May 5, 2017
by Matthew Langford
It’s been an interesting month of fishing in the impoundments of the South Burnett.
With the recent influx of water, there’s been a lack of consistent fishing as the water settles.
As I write, the fishing has improved over the past few days and captures of big natives in both BP and Boondooma dams are being reported.
The water temperatures are slowly starting to lower but constant warmer afternoons have started to make the fish bite well.
It’s been a very warm month with only a few mornings cold enough to pull on the jumpers.
The fish are somewhat quiet in the mornings but as the day warms, they have really been firing.
* * *
Boondooma has started to pick up as the water clears; the bigger Bass and Goldens are starting to be caught on a variety of techniques.
The last month has seen some inconsistency but some good fish are starting to be caught. The great thing about Boondooma is that you can catch fish by fishing many different areas and using a variety of techniques.
In the mornings, when its cooler, I like to head up the arms of the dam and fish the edges as this seems to be the best option for those feeding fish early in the morning.
I’ll cast a 3/8 Bassman spinnerbait or a lipless crank to the edge, let it hit the bottom and slowly wind it out. The fish tend to move up on the edge during the night and will generally feed until the sun hits the water and starts to warm.
This can be a great way of catching some big fish, especially up in the timbered arms and it there’s a lot of structure near the edge that you’re fishing.
Another option is fishing the many weed beds that line the edge of the dam. Jerkbsits are a great option here. Cast the Jerkbait up to the weed edge and crank it down a couple of winds, pause it and then begin a series of twitches as you wind.
Remember that fishing close to the weed, you will come in contact with the weed regularly, so just give the rod tip a quick flick to get the Jerkbait free. Be patient with this technique as the Bass sitting in the weed pockets will eventually come out and hit the Jerkbait hard.
This is also a great option for catching some big Yellowbelly, particularly in the afternoon when the water is warm.
After the sun has been up for a while and the day starts to warm, I always move out to the deeper sections of the dam and target the schooled fish sitting out on the flats.
Sound around until you’ve located a good showing of fish. Generally, at this time of year I’ll be searching around the 15 to 25 foot mark.
When a school is located you have a few options to cast at the fish to entice a bite: ½-rigged plastics, tail spinners, blades, spinnerbaits and soft vibes all have their place out on the flats and it’s just a matter of trying a few baits until you have one with which you’re consistently catching fish.
Recently soft plastics have really been the standout lure fished along the bottom.
A key to getting a good flats bite though is having an afternoon where it’s quite hot and you have a slight breeze on the water. This combination of warmth and current tends to get the fish biting.
Bait fisherman are still catching good numbers of fish up in the timbered arms, tying off trees and fishing with live shrimps and worms as bait.
Bait can be purchased at the kiosk or shrimp an be caught in the weed around the dam edges with opera house pots.
Trollers are picking up some good fish around the weed edges and along the rock walls up near the dam wall and in the timbered arms, using spinnerbaits and deep diving hard bodies.
Redclaw are really on the move since the influx of water. Make sure you pack the opera house pots!
* * *
Fishing on BP has fired up again with some nice catches of Bass and Yellowbelly coming in, particularly during the warmer afternoons.
With the warmer days, the fish have generally been staying out deep in the 15 to 25 foot zone.
Depending on the day, if it’s cool in the morning, I will target the weed edges with spinnerbaits, blades and tail spinners. It helps if the edges have spindly timber mixed in with the weed as the fish tend to move up and feed around this structure early in the morning.
Later in the day, especially if it’s warm, I will move out deeper and target those fish sitting in the deeper flats of about 20 feet.
The fish have been spread out over the flats next to Lightning Ridge, Bass Point, and wide of Treasure Island.
The best way to target the fish out deep is by using plastics, blades, tail spinners and soft vibes. Sound around these areas until you have a good show of fish on the sounder, then go through the above-mentioned lures until you find one that gets you onto a couple of fish and stick with it.
Make long casts and make sure the lure stays in contact with the bottom regularly. Use either a hopping retrieve, or a dead slow roll along the bottom.
Persist with this long enough and you will eventually get a bite.
Trollers are picking up some nice Bass trolling deep divers and spinnerbaits along the bottom in 12 to 14 feet over the above-mentioned areas.
Bait fisherman are picking up some nice catches of Bass and Goldens in the timber on shrimps, worms and yabbies