As we move into March, the days get shorter and things start to cool down. For freshwater, this means that the fish have fewer daylight hours in which to feed so for the species that do most of their feeding during daylight hours, this can indicate a more aggressive bite.
Bass fishing in particular should improve. Further north, the barra should be more responsive as the water cools down a couple of degrees. Following their movements from deep to shallower water will ensure you stay with the fish. A bit of experimentation may be needed out on the water.
At the end of the month I’ll be presenting a talk on locating fish in our dams. It will be at the Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show on the weekend of the 21-22 March. There will be heaps of other topics covered at the Fishing Expo section. Be sure to bring the kids as I team up with Jason Medcalf and we entertain them with the Berkley Kids’ Fishing Show. It’s been a big hit in the past and is one not to miss if you want to see kids excited about fishing.
Don’t forget, I’m always keen to hear readers’ fishing stories and reports. Send them to me at --e-mail address hidden-- . Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.
Despite plenty of bass schooling up in the lake, they have been tough to tempt. All manner of offerings have been refused so try using more unusual lures to get them to strike. A Berkley 3” Gulp Minnow Grub rigged on a 1/2oz jighead and fitted with a beetle spin blade can do the trick. It’s a lure the fish aren’t used to seeing and one that works quite well.
The 1/4oz Strike Pro blades are another good option. These lures have produced when other blade baits have failed in the past. Locate schools on the sounder and work a range of lures and techniques to see if the fish have a specific preference.
The fishing around the edges has been quite good. The bass are very active here, though the downside is that most of these fish are tiny.
Surface lures have been one of the best lure types recently. Bass have been nailing these offerings right through the day with the peak bite times being early and late. Try using Mazzy poppers, Rapala Skitterpops, Zara Puppies and Frenzy poppers. All these lures are the right size and have a suitable action to catch bass.
When surface luring, cast the lure right up into the shallows and work it for 1m before allowing a good pause. Repeat this, ensuring there is a pause in the retrieve every metre or so. Once the lure is half to a third of the way back to the boat wind it in and cast again – unless of course there are still fish whacking it.
The trick to hooking up on topwater presentations is not to strike. Fish with sharp hooks and let the fish pull the lure under the surface. If it doesn’t pop back up in a second or so wind up any slack line and see if you come up tight on the fish. If there’s no weight, let the lure float to the surface and give a good pause before recommencing the retrieve. The secret is not to strike as this pulls the lure away from the fish.
Cressbrook has stacks of undersized bass so be sure to measure them if you plan on keeping some for the table. The legal size is 30cm and you are allowed two in your possession.
The water level is very low but boats can still be launched safely from the maintained gravel boat ramp. Speed restrictions of 8 knots in open water and 4 knots close to the shore are still in place. Don’t forget your $2 entry fee at the gate. This allows you to access the boat ramp and BBQ, picnic and playground facilities.
Fish’n’Bits in Alderly Street, Toowoomba can set you up with the necessary tackle and live shrimp. They’ll also provide a more up-to-date report to help you on your way to scoring some decent catches.
The fishing at Lake Somerset has improved over the last couple of months. Lots of bass have been suspending in the deeper water and around ledges from Pelican Point to Bay 13. Some of these fish have started to form smaller schools and by the time this goes to print, the schools should be even better.
The typical Somerset pattern is for the fish to suspend in the deepwater over the warmest months. As the days are now shorter, the fish should be at a transitional stage where they are starting to school up closer to the bottom. This mix of suspended and schooled fish will mean a range of methods will work.
Trolling small profile medium to deep diving lures will account for good numbers of bass and the odd golden perch. Try to follow the drop-offs to the old creek bed as this is where a lot of fish hang out. Blade baits like the Little Max 1/2oz also make good trolling lures. When using these fast-sinking lures, alter the speed of the boat and the length of line out to suit the depth the bass are holding.
Lure casters will have success with blade baits and lipless crankbaits. These lures can be fished along the bottom where bass have been seen on the sounder. Use a hopping retrieve, take up the slack and allow the lure to touch the bottom between each hop. If the fish are off the bottom, try using some medium paced winds to pull the lure up through the fish before free-spooling it back to the bottom.
