Published: March 2004

MOST dams in the south east have copped some rise in water levels. As I write this article the water in Maroon and Moogerah is rising and is onto the boat ramps so launching should be easier in the future. When you read this report the levels may have risen even more. One can only hope!


Sometimes the rise in water levels puts the fish off the bite for a little while until the water settles and clears. Once everything settles down in Maroon then it’s time to get out your surface lures and shallow running jerkbaits and target the grassy edges. I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing some of the best bass fishing I’ve seen after water rises. Sight fishing bass cruising through the flooded grass and bushes with surface lures and fly is great fun. You’ll pick up plenty of fish blind casting to the banks but watch for movements in the grass and slight dimples on the surface because sometimes the bass are only feeding on small ants and insects. A fizzer, popper or walking surface lure presented close by is usually hammered at the first movement. Small suspending minnows (jerkbaits) cast to the same areas and tweaked back with long pauses in the retrieve will get the same results. These are mostly early morning and late evening techniques but if the day is cloudy or there is lots of cover around, give it a go all day.

Spinnerbaits, plastics and lipless crankbaits will catch fish for you when the bass pull back to deeper water through the day. Spinnerbaits of all colours work in this dam at times and every day is a new story, so try all colours before giving up on them. My favourites at the moment in Maroon are dark purple, chartreuse and black. The same colours for plastics seem to work for me. With lipless crankbaits I like either shock colours or very natural depending on fish moods. Shock colours, which fish react violently to when aggressive, are chartreuse or striped and the naturals are gold and light greens and purples – the colouring of rainbow fish. I like the Jackall brand of these lures.


This dam has risen from 3% to 10% so far in a couple of weeks. Once things settle, work the banks and ledges with spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and jerkbaits. Sometimes the fish in this dam will react to surface lures but not often. If surface lures are ever going to work it should be now, when the water is up over new areas and the fish are chasing all types of food in the shallow water. I have two favourite lures and colours in this dam – the purple shad (light purple) Greenfish spinnerbait with diamond blades and a gold Jackall lipless crankbait.

Some big cod have been caught in these dams lately and most have been released from what I hear. They are a once in a lifetime capture for some lucky anglers so let’s keep on releasing them for everyone to enjoy.

For a charter on the dams or in the New England ranges, where they have copped a heap of water down the rivers, give me a call on (07) 5463 4096 or 0407 596 814.

1) Mackay reporter Keith Day recently went to Maroon Dam to catch his first Australian bass. He failed dismally at first, landing this 30lb-ish Mary River cod, but succeeded 10 minutes later when a lovely 35cm bass hit the deck.

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