Good rain but dams still low
  |  First Published: December 2005

There have been some good falls of rain. Unfortunately, the dams have still not received any great benefit. If some weather predictions for the future are correct, most of the southeast Queensland dams will be full by the end of December. Wouldn’t that be nice? If this is the case, the way the lakes fish will be affected – hopefully for the better.


It has been a fairly ordinary year all round for Cressbrook. The lake has had hot and cold fishing periods, but generally the fishing has been tough.

As the water warms even more this month, you can expect reaction baits to be the best producers around the lake’s edges. Casting lures like Jackalls, beetlespins and spinnerbaits around the lake’s weedy edges will score both bass and goldens. Concentrate on the gentle sloping banks and around any points that extend well out into the dam. If you can find any better patches of weed, the fish won’t be too far away.

Surface luring is one of the best ways to catch Cressy’s bass. Fished early or later in the day, a surface lure will produce some of the better quality fish on offer. The edges are the best place to throw surface lures. If you spot some bass feeding in the deeper water, it can be worthwhile to fish the surface in that area. Cupped face poppers and stickbaits around 5-8cm long are the ideal size to use. Colour doesn’t seem to matter much.

The deep water in the middle of the lake will have noticeable thermoclines. These temperature changes can be detected on a good quality sounder and will show as a horizontal line of clutter. Bass will suspend around the thermocline and can be caught using a number of methods. For those casting lures soft plastics, metal jigs and Jackalls jigged through the concentrations of fish will produce the goods.

Trolling with ultra-deep divers on light lines will push your lures right down into the zone. There are many suitable Australian made lures that have small bodies but can reach remarkable depths.

Live shrimp fished straight down below the boat at the depth the bass are showing will also account for some good catches of bass. Be sure to keep the bait suspended in front of the fish. Bait can also work well on bass and golden perch around the points and where fish are schooled along the open banks. If you’re targeting these fish, try fishing in 6-8m of water.


After a quiet start to the year, Somerset is showing its true fishing potential. The bass, which are quite hard to catch at times, have been co-operating well. The majority of bass can be found in the deep-water at the wall end of the lake. Good schools can be found from the buoys at the wall through to Pelican Point. If you venture further north, there are smaller concentrations of bass that become more widely scattered.

Casting soft plastics to the schools has been a technique taking its share of fish. It’s been quite some time since Somerset fished so well on soft plastics. Retrieving spinnerbaits or hopping Mask Vibe Jackalls through schooled bass can work even better than plastics on some days. Change your lure until you find which one is working best on the day.

Trolling deep diving lures close to the old creek bed drop-off in the same areas will pull both bass and yellowbelly. If you have an electric motor, a slow troll using a soft plastic can be more successful. With the warmer water temperatures, there should be good numbers of golden perch holding along the drop-offs in the middle reaches of the lake. Choose a lure that runs close to the bottom in the area you are fishing.


The fishing at Bjelke has been hot. You can expect the action to continue through the Christmas period and into the start of next year. Bass and golden perch have been taking trolled lures. Jackalls, hard bodies and spinnerbaits are all taking their share. Lures that run 3-6m will be in the right zone. If the water gets hot, the fish may hold a little deeper and it is then necessary to use a lure that will reach them. When using standard trolling plugs, Brolgas, Merlins and SMAK 16s are some of the better options. Colours like browns, purples and greens seem to do the trick. If you have a selection, try a few until you find which one is working best.

The best area to fish is in the lower part of the dam. The water between Bass Point and the wall holds the majority of fish when the lake is at its current level. Concentrating your efforts around the old creek bed drop-offs will usually increase your tally at the end of the day.

Bait fishing is quiet at this time of year, but I have heard of a few goldens being taken from the bank well after dark. The lure fishing during the day is hot so don’t miss out on the action while it’s available. Matthew Mott runs fishing charters on the lake and can help you get started if you’re new to the scene or just after a fun day out. Matthew can be reached on (07) 4168 4811. You’ll also find plenty of useful information at the kiosk at the dam that sells a wide range of lures and tackle suited to fishing the lake.