The bigger fish in Somerset have still been of excellent quality. There have been reports of bass up to 2.8kg, which are hefty models for this time of the year.
Boats can be launched from The Spit near the wall or Kirkleigh at the top (northern) end of the cleared section of the lake. From either launching spot the best fishing is about the same distance away.
Lake Maroon has experienced some great rainfall during summer with plenty of storm activity in the border ranges.
With the lake at a solid 66%, water is now lapping at the base of boat ramp carpark and has covered some new areas. The lakes weed beds once again are adapting to the new lake level establishing hard on edges. Once these weed beds have taken a good hold we should see some of the suspended algae and sediment filtered out.
Good news for anglers is that the Lake’s bass are once again holding on shallow flats and bays and are responding to well-presented surface presentations. We should see these fish until the water starts to cool, and gullies that run into the lake are a good place to start lure casting for these fish.
Holding wide and working the gullies entry points with conventional crankbaits and lipless cranks will account for a good number of fish; long casts are essential to get the lures to the optimum depth.
If it is cloudy or structured try a deep running spinnerbait, select a blade colour to suit water clarity and weather conditions. Move into the bay or onto the flat slowly using fan casts to work the area thoroughly.
Surface presentations can be in water 0.5-3ft depth. Shallow running crankbaits up to 1ft, surface poppers and creature baits, like frogs and worm-rigged cicadas, will catch fish.
The higher the sun the more subtle and slowly the topwater should be fished. Slow draws of the rod with long pauses will entice strikes. It may pay to fish a few different flats and bays to locate the best concentration of fish. Take note of shady banks or overhanging trees, grass tufts or any subtleties that may hold fish.
Golden perch will search for cooler water this month. Most fish will come from 10-15ft and will be a by-catch for bass. Some moving concentrations of smaller fish may be found in the deeper gullies off Creek Bed, especially in the Lakes Headwaters.
The goldens love to follow and chase down lures and respond best to small lipless cranks and spinnerbaits. Steady continuous retrieves get the bites, pausing will only spook the fish. A lot of goldens hit the lure on the vertical retrieve back to the boat.
For more information on Lake Maroon or Moogerah or if you’ve had a great trip drop an e-mail to --e-mail address hidden-- – Chris Galligan
At the beginning of February, there has still been no boat launching in the lower reaches of the dam. The area can still be fished but you have to travel by boat from the upper reaches. The upper part of the dam has good launching areas in the eastern and western arms.
This section of water has been producing some quality saratoga fishing. The fish are falling for surface and subsurface flies as well as surface lures. Make sure your hooks are sharp as toga have hard and bony mouths, well known for throwing hooks.
Early in the morning, bass can be taken along the submerged grass beds. As the day progresses, move to deeper water and target them around the points. Try using surface lures early in the shallows, opting for lipless crankbaits and soft plastics when chasing them in the deeper water.
Hinze requires a permit separate to the SIP scheme. These permits can be acquired by calling in to Nerang Disposals in Spencer Street, Nerang. Only electric or paddle-powered craft can be used on the lake. No combustion motors can be fitted to the boat – even when not in use.
For all your fishing supplies and further information, call in and see the guys at Tackleworld. The store is at Southport in Nind Street.
Lake McDonald still seems to be suffering from the fish lost over the spillway. Despite the number of mature fish being saved and transported back into the dam, they are staying quiet. Smaller bass are pretty common with fish in the 30-35cm range around in reasonable numbers.
All the bigger fish that managed to escape have made their way into 6 Mile Creek and then the Mary River. 6 Mile Creek can be accessed at Cooroy and would be a good option if you wish to tangle with some bass. The alternative is to seek out the population of bass that have boosted the stocks of the Mary River system.
Heaps of saratoga have been biting in the upper reaches of the lake, with reports of up to eight fish landed in a session. Flyfishing with subsurface presentations around the calm sections in the timber can be very productive. Look for signs of toga boils as they feed near the surface. Find these and you’ll know you are in the right area. Early morning is usually the best time to target these fish.
