Some interesting changes have been made for boaters to access Lake Cressbrook. Due to the low water level, trailer boats can no longer launch. This is because of the boggy edges and the deep excavation trench made when the lake was built. The trench runs out from the end of each boat ramp so they can’t be extended. Boats can be carried and launched and fishing from the edges is still permitted. To check whether these restrictions are still in place, you can call Parks and Recreation at the Toowoomba City Council on (07) 4688 6537.
Making the effort to launch your boat by hand could certainly be worthwhile; when the dam experiences less fishing pressure, the fishing is at its best. Casting lures around the edges is the best way to get into the action.
There’s quite a selection of lures that will catch fish. Spinnerbaits and beetlespins will have improved over the last month and will consistently take fish. Lipless crankbaits are also worth a try, especially if the fish are active and willing to chase your lure down. Soft plastics and suspending minnows will fool a few fish as well. Try different lures on the day until you find which pattern works best.
Surface luring at this time of year can be awesome. Mornings and afternoons are best times to try, although bass can still be caught in the middle parts of the day. Topwater lures often produce some exceptional quality bass and fast action, so be sure to give it a go. I’ve had a lot of success on two different brands and styles – the Eddy’s Surface Buster (a walk-the-dog style lure) and the Rapala SkitterPop (cup-faced popper).
The level of this lake has dropped over the past months, though this certainly hasn’t put the fish off the bite. There is still plenty of action in the lower half of the dam. Lure casters, trollers and bait fishermen all stand a good chance of catching a mixed bag at this time of year.
Trolling medium to deep running lures along the drop-offs to the old creek bed is one of the most popular methods of catching fish. Spinnerbaits trolled at a steady pace behind the boat had plenty of success last year and are sure to do so again this year. Working the drop-off is the ideal way to catch yellowbelly. In this same area, you’ll have a good chance of scoring some bass as well.
Lure casters will be faced with a couple of options this month. Working spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits around the edges will entice yellowbelly and bass. A better option may be to target the fish in the middle of the lake around the drop-offs and across shallow flats. The drop-offs will hold both species, although you are likely to find more yellowbelly than bass. If you sound quietly around on the flats in about 3-6m of water near the old creek bed, you’re likely to find schools of decent bass. There’s also a chance the bass might take a liking to the deeper water at the wall end of the lake, where they’ll suspend around the drop into the old creek bed.
Once you’ve located the fish, it’s a matter of going through the tacklebox and changing lures and techniques to see what they will eat. Jackall lipless crankbaits have been a stand-out performer on all of our dams and are certainly worth a try. Spinnerbaits are another option.
One of the most successful lures of all is the soft plastic. Rig up with a 1/4oz to 1/2oz jighead and a plastic tail such as a 3" Slider Grub, and you’ll be ready to start putting bass into the boat.
For up-to-date information about what the fish are biting on, call in at the kiosk where there is a big range of freshwater tackle and live bait.
Boondooma’s yellowbelly population is waiting to pounce at this time of year. Lure trollers can expect plenty of action when working medium to deep running lures around the lake’s edges. The points in the main basin of the lake are often the best places to drag your lures around.
Baitfishing on the same points and in the Boyne timber will score yellowbelly as well. Live shrimp are the number one bait. Worms and frozen prawns will catch fish but the action will be a bit slower.
For those wanting to target bass, be aware of what methods are working best. The 2004 BASS Grand Final will be held on the dam at the beginning of October. I expect there will be plenty of fish willing to play the game, making this a close competition with plenty of full bags weighed in.
Schooled bass will be holding in the upper parts of the main basin. Have a good look around the drop-off of The Islands and in the Pelican Point area. Bass will fall for soft plastics, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbait presentations. Many of the dam’s regulars have found success jigging ice jigs around the areas with bass schools. It looks like Boondooma will be a great place to be for all this month.
If you’re interested in fishing Boondooma or Bjelke-Petersen, a guided trip is a good investment to set you on your way to more successful fishing ventures of your own. Professional guide Matthew Mott operates on both lakes and you can contact him on (07) 4168 4811 at the Yallakool Cafe at Bjelke-Petersen Dam.
Somerset’s tight-lipped bass population is finally starting to co-operate. Reports are coming in of bass to over 50cm being caught in good numbers. Hopefully this will be a continuing phenomenon for the rest of spring.
Schooled bass can be found in the Pelican Point area. Other areas worth sounding over are Brad’s Bank, The Spit point and in the bay opposite The Hump. Somerset’s bass are known to move, so sound around until the schools are located. I’d try looking across the flats in water that’s 6-8m deep at first. If the fish don’t show themselves there, take a look along the closest drop-off to the old creek bed. If you still have no luck, wander out past the drop-off to look for suspended fish in the creek channel itself. Continue this searching procedure at different locations and you’ll be sure to find some schools.
