SPRING is finally here and it’s the time of year I always look forward to.
The water temps are gradually increasing and the native fish in our stocked impoundments really spring to life and start gorging themselves. This means a great time to be on the water, particularly in the warmer afternoons.
In last month’s article I mentioned the fish were unseasonably deep for this time of year. This is unchanged, particularly for Australian bass, but yellowbelly can still be caught from the edge in the timbered arms. The bass have been up a little shallower in the morning in about 6m but as the day warms they are moving out into the 9-18m range.
The fish are sitting so deep because that’s where the bait is. Boondooma’s bass are feeding on very small shrimp, red claw and big schools of bony bream.
The large percentage of this forage is moving along the bottom in those deeper zones of the dam. If you want to target yellowbelly, the edges in the Boyne and Stuart arms are producing nice fish on lipless crankbaits cast around the timber and rocks.
For bass, blades and 20g spoons fished in 6-8m during the morning are best. Later in the day, look in 9-18m because the bass will be moving away from the edge to forage on the masses of bait getting around. The afternoon has been the pick of the times to be on the water because the fish are responding well to the warmer afternoons.
Once the water has climbed above 17C, the deeper sections along the Barbers Pole area have fished very well. Fishing water this deep is still quite easy using 1/2oz blades, spoons, tailspinners and 1/2oz-rigged plastics fished along the bottom. Leisegangs Ledge, Pelican Point and the main lake points up the front of the dam near the wall have also produced good fish.
Bait fishers have been getting good catches of yellowbelly in the Boyne arm by fishing close to trees and rocks. Most have been using saltwater yabbies, shrimp and worms. It’s a good idea to run smaller sinkers because the bite is hard to detect if you’re using huge ball sinkers. Simply tie up to a tree, drop your bait to the bottom and slowly move the bait up and down off the bottom.
It won’t be long until you get a bite. Trollers have been getting yellowbelly but they’ve had to work hard for them. Make sure you take a tackle retriever with you because you’re bound to get a snag or two while trolling. Red claw are still being captured in pretty good numbers around the shallow rocky edges.
Soft fruits and vegetables have been the best baits.
Typically, in the cooler months, Lake Barambah’s fish move in closer to the edge and can be caught using a few methods. Lately, the best edge fishing method has been Ecogear ZX blades, skirted jigs and jerkbaits cast into the shallows. Slower-moving lures like those suggested are dynamite in winter.
The key is small hops off the bottom near the edge with the ZX blades and long pauses near the edge with the jerkbaits.
The deeper flats have also produced lots of fish, be it bass or yellowbelly. Ecogear ZX blades fished vertically have proven the best method. Most anglers are sounding fish in about 6m and sitting on top of them. Ecogear ZX blades have been the real standout because they have two small stinger hooks attached.
Drop them down to the bottom and hop them with small sharp hops. Fish only need to touch the blades and the stinger hooks will grab them. The best spot has been the big flat out from the main dam wall. It’s valuable to remember that most fish in the dam are gorging themselves on small bony bream, so it’s a great idea to throw anything that looks like these small baitfish.
Soft plastics have presented another method for catching quality fish. Look for steeper banks holding timber or rocks because this is a likely place to find bait up shallow. Out deeper, try to find flats close to significant drop-offs or the main submerged creek line. Bait fishers have been getting tonnes of nice fish from Barambah.
Most have been fishing along the edge with saltwater yabbies and shrimp. Trollers are catching the odd fish around the main lake points on small deep-diving hard-bodied lures. Red Claw have gone very quiet and should start popping back up as the water gets warmer.
It was a great thrill recently to be on board with Daniel McCoy who caught and landed a potential world-record bass from Lake Somerset. We were fishing a tournament together when he landed the 4.45kg, 59cm beast. Don’t forget you can book a fishing charter with me on Bjelke-Petersen (Lake Barambah) and Boondooma dams, as well as many other dams in Queensland.
If you’d like a great day out and all the info and knowledge to catch bass and yellowbelly in our great dams, make sure you give me a call on 0408 658 592 and I’ll be happy to take you out.
You can also check out my website at australianfreshwaterfishing.com
Until next time, tight lines and bent rods.