Bass have schooled in the basin of the lake but have been hard to fish over the past few months with so much ski boat activity. Anglers have been venturing further upstream into the timber to catch their bass. One of the most effective lures to fish this area has been the Little Max blade bait in the 3/8 and 1/2oz sizes.
The good fishing at Cooby lasted for about a month before tapering off when hot weather arrived. The shorter and cooler days should see the action heat up again before it steadies up over the winter period.
Boats seem to be scoring the most fish as they have access to more water than those fishing from the banks. This isn’t to say that shore-based anglers won’t catch fish. There have been reasonable numbers of golden perch, silver perch, eel-tailed catfish and even the odd small cod taken from the rock wall section. These fish have been taken on live shrimp and lipless crankbaits.
If you can hit the water in a boat or a kayak your chances will be much better. Trolling, casting and bait fishing will all score fish. Work the drop-off to the deeper water or even inside the old creek bed. The standout lure has been lipless crankbaits. These lures can be trolled or hopped along the bottom when cast and are well suited to trolling. Black is one of the best colours and will fool the golden perch and odd cod. If you are targeting cod, don’t be afraid to upsize the offering and go for a larger bibbed lure or even one of the Aussie designed cod spinnerbaits.
Fishing with live shrimp around the deeper section of water opposite the boat ramp and up towards the wall buoy-line can be very productive. Try each spot for fifteen minutes and if you have no luck move until you find some hungry fish. A good sounder can help you locate the best spots.
There is a boom gate at the entrance to the lake. It requires $2 in coins to open. Only electric or paddle-powered craft are allowed on Cooby. Outboards can be left on the boat but must not be used. If you need an update on the fishing, give Fish’n’Bits in Toowoomba a call. They are found in Alderly Street or can be reached on (07) 4636 6850. Give them a call if you need to book some live shrimp.
Both Coolmunda and Leslie are fishing in a similar fashion so I’ll cover them in one report.
There have been heaps of golden perch on the bite, with trolling lures being the best option. Deep diving purple lures are pulling a lot of fish. Try the Smak 19, Golden Child and Blitz Baga as these have been working well.
Towing lures along the creek bed is the best way to entice the fish. Zigzag over the drop-off to the creek bed so that the lure passes from shallow to deepwater and vice versa. Continue trolling until you find a productive patch and then mark the spot with landmarks, GPS or a marker buoy.
In both lakes, there have been a few Murray cod on the move. When these fish get active, it’s not uncommon to have several encounters with different fish over the course of a day’s fishing. Quite often they will take a trolled lure intended for golden perch.
The shorter and cooler days will see the fish more responsive to baits again. Live baits of shrimp and worms or frozen prawns can tempt a mixed bag from these lakes. Like trolling, the best area to fish is around the drop-off to the creek bed.
Camping is allowed near Lake Coolmunda but, for more comfort the Coolmunda Caravan Park is only around 1km away from the lake. The park is just off the Cunningham Highway on the way into the dam. It offers camping sites, cabins, caravan facilities, tennis courts, a swimming pool, BBQ shelter and a camp kitchen. To take advantage of this and the great fishing opportunities in the lake and the river below, give the park a call on (07) 4652 4171.
There are a couple of options to consider at Bjelke this month if you are into lure fishing. Trolling has been working for some time. Running shallow to medium diving lures in the deeper water around the boat ramps will tempt bass and golden perch. Try the Smak 12 or 3m RMG Poltergeist as these lures have been taking plenty.
The action on the banks should start to pick up; casting lures will entice the fish. Bass and goldens will fall for spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and blade baits. The banks can be fished from a boat or even from the shore if you have your walking shoes.
The Yallakool campgrounds and cabins are fully operational at the lake again. Facilities include a tennis court, swimming pool and an excellent camp kitchen. To make a booking or to find out more, Yallakool Campground’s new managers can be contacted on (07) 4168 4746 or by email at --e-mail address hidden-- .
Quite a few schooled bass are making their way into the main basin. These schools should improve as the weather cools down. They can be located on a good sounder or by trolling. The bass will be suspended in the deeper water between the wall and The Junction.
If you want to catch them by trolling, try lures like the Golden Child or Brolga. These are medium to deep divers and should be at the right depth to get results.
