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Low water levels not deterring fish
  |  First Published: November 2004



Cressbrook

Lake Cressbrook is still closed to all trailerboats, due to the low water and boggy edges. Boats can be launched by hand and carried to the water though.

Quite a few anglers have been fishing the lake with success. Casting lures around the edges is still the best way to catch fish. Spinnerbaits, beetlespins and lipless crankbaits are all worth trying. If the action is slow, try a soft plastic. Pumpkinseed coloured 3” Slider Grubs rigged on 1/4oz jigheads are proven fish catchers. The majority of fish taken casting the edges will be bass, though there are a few goldens around.

Surface fishing in the mornings and afternoons is an exciting and rewarding way to target bass. Cressbrook would have to be the best bass surface fishery in Australia. Small 5-10cm poppers will do the trick. It pays to have a few different types. Some days, the bass will like splashy ones like cupped-faced poppers or fizzers. Other days, stickbaits that have a walk-the-dog action and make less noise when retrieved will score better.

There’s no need to motor a long way from the ramp before you start fishing. A small boat with an electric motor is all that’s needed to have some fun.

Trolling deep diving lures in the middle of the lake will produce average sized bass. Push the lures as deep as you can for the best results. Downriggers are worth a try if you have one. Run slender shallow-diving minnows off the downrigger bomb as these resemble tiny gar. You should be able to find scattered fish in the deepest parts of the lake. Although some of these fish are suspended at around 7m, it is often better to fish deeper than the fish. There are fewer fish suspended deeper but they are usually more active.

Bjelke-Petersen

The water level at Bjelke-Petersen has been dropping but it’s still easy to launch boats. The lower half of the dam is safe for boating, but take care when venturing up toward the timber. Trolling lures is the easiest way to get into the action on Bjelke. Bass and yellowbelly are suckers for trolled lures at this time of year. Fish can be caught on the creek drop-offs, around Bass Point, between the boat ramps and in the Quarry area. Some lures worth trying are Smak 19s, Blitz Bagas and the 65mm Boomerang.

A lot of anglers trolled spinnerbaits with plenty of success last year, and this year should be no different. Troll your spinnerbaits in the same areas as you would your hard-bodied lures. Heavier models like 5/8oz with small blades work best as they are able to run deep enough. An electric motor can be a valuable tool for trolling spinnerbaits. If you don’t have one, you can slow your troll by towing a bucket. It’s a good idea to stop every now and then to let the spinnerbait sink. This way, the spinnerbait will work through different levels of the water column. As it lifts off the bottom there’s a good chance it will be eaten, as this is where many fish will be holding.

Baitfishing with live shrimp in the mornings and afternoons will produce good catches of yellowbelly and the odd bass. The steep banks out in front of Bridgemann Downs and the many points in the lower half of the lake are worth a try.

For all your fishing needs, you can call in at the kiosk at the lake. Open seven days, it serves a good feed and has all the tackle, gear and bait you need.

Boondooma

The water level in Boondooma has also been dropping. Working trolled lures in the main basin will be a good way to score some yellowbelly. Deep divers and spinnerbaits can be worked around the drop-off to The Islands and the points in the main body of the lake. Focus on the points and banks between the second and third markers.

Fishing the first kilometre of the Boyne timber with spinnerbaits or livebait is another option. Take care if you plan to head further up the river as the water is low and there could be some nasty obstacles. The Stuart timber is even harder to navigate now that the water is low.

Bass will start to make their migration to the deeper water at the wall end of the dam. However, schools will still be scattered in the main basin of the dam. Prominent points such as that found at The Junction are worth closer investigation. Motor around slowly while using your sounder to locate a good show. Once found, these bass can be caught on soft plastics and occasionally other lures like Jackalls, ice jigs and tailspinners.

For a lesson on how to go about fishing Bjelke or Boondooma, you can get in touch with fishing guide Matthew Mott on (07) 4168 4811. It’s money well spent considering the depth of knowledge you’ll come away with.

Somerset

New restrictions are now in force due to the low water level at Lake Somerset. A buoy line now stretches across the lake to the east from the point of Kirkleagh. This designates a six-knot zone for all the waters to the north of Kirkleagh. To the south, there are still markers to show the safe, deep water of the river channel. These extend all the way down to the Bay 13 area.

Don’t let the water level put you off fishing the lake though. Scattered bass schools have been holding from the rope line at the wall end right back to Pelican Point. As the water is shallower this year, the fish might choose to spend more time in the southern parts of the lake where the water is deeper. Bass can be located by sounding along the old creek drop-offs and the nearby flats. When they are located, it’s time to put the soft plastics, Jackalls and spinnerbaits into action. The fish can be hard to persuade one day and easy the next. It can pay to look for fish hanging in the deeper water of the old creek beds. Here they suspend and can hold in huge numbers. Often these deeper water suspending fish are easier to entice than those holding close to the bottom in the shallower areas.

Trolling deep-diving lures around the old creek bed drop-offs is a sure way to pull some yellowbelly. The area from Pelican Point to Queen Street seems to be one of the better areas. The drop-off here is a lot rougher, with rocks and timber giving the yellowbelly somewhere to hide. Another spot worth a try is the standing timber inside the mouth of Wyangi Creek.

[CAPTIONS]

1) Two surface lures ideal for using in Lake Cressbrook: the Eddy's Surface Buster (top) and the Rapala Skitterpop (bottom).

2) Yellowbelly are a typical bycatch when spinnerbaiting for bass along the edges of lakes like Boondooma and Bjelke-Petersen at this time of year.

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