UNFORTUNATELY there’s not much to report on Cressbrook this month. At the time of writing the dam had been closed for almost three weeks due to an outbreak of bacteria. [The dam closure was announced just after the November issue of QFM went to print – Ed.] The bacteria levels have now dropped to a level safe enough for human interaction with the water, and the lake has been reopened.
It’s my guess that there’ll be plenty of fish around the weed edges this month. The majority of catches will be made up of bass with the odd yellowbelly thrown in. Using soft plastics like Slider Grubs or three-inch single-tailed grubs is one of the most productive ways to fish the weed. Other lure styles worth trying are jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and surface lures. Fly fishing around the weed should also account for some good catches. Baitfishing can be good at times, although too many small, undersized fish can be a problem.
If the fishing shuts down around the weed edges, it may be necessary to target the deep schooling bass in the middle of the lake. Look for the deepest water and strongest thermoclines on your sounder and the fish won’t be too far away. These deep suspending bass can be caught on trolled deep divers, small minnows on downriggers, soft plastics, ice jigs, tailspinners, deeply presented Clouser-style flies and live shrimp.
If you’re planning to fish the lake, call in and see the boys at Mullet Gut Marine in Ruthven Street, Toowoomba. They can point you in the right direction and help you choose the best lures and gear for the job.
To learn new techniques on Cressbrook Dam, contact Jason Ehrlich at Fishability Fishing Tours on (07) 4630 8616.
Lake Bjelke is firing, producing some of the best catches ever seen in this impoundment. Lures are the best way to get connected to some decent sized bass and yellowbelly. Yllowbelly of 50-60cm and bass over 50cm are common, so be prepared for buckled rods and slaving reels.
There’s been no particular pattern regarding where the fish are being found. Catches are coming from the top end right to the bottom end of the dam. The fish are holding in five to seven metres of water and can be reached at this depth with various trolled offerings. Smak 19s, Cobras and C-Lures Ultradeep are some popular choices. Dark colours like blacks and purples seem to work better in the mornings. As the sun rises and the light intensity in the water becomes greater, brighter colours like yellows and greens often produce more fish.
There have been mixed bags of bass and yellowbelly coming from Boondooma. Yellowbelly are fairly common for the lure trollers, particularly in the reaches of the Stuart River around the rocks in the water. Bass are holding in deeper, more open water and can be caught trolling deep diving lures as well.
The bass can be found throughout the main body of the dam, generally in water between 13 and 26 metres deep. Depending on the conditions, they can be either scattered or schooling. When schooling, they make themselves easy targets for lure casters.
The Boyne timber reaches are far deeper than those of the Stuart arm, so the Boyne timber has been a popular choice for those targeting fish with live baits.
Experienced local guide Matthew Mott, at Burnett Valley Sportfishing (ph. (07) 4168 4811), offers charters on both Boondooma and Bjelke-Petersen dams.
Somerset has been fishing quite well. Fish are being caught using various techniques, including trolling, casting and bait fishing.
Yellowbelly can be caught on deep diving trolled lures throughout the dam. If you aim to improve your catch rate, try the drop-offs in the Bay 13, Eagle’s Nest and Queen Street areas. These drop-offs are smothered with rocks and snags - places that yellowbelly love.
The bass have been moving around a lot. Even on a daily basis, hundreds of fish can vacate one area and turn up in another. Again, look around the drop-offs to find the schooled bass. I’ve found that they’ve been preferring the sharp drops into deep water from flats around 10 metres deep. Try looking in the areas between The Spit and Bay 13, as the water to the north is getting too shallow for the big schools to hold in. One you’ve found the bass you can catch them on deep diving trolled lures, soft plastics, flies and tailspinners.
Bait anglers have been catching mixed bags of yellowbelly, bass and jew. The Wyangi Creek area has been a popular spot for those soaking a bait.
There are plenty of catfish and gar to be caught throughout the lake. There are also some monster bass hanging around the drop-offs in the Logan Inlet area. These fish are quite susceptible to trolled dark coloured deep diving lures.