When bass schools are located, they can be caught on a range of offerings. Switch between T-tail plastics rigged on 1/2oz jigheads, lipless crankbaits and blade baits. A couple of blade baits to try are the Evergreen Little Max and the new Lucky Craft versions. Sizes around 1/2oz work well in this deeper water and they can also be trolled to locate fish.
Fishing along the banks in the Stuart and Boyne arms will produce golden perch and bass. Moving along with an electric motor while casting lures to the edges and rolling them back to the boat is the key. Good lures are spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and blade baits.
The timbered sections of both arms are worth a try with bait. Live shrimp are the top bait and there are a few around in the dam to be caught. As a backup, use frozen prawns or live worms. Expect to catch golden perch and eel-tailed catfish.
For more information on the fishing scene and your supplies, call into Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy. The store is in Youngman Street and the guys can help you out and offer some useful advice. Bass to Barra Marine can also be found in Dalby. As the name suggests, this shop stocks a great range of quality gear for bass and barra fishing. It’s located in Shop 2 Drayton Street so be sure to check it out.
For accommodation at the lake, give the managers a call on (07) 4168 9694. Boondooma has excellent amenities, bunk houses, cabins, powered sites and camping facilities that will make your stay enjoyable.
The action has slowed a bit at Cania but there are still plenty of fish being caught. Saratoga, bass and golden perch are the most common species encountered. Lures have been scoring the more desirable fish with baits taking spangled perch and eel-tailed catfish.
Trolling medium running lures around the deepwater in the middle out from the boat ramp should produce a few bass. From here work the same lures up the dam, fishing closer to the banks. Try to keep the boat in about 6m of water. Once past The Quarry area, try your luck casting to the banks on either side of the lake. The range of lures that will catch fish is huge, but keep the following in mind if you plan to give it a try – lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, beetle spins, soft plastics, blade baits, surface poppers and suspending hardbodies.
The Lake Cania Fishing Competition will be held on the 7-8 March. Turn up and try your luck at the fishing and of course the prizes.
To find out more about the lake or to book some great accommodation nearby, call the Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park on (07) 4167 8188. There are excellent facilities including campsites, cabins, a playground, 9 hole par 3 golf course and a swimming pool. Each Saturday, the park offers wine tasting. On Saturday and Wednesday nights as well as all school holiday nights, there are outdoor movies on the big screen. It’s worth a visit to the park just to see some of the rare and beautiful wildlife that regularly drop in and live in the area.
The cooler days should see the fishing improve at Wuruma. The lake is shallow and therefore suffers when conditions get really hot. With 1% of water the fish really feel the effects of the weather.
Bass will be on the bite along the banks between the wall and the trees in the upper section. Casting lures like lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits to the edges and slowly winding them back in will draw the strikes.
There aren’t many features on the lake’s bottom, so working your lures at an angle closer to parallel to the bank, rather than at right angles, seems to work better. There are some big bass in the lake so fish with at least 10lb line in case they try to wrap you around a submerged stick or bush.
At 1% it is tricky launching bigger boats. A 4WD is a must if you want to tackle this issue. Smaller boats, car-toppers, canoes and kayaks can be launched with care from the banks that aren’t as steep.
The water has been discoloured for some time, but has finally started to clear up. Hopefully this means it is of better quality and the barra will become more responsive.
B Arm of the lake was first to show signs of improvement about a month ago. I fished this section and managed five nice barra for the day.
Monduran can be a tricky lake to fish, as there are so many spots a barra can be caught. Keep casting and moving around. If you do catch a fish, get a barra strike or boil, there is a good chance there will be plenty more in the area.
When I fish the lake, I have a run of points and productive banks and do a circuit of these. Hopping from one spot to the next after an hour of fishing gives you a good chance of getting the strikes. Some of the better spots are points and you can fish these while tied to a tree or steadily on the electric motor. After dozens of casts, the barra can either turn on or move through the area and the strikes are then quite frequent. As local fishing guide Rob Wood once said, you need to cast all day and have your lure in the water to avoid missing the window of chance when the fish decide to eat. My gut feeling is there will be many more of these windows over the coming months and the fish will be more active.
