Cast away!
  |  First Published: May 2003


For the past month the fishing action has been rather slow. Apart from some stunning surface strikes in the mornings and afternoons, the fish have been difficult to entice. I saw Cressbrook go through a similar phase a couple of years ago; the water has turned crystal clear and the fish are really tough to catch.

Persistence will see a few bass caught around the weeded edges, and the most successful lures have been beetlespins and spinnerbaits. On the edges of the weed, schooled fish can be found in three to six metres of water. These fish will respond to soft plastics and occasionally reaction baits like spinnerbaits as well. The size of bass being caught using these techniques has been pretty poor.

With a boom in the garfish population, the surface activity has increased dramatically. Bass are again chasing the gar, particularly in the mornings and afternoons. Despite the fact that they are feeding close to the surface, plastics, jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits have produced little success when fished just below the surface. The fish are responding best to surface lures. ‘Walk the dog’ and cupped face popper styles have both been working well. My favourites are Eddy’s Surface Buster and Rapala’s Skitter Pop. Most of the fish hitting the surface lures have been pretty small, but recently we’ve accounted for a few bass approaching the 50cm mark.

With the cooler weather not far away, I expect that the fishing will pick up. Each winter for the past six years has produced some of the best fishing action Cressbrook has to offer.


There has been plenty of action at the lake recently for both lure casters and bait fishers. Trolling, on the other hand, has slowed down considerably.

Soft plastics have been producing good catches of bass in the deeper water at the wall end of the dam. One good spot in particular has been between the two boat ramps. By using a quality sounder, you should be able to find fish suspending four to seven metres down, in water 10 to 15 metres deep.

Yellowbelly are showing up at the same end of the lake, as well as in areas like Bass Point and Lightning Ridge. They are being seduced by live shrimp or worm baits. In the mornings and afternoons, jew should also get involved in the baitfishing action.

Trolling lures has been having patchy results. Working them in the mornings and afternoons should account for more fish than throughout the day. Expect to catch mainly yellowbelly and the occasional bass.

If there has been no significant rise in the water level over the last month, the lake’s capacity should be at around 30%. The back end of the lake is quite shallow and that’s why there are more fish seeking the comfort of deeper water at the wall end.


Boondooma is also fishing slow on trolled lures, but bait and lure casting are producing quite good results. At about 38% capacity, there’s still plenty of water for the fish to hide in.

In the main basin, soft plastics have been taking quality bass. As usual, it’s a matter of searching the deep water at the wall end to locate the schools. When you’ve found them, you should be in for some great action. Some days the fish are harder to find, making for patchy results.

Spinnerbaits are accounting for yellowbelly and bass in the timber up both arms. The Stuart arm is fishing a bit better than the Boyne because there is more submerged structure for the fish to hide in. Steadily winding white spinnerbaits so they bump through the drowned trees has been the best technique.

Trolling lures hasn’t been very successful of late. Baitfishing with live shrimp around the Boyne timber has been a popular and relaxing way to score a few fish.

If you’re interested in fishing Bjelke or Boondooma with the help of a guide, phone Matthew Mott at Burnett Valley Sportfishing on (07) 4168 4811. Matthew has a vast knowledge of both lakes to share with his clients.


There have been a few yellowbelly taking trolled lures lately. These 1-2kg fish have been coming from the rocky banks and snaggy drop-offs, and the rocky banks around The Spit and the mouth of Beam Creek have been fishing reasonably well too.

The bass schools are still holding between The Spit and Pelican Point. Trolling deep diving lures will account for some fish, but lure casting has been more successful. Soft plastics like Slider Grubs rigged on 1/2oz heads have been working well. Jigs and deeply presented flies will also take their share of fish. With the water level higher and now stable, some of the bass have moved back into the bay west of The Hump. There are also smaller patches of bass holding on the old river bed drop-off in the Bay 13 area and further north.


The forktailed catfish will still be making their presence felt this month. Maybe next month the water temperature will have dropped enough to see the catfish population slow down. It could be worth looking in the Pelican Island area for bass on trolled lures. Apart from that, there are plenty of garfish around the edges.

1) An Eddy’s Surface Buster was the downfall of this Cressbrook bass.

2) This bass was taken at Somerset Dam on a AusSpin Prospin spinnerbait.

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