Schooled bass can be tough to catch at times. Normally, you’ll put a few in the boat before a school shuts down. This is definitely the case at this time of year. My theory behind this is that the bass schools follow the boat as it gets near to them or drifts over them – possibly because of the noise created by sounders. You end up with a pile of fish showing on the sounder and very few left over the area they were first located on. The fish below your boat get tougher to catch the longer they stay there. They are no longer going about their business but are placed in a trance-like state by the sounder noise. Therefore, if you know the bass are there, don’t spook them by getting too close with your boat. Long casts are the key.
Casting soft plastics is one of the proven methods to catch these fish. I recommend 1/2oz jigheads with 3" Sliders or Berkley 3" Gulp Grubs to get the fish interested. A medium to fast paced retrieve should get a response.
Mask Jackalls are another option. Although they’re not cheap, they are certainly a bass-catching weapon. These silent, soft lipless crankbaits can be fished in the same way as a soft plastic. They have a remarkable resemblance to a baitfish. Armed with sharp treble hooks, they miss fewer strikes than soft plastics rigged on jigheads but can provide a poorer connection to the fish.
Trolling deep-diving lures in the same area will also produce a few bass. Working the drop-offs to the old creek bed from Pelican Point north will see you in the right zone to catch yellowbelly. Some of the drop-offs have uncleared structure which the goldens just love to hang around. Trolling medium to deep divers along the steep rocky banks is also worth a try if you’re on a quest to catch yellowbelly.
Hinze has been fishing quite well of late. Soft plastics have been taking their share but we can also expect to see more action on reaction baits as the water warms up.
The western arm is one of the fishiest locations. Casting soft plastics will score a few bass. Slider Grubs in Tennessee shad and smoke yellow core and Berkley 3" Gulp minnows are doing the trick.
Jackalls and other lipless crankbaits are working reasonably well, and you can expect the action on these to pick up this month. You could also try beetlespins and spinnerbaits. It’s certainly worth casting a few surface lures around early morning and late afternoon to see some explosive action.
For all your tackle needs or more up-to-date fishing information on Hinze, call in and see the staff at Gold Coast Fishing Tackle. You’ll find them located at Southport in Nind Street.
If we fail to be blessed with any rain in the region, the dam level will gradually recede and the weed beds will start to die. This makes those beautiful waterlilies that line the edges prime fish-holding structure. It’s not all that often in Lenthalls that you are able to fish the lilies as when it is full, as the thick weed flourishes around their base.
Terminator lures have been consistent performers on this lake. The Snapback jerkbaits can be fished either unweighted or lightly weighted to get them a bit deeper around the weed. They can also be fished on jigheads. When doing this, their floating characteristic makes them stand vertically when resting on the bottom, unlike other plastics on the market. From this paused position, the bass just seem to pick them up and run with them.
The surface action will be picking up and there are several lures worth trying. Terminators Pitchin’ Tubes can be rigged weedless and fished right in the thickest cover without fouling up. Hard-bodies are also worth a go. Eddy’s Surface Busters, Rio’s Rubber Lips and Bill Bugs 50mm Mouse are all proven surface lures that provide explosive action.
The edges are producing some quality bass on 1/4oz to 1/2oz spinnerbaits. As with many other dams, white or other light colour combinations do the trick. A tandem blade configuration of silver Colorado and gold willow works well.
The barra stocking project is still underway. More fingerlings have been released into the dam. Stocking group secretary Dave Brown caught a small barra of 200mm over a month ago. If the small fish are biting, hopefully the big ones will be as co-operative. Last year’s barra should be around 70cm+ by this summer and at the age where they are easy to catch.
If you’d like to learn how to fish this beautiful lake and enjoy what it has to offer, give Fraser Coast Sportfishing and Eco Adventures a call. Paul Dolan is an experienced fisherman and guide, and his use and development of new techniques have been of interest to experienced anglers for years. Now he’s sharing his knowledge on his charters. For more information on Lenthalls or the other areas Paul fishes, give him a call on (07) 4128 4952 or 0407 674 350.
1) Somerset’s bass are easy to catch one day and tricky the next. This one fell for a smoke yellow core Slider Grub rigged on a 1/2oz AusSpin jighead.
2) Schooled bass often fall for reaction baits like this Jackall lipless crankbait. Vary techniques between soft plastics and different reaction baits to find which is working best.Reads: 509