Proven barra lures have been the 5” and 6” Hollow Bellys. The lures have been available for some time but now Nitro have brought out a new range of button jigs to suit them. The big keeper barb system fits neatly inside the big hollow body cavity and the lures hold on well. The hooks are super-sharp and very tough.
The Hollow Belly’s enticing action and body roll has already scored plenty of impoundment barra and they are sure to catch heaps more.
For a chance at scoring some barra, call into Foxies Barra Pro in Gin Gin. The store has all the gear you’ll need. The staff here will be able to give you a few tips and steer you in the right direction.
Accommodation can be booked through Lake Monduran Kiosk and Tackle Shop. They look after all the cabins, houses, powered and unpowered campsites as well as the houseboats and boat hire. Bookings with Guide Lines, a guiding service specialising in Lake Monduran, can also be made through the store. The kiosk’s number is (07) 41573881.
Lake Awoonga’s fishing has been tough for the last couple of months. The dam rolled, making the water dirty and the fish shut down as a result.
The water quality has improved and the fish have again started to bite. Several storms in the area have added a bit of water to the lake so it will be interesting to see how the fish respond after this.
Casting surface lures around the weed in the Iveragh Creek arm has been scoring some quality barra. The fish are taking the lures throughout the day not just early and late. If you want to give this a go, try Tango Dancers or surface frogs.
Soft plastics will also take their share of fish. Berkley Hollow Bellys rigged on the new Nitro Button Jigs are very effective. These lures can be worked dead slow if the need arises. Other plastics worth trying are the 5” Berkley PowerBait Mullet and the 110 and 130mm Slick Rigs.
Casting plastics around any of the healthy weed formations in the main basin and a couple of kilometres past Dingo Island will give you a good chance. If the weather is good try fishing a night session based around the next full moon.
March should see the weather straighten out as we say goodbye to the wet season. Rainfall over the last couple of months has been on and off, but we have had enough rain to keep the dams at a fairly high level over the summer.
The barra have been firing at Teemburra Dam all through summer, and I doubt that will change for this month. A lot of larger fish have been caught off the major points around the main basin. There have been many fish over a metre, with the majority around the 80-90cm size. This has been a good change from the usual smaller barra that can still be caught in great numbers in the shallower water.
When finding the bigger fish, target shallow points in the main basin and look for fish holding deeper around these points using your sounder. Once you find these fish, try using soft plastics like Slick Rigs and Hollow Bellys to tempt a bite. You may have to work an area quite thoroughly to provoke a strike, so patience is needed.
If it’s the little fish you’re after, they are still located in the same areas as they were in the middle of summer. Lantana bushes, horizontal timber and weedy points fished with shallow, smaller sized lures are the best option.
The bigger fish will also move more into shallow areas during the cover of darkness in Teemburra. This makes them an easy target for surface and sub-surface lures like Tango Dancers and the Stiffy Boney Bream. This type of fishing is very exhilarating and is definitely not for the weak-hearted. Explosive hits, crazy hook-ups and soiled pants are the norm when a metre barra cracks your lure off the surface.
For any extra information on the Mackay area feel free to email me at --e-mail address hidden-- – Daniel Grech
Kinchant should fish well over March for both casters and trollers as the water level should finally be settled. Over the last few months, the water level has dropped and risen a number of times. This makes fishing very painful as weed bed depths chop and change from week to week.
As the dam has a very poor catchment area, the main inflow comes from gates located at the back of the dam. This water comes from the Pioneer River and when the gates are open this attracts sooties from all over the dam and concentrates them into this area. They all migrate here to breed and make easy picking for not just anglers in boats but land-based anglers as well. The gates can be open for weeks and by the end of a long period of being open, most fish have been caught more than once. This is when a lure change is needed. Spinnerbaits and plastics are good options in this situation.
The barra will be moving up on the weed beds in morning and afternoon periods to feed. This will be the best time to target the bigger fish. There are still fish up around the 120cm mark being caught around Kinchant Dam. As the main heat of summer wears off, these barra will slow their feeding rate down and the bite time can reduce from eight hours a day to four hours. This means targeting the fish in the key times like dawn, dusk, as well as periods during the night when the barra feed.