Lure trollers will be able to get into the action over the coming month. During the warmer months, the fish tend to spread out rather than school up. Trolling the open-water and edges in the main basin is the best location. Although designed as casting lures, TN70 Jackalls and 5/8oz spinnerbaits catch plenty of bass and goldens when trolled. Deep diving crankbaits like Blitz Bagas also produce the goods. Colours like greens, purples or chartreuse and black are popular.

Casting lures at this time of year can be slow as the fish tend to be spread out. Bass are the main target for lure casters. These fish can still be caught from the deeper water. Look for better concentrations of suspended bass on the sounder. Casting plastics, Jackalls and spinnerbaits to these fish should bring success.

Bait fishing in the timbered arm of the Boyne River is always an option. Live shrimp are the best bait. The start of the timber should yield some jews and goldies.


Lenthalls Dam is situated just north of Maryborough. The lake’s surrounds have been given a facelift. There is a new car park and boat ramp but when the level of the lake is low; take care as the ramp shallows out. A speed limit of six knots is also in place. This applies to all boats using this magic waterway. Lenthalls is a favourite destination for many bass anglers as its narrow winding arms are blessed with weed, lilies and plenty of drowned timber.

Casting lures around the lake’s edges is a great way to get into the action. The bass in Lenthalls will respond to a wide range of artificial offerings. Plastics, crankbaits, surface lures, spinnerbait, beetlespins and Jackalls will all fool Lenthall’s bass. Surface lures fished close to the cover of weed, lilies or snags are a top option in the morning and afternoon. Jackalls fish well throughout the day. Try casting these around the weed formations or close to any drowned timber. Lenthalls bass like to sit close to the structure so don’t be scared to bump your Jackall right over and through the branches of sunken trees. Surprisingly, Jackalls are quite snag resistant if you keep winding at a steady pace while bumping nasty snags.

A small number of barramundi have been stocked into the lake. As the years progress, their numbers will grow and I’m sure that the lake will become known for these fish as well. Small barra of 40-60cm are not an uncommon captures when using bass lures. There were barra stockings made some years ago though it’s believed these fish escaped over the spillway. Catches of these fish (which would be much bigger) are never heard of or, are kept secret by those who have them worked out.


The fishing at Cania has been outstanding. There are plenty of fish on offer for casters, trollers and bait fishermen.

Trolling lures along the steeper banks in the main dam should bring success. Bass are the main species you’ll encounter as well as the odd yellowbelly. The creek bed drop-off in the middle of the lake out from the boat ramp should also be holding some suspended bass; these can be trolled up or even cast to if they are concentrated enough. Try using medium to deep running lures or even heavy spinnerbaits, plastics or Jackalls when trolling.

Fishing with live shrimps in five to eight metres of water is a good way to pull a mixed bag. The main basin is the closest and best place to try. Targeting fish around the points that jut out into the lake is a good start. Jew, bass, golden perch, silver perch and spangled perch will all take a shrimp in this area.

Casting Jackalls and spinnerbaits to the edges and using a steady retrieve will score some nice bass. It’s also likely that you’ll encounter some goldens and saratoga when using these lures. Fishing the banks in The Quarry area should produce some good bags. Avoid the steepest banks and concentrate on those that are shallower in this area. The area of flats just past the quarry will hold good schools of bass. These fish will vary in size from undersized to well over a 1kg. Plastics, Mask Jackalls and slow rolled spinnerbaits can turn the fish on. If the flats fail, move out toward the deeper water and fish the drop-off to the old creek bed.

For all your fishing supplies or the latest information on Cania, call in and see the guys at Creek 2 Coast Fishing Tackle. You’ll find the store on the highway in Biloela.


The fishing at Hinze has been steady, but consistent catches are still being made. The upper reaches of the lake seem to be producing the majority of fish. The earlier you get onto the water, the better as some of the best fishing is at dawn and dusk. On the hot days when the fishing is quiet, try some of the steeper banks.

Poppers are a good lure to try in the early morning and late afternoon. During the middle of the day, a Jackall can turn the fish back on again. C’ultiva Rippin’ Minnows are suspending jerkbaits that work well in the shallow water around weed and grass. In the thicker cover, a weedless rigged soft plastic will give you the ability to explore these areas.

Some of the areas to try are Bass Bay, The Narrows and around the island. The bays and point below the water tower are also worth a look. This area is a good starting point if you’re looking to target cod or Saratoga.

Hinze isn’t at all far from the Gold Coast and makes the perfect spot for a family day out. If you are boating, you’ll require a permit and must not have a combustion engine fitted to your vessel. After a morning’s fishing, take advantage of the excellent BBQ facilities provided.

For any information on Hinze or fishing around the coast, call in and see the guys at Gold Coast Fishing Tackle at Southport. It’s a great store with a huge range of quality tackle. Most importantly, there’s the great service of experienced fishermen to go with the goods they sell.


Most of the big barra will be caught trolling this month, but don’t discount casting lures especially if you can find some fish holding structure. If you’re casting lures, the early morning and late afternoon will be the best times. This month the water temperature will increase and now is the time when the fish seem to turn on the action in this lake. Being inland a considerable distance and one of the more southern barra lakes, the water temperature takes longer to heat up by comparison to other barra lake. Some of these other lakes can actually shut down a bit if the water gets too hot.

Trollers will consistently find good fish straight out from the boat ramp along the old creek bed. Using lures like Classic 120s (15+), RMG 150 (15+), Predatek Vipers and Richos will provide a good chance of hooking and landing some of the big fish on offer.

The banks of the lake are low and grassy which makes it easy for anglers to walk the edge and cast lures. Much has been written about the success to be had by anglers who walk the edges after parking their boats on the bank in other impoundments. I’m sure that Callide would be no different. Early morning and late afternoon would be the prime time for such an adventure. Casting lures like the B52 should have you feeling confident that if there’s a barra there it will eat it. Use a steady retrieve, allowing the lure to rise all the way to the surface a couple of times after winding it down. The big barra are lazy fish and prefer a slow retrieve on most occasions.

At the moment there is no camping at the lake. Hopefully this will change by the coming of the next barra season but it isn’t far to the comfort of a motel room in Biloela, a few minutes away.

If you’re heading to the area, call in and see Norm and Marella at Creek 2 Coast Bait and Tackle for all the latest information on Callide and its surrounds. Call them on (07) 4992 1288.


Due to the efforts of determined members from the Emerald Fish Stocking Group and community support, Fairbairn Dam and the Nagoa River are becoming better fisheries. Fairbairn is a massive lake that has now been stocked for five years. Electrofish surveys have found barramundi to over 1m so the chance to boat big fish is certainly there. The biggest challenge is finding fish in the vast amount of water.

Fairbairn Dam was built on the Nagoa River. The Nagoa starts near the Springshaw-Tambo Road where water seeps out of the rocks. This crystal clear spring water runs into the dam. The Nagoa River continues below the dam wall where it is stocked with a variety of species. Here the fish are more concentrated which increases the chance of hooking them.

Both the dam and river hold a range of fish including eel, Murray cod, barramundi, golden perch, silver perch, sleepy cod, black bream and fork-tailed catfish. The lake is also known for its abundance of red claw crayfish. These freshwater delicacies can be tempted into an opera house trap. All weird types of baits will work including paw paw, cat food and boiled potatos.

The Emerald Fish Stocking Group will be holding their first fishing competition at Fairbairn Dam on the 3-4 December. Camping and accommodation is available at the Lake Maraboon Holiday Village. These campgrounds are located right at Fairbairn (Lake Maraboon). There is no camping allowed around the lake’s edges so to book a site or donga, give the park a call on (07) 4982 3677.

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