From chasing offshore reefies to fishing a wild creek, we all search long and hard for those elusive and untouched places as this is where the best fishing is.
The recent decision by Seqwater to allow paddle craft onto Lake Kurwongbah for fishing has opened up an opportunity for awesome kayak fishing, targeting an almost untouched fish population.
We must first thank the Pine Rivers Fish Management Association for its hard work stocking the lake with bass, yellowbelly, Mary River cod, gar and saratoga since 2008.
Without the efforts of past and present members, some of whom are mates of mine, none of this would be possible. Seqwater has selected Mick Hanfling Park on Torrens Rd as the launch point for all paddle craft.
Because the aquatic cabomba weed is present in the lake all equipment must be washed down before leaving the park and Seqwater has installed a wash-down facility on the foreshore for this purpose.
Washing off your equipment will help prevent the spread of cabomba into other lakes and rivers where the weed is not present. The last thing we want is to have to wash down at every lake in the state, so it is necessary to keep the weed contained and an easy thing to do.
A few other conditions apply that I won’t go through, but they can be found at seqwater.com.au and are worth reading before heading out. Jump on the PRFMA website www.prfma.com.au for more information about the stocking activities in the lake, and if you are keen to help out this is a good place to start.
Now to the fishing.
The lake is built on Sideling Creek with the structure that holds the water to form the lake called Sideling Creek Dam.
The creek bed snakes its way through the sunken valley below and holds good numbers of bass down deep that can be targeted using the same deepwater techniques that work in other dams. A quality sounder will be invaluable to find the fish but a hint to get a head start is to have a good look at Google Earth Historical Imagery.
In my experience, the GPS on Google Earth will get you close enough to find what you are looking for once on the water. The fishing we have done on the lake has been completely unassisted and we’ve basically just been winging it, paddling around and targeting weed edges as well as my old favourite for all dams and species – a point within a bay.
The deep edge directly opposite and towards the wall from the launch park has seen a few 40-fish sessions trolling and casting just about anything in the tackle box along the weed edge and jigging a little deeper off the edge.
Remember these fish have never seen a lure, so everything is new.
What I mean by that is I fished a 15-year-old RMG Poltergeist with not much colour left and caught as many fish as my mate who was using a new to the market Lucky Craft lure.
Both are great lures made more than a decade apart.
Don’t get caught up in fads and the latest te
chniques when fishing new areas because just about anything will work and the methods that allow lots of time with a lure in the water are the best, such as trolling and jigging metals. The guys who are very good at locating big fish on the ocean usually keep the rig and baits simple as the fish are less wary. I reckon the same can be said of the fish in Lake Kurwongbah at the moment.
We decided to find the fish by trolling around with a couple of lures out the back because we had no electronics on the kayaks. The trouble we had in the first few trips was the fish seemed to be everywhere and at one stage we caught six small bass in a row just trying to relocate to explore a new area and look for bigger fish.
The numbers of bass available when the lake opened were exceptional, and if other lake openings are anything to go by we should get through this summer before they start to wise up and become harder to catch.
This summer will also be the best time to try to crack a saratoga from the lake before they catch on to fishing pressure and become a little harder to trick. Head into the back of the bays in the northern end of the lake if you want to find one. It’s a fair paddle to this area but worth the effort if a toga is the goal. In the heat of summer the toga will surface feed, taking small poppers and other surface lures cast into the lilies and weed beds in the shallow bays holding warm water. With the number of Christmas beetles we have seen this spring, the toga would have to be looking up by now.
Just on dark they will be looking for a Christmas beetle to fall into the lake, so anything small that mimics a beetle on the surface is a good bet. Beetle spins and small spinnerbaits rigged with little paddle-tail soft plastic stingers are dynamite on toga.
Fished high in the water column and retrieved at a brisk, consistent pace, they will be a great way to chase the toga around the back of the dam. As usual with toga fishing, make sure your hooks are super sharp because they have a very bony mouth and hook penetration is quite difficult to achieve with anything less than brand-new hooks.
I generally use new chemically sharpened hooks to chase toga and then after a few trips swap them over to another lure to be used for something less bony. I will then put new hooks on the toga lure, which makes a bit of dif-ference to holding onto them I think.
Kayak fishos have an exceptional opportunity this summer to make the most of targeting these untouched fish. Please abide by the rules and regulations Seqwater has laid out so we can all use this great resource into the future. If you have any questions, you can contact me through the Bush ‘n Beach fisho forum and Facebook.
I look forward to talking to you again very soon.
JASON ‘BIRDY’ BIRD
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