Try and find areas with 2-6ft of water over the top of weed beds and fishing them with a surface or shallow running lure like the Reidy’s B52 or Stiffy Boney Bream. Also try trimming the weight out of soft plastics so they can be used slower in the shallow water.
For any extra information on the Mackay area feel free to email me at --e-mail address hidden-- – Daniel Grech
The Pine Rivers Fish Management Association (PRFMA) has completed a busy 2008 and it looks like a very active schedule for 2009. During the past 12 months, the major activities undertaken included:
• Commenced stocking of native fish into Lake Kurwongbah.
• Established a fish breeding program for mosquito control in conjunction with the Moreton Bay Regional Council.
• Conducted a raft of fishing clinics held under the Sunfish Lifestyle Kids Fishing Days and various other programs.
• Maintained the access site at Lake Samsonvale (North Pine dam) in readiness for a relaunch of the Boating Access Scheme
The Boating Access Scheme, whereby permits are issued by the Pine Rivers Fish Management Association (PRFMA) for fishing access to the lake, has been suspended since 2005 due to the low water levels and hence restricted access.
Under the licence agreement with Seqwater, the dam level must reach 50 % before the scheme can reopen, and with the level at 43.5%, many are hopeful the threshold level will be reached early in 2009. Immediately this occurs, application forms for new permits will be made available at leading bait and tackle stores, or from the PRFMA website at www.prfma.com.au . Also keep an eye on the dam levels at the Seqwater website www.seqwater.com.au .
An indication of the fishing prospects for this lake can be gauged from a weekend event held early last year when more than 1600 bass were tagged and released as part of a research project. While fish condition was somewhat poorer than in previous years, the quantity of fish caught and released was an eye opener.
Stocking of fingerlings in Samsonvale has been restricted over recent years because to the closure of the Boating Access Scheme, which provided the bulk of funds for the stocking program. However, Seqwater recently provided over 50,000 bass fingerlings and the lake is also scheduled to be included in the Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIPS) from April 2009. This will give a tremendous boost to the stocking program and will ensure Lake Samsonvale remains one of Queensland’s premier bass fishing locations.
The fish are there and waiting, now we need the rain to get us up to the required level and back on the water!
The stocking program in Lake Kurwongbah only commenced here in early 2008 and so far some 147,000 fish have been released, predominately bass, but with a good quantity of saratoga and Mary River cod.
Trial fishing indicates that the bass have grown from a release length of 25mm to over 200mm in less than 12 moths and are in good condition. Some saratoga are also being taken, so this all augers well for a fine fishery for the future.
The PRFMA will continue its stocking program over the coming years. At this point, no boating access for fishing is permitted but the lake has public access at several points around the shoreline, with Mick Hanfling Park the most popular spot. Don’t be surprised to see a bunch of kids trying their luck here under the watchful eye of PRFMA volunteers.
While not directly related to fish stocking, this program grew out of a request by the local council to resurrect a fish breeding program which had been suspended. The aim is to breed small fish such as rainbows, fire tail gudgeons and Pacific blue eyes for the Council to distribute to local residents for mosquito control, as well as release into public areas such as ponds, creeks and so on.
A number of PRFMA members have volunteered for this program and regularly maintain the breeding tanks and feeding programs.
The Association wishes to acknowledge the support received in from many organisations in 2008 and looks forward to working closely with them in the year ahead. The PRFMA can be contacted at --e-mail address hidden-- or 0417 742023
Set on Bjelke-Petersen Dam, Yallakool Park just 13km from Murgon and 250km from Brisbane has re-opened for business.
Angela and Mike Hartard, the new managers, say fishing has been fantastic with bass, golden perch and silver perch being the main catches of the day. Lots of camping sites, powered and unpowered, are available along with ensuite sites, cabins and villas. Superior facilities, including camp kitchen with open fire, pool and tennis court are on site, and the park is close to wineries. Watch out for upcoming fishing competitions too as anglers make the most of the fantastic fishing available in Bjelke-Petersen Dam.
Contact Angela or Mike on 07 4168 4746 or --e-mail address hidden-- for further information. Fishing group discounts available on already reasonable rates.Reads: 4862