by Matthew Langford
The winter weather is now in full swing and it’s about time too! It’s been unseasonably hot this year and the fish have been sitting deeper than usual.
It’s a good thing now that the cold is finally here because the edge bite is hot and you’ll need to pull yourself away from the campfire for that crisp run up the dam to your first fishing spot.
It’s been a great month for fishing on our inland impoundments, especially Boondooma and Barambah with some great reports coming from all over the dams about great catches of native fish.
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Early mornings on Boondooma have been crisp and very still and the best place to start your day flicking lures is on the edge.
Here you’ve got a couple options. The first is stopping off at one of the many remaining weed beds that have developed around the fringes of the dam and start by throwing jerk baits.
The water has dropped significantly lately and a lot of the weed has died off but there are still quite a few large areas of weed left to fish.
The secret is to choose a jerk bait in a bright colour that is 60 to 70 mm long and suspends when paused on the retrieve. The best method is to cast the lure to the weed edge and slowly roll your jerk bait down. Twitch the lure a couple of times when you’re down to the swimming depth and repeat this process continuously.
Twitch the lure regularly and make sure you add lots of pauses in between. The bass have been cruising through the weed and have been smashing any small jerk bait that has been presented like this.
Make sure you’re ready for the bite at all times as the bass absolutely hammer these baits in the weed. It’s a fun way to fish but you must be patient and move a few spots if you’re not having much luck early on.
Option number two is finding a good steep rocky edge that has some laydown timber on it.
These edges have been producing some great fish.
Both the Boyne and the Stuart arms have edges like this and it’s worth taking some time to fish them well with lipless crank baits and spinner baits.
It’s a good idea to do this as early as you can because the fish tend to become very wary as the sun comes out.
Another trend I’ve been noticing lately is that the main basin is holding some good schools of big bass.
These fish are cautious to bite of a morning and I can only put this down to water temperature and sunlight. After lunch, when that water warms, these fish seem to switch on immensely.
The best spots to check are the Junction through to Pelican Point, Leisegang’s Ledge and the Barber’s Pole.
Cast 1/4 to 3/8 ounce blades and let them sink to the bottom. Use a slow retrieve and let the lure sink back to the bottom occasionally through the retrieve. Also, don’t go past tail spinners, 12 gram being the best, cast them out and let them sink to the bottom.
Use a slow lift and pause retrieve all the way back to the boat, the fish will usually hit the lure when it’s sinking back to the bottom.
Trollers are getting some good yellowbelly in the arms of the dam using deep diving hard bodies.
Troll in close to the timber of the rocks in the Boyne arm.
Bait fishermen: your best chance is to fish the trees in the arms of the dam in 20 to 30 feet of water with live shrimp, worms and yabbies.
There have been some great reports of good numbers of big redclaw coming in, dog biscuits and soft vegetables proving to be great bait for their opera house pots. Place your pots just wide of the weed beds and you should get a feed.
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The dam has gone a little quiet of late but that’s not unusual for this time of year.
Some good fish can still be caught if you’re persistent and hit the right areas.
Just like Boondooma, fishing the edges will still be the best way to start your day. Look for any steeper edges with some timber on it or rock and cast lipless cranks, spinner baits and 1/2 rigged plastics.
Cast as close to the edge as you can and let the lure sink to the bottom. When you see the line go slack, slowly wind the lure all the way back to the boat. If a hungry fish is cruising the edge he is sure to hit that lure as it’s leaving the safety of the bottom.
This is always a great method during low light periods.
Yellowbelly are still able to be targeted but you’ll need to hit any areas that have cover for them. Look for rocky edges, trees or a mixture of both.
Up the back of the dam holds a large amount of timber, so this area would be the best if you’re chasing yellowbelly.
Jig blades or ice jigs around the trees, or cast spinnerbaits into the pockets around the trees, and you’re very likely to catch a few.
When the sun comes up I always like to use my sounder to locate schools offshore.
I tend to target areas between 10 to 25 feet in winter as the fish are usually schooling near the bottom.
Once I’ve found a good show of fish I will start by casting blade lures (blades and tail spinners) to them first as this is what they like to eat during the winter period.
Ice jigs are another viable option as the darting motion of this lure in their face is almost irresistible. Persist long enough and you will get a bite.
Trollers are getting some nice fish trolling through the trees at the back of the dam using deep diving hard bodies.
Stay near the timber but make sure you have a lure retriever to get off any snags.
Also beware that the water levels are starting to drop considerably.
Troll along the old creek bed up the back and you’ll have ample water to catch a fish.
Redclaw are still active but make sure you let your pots soak long enough. If you’re staying at either one of the parks overnight, this will be plenty of time to get a good feed of reddies.
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Winter is an awesome time of year to be out camping, especially sitting around the camp fire and telling stories.
Both parks are great places to stay so make sure you’re planning a trip out our way soon.
If you’re camping in the park, please make sure you’re using an already existing fire place.
If not, please see the manager for an approved fire drum.
Wood can’t be collected from the park, so please make sure you bring your own.
Until next time, tight lines and bent rods!