Winter Patterns Emerging
  |  First Published: April 2003

NOW that we’re moving into the cooler months, our freshwater fish are starting to move from their summer staging haunts to where they feel more comfortable in winter mode. Much of their behaviour at this time of the year will depend on whether we get more water in our dams. The rains at the end of February changed water levels very little in Maroon, Moogerah and most of the dams in the southeast corner of Queensland.

Only a few years back we thought that all fish moved to deeper water in winter to find more comfortable conditions. In some dams this just doesn’t happen. In the first BASS Pro comp this year (at Lake Glenbawn) we had to fish 40ft deep to catch big bass; all the weedbeds held legal fish but they were all under 40cm. I’m not sure why. Perhaps all the big girls were down at the wall end of the dam hoping to go over and down the river to breed, or possibly all the bait that the larger fish wanted was down deep.

In Moogerah the bass move out of the shallows and go deep in winter. After fishing winter bass in Moogerah for about five years I reckon they follow the baitfish to the deep water, and it wouldn’t actually worry them to stay shallow except that there’s nothing to eat there. In Maroon they stay shallow on the weedbeds where the shrimp and minnow forage, which is different from Moogerah where the bony bream school in the deeper water.

In Cressbrook and Somerset Dam a lot of fish are caught shallow in winter, possibly because the gar in there feed around the banks at that time. However, Somerset fish can also be found in the deep water during winter as they feed on the bony bream schools.

Dams with similar baitfish species and structure should see similar in habits in their fish species – or so you’d think! Sometimes it just doesn’t work that way, and that’s why we go fishing – it’s never exactly the same all the time!

If you’re heading to Maroon or Moogerah the boat ramps are out of the water so you need to launch off the bank. A four-wheel-drive is not essential, but after rain the bank becomes very slippery so, while putting the boat in is easy, you may not get it out. Most dams in the southeast corner are low and require care when launching, retrieving and travelling. Check my web site at www.greenfish.com.au or give me a call on 0407 596 814 for a charter on the dams.

1) In April the bass usually start to move from their summer haunts to where they feel more comfortable in winter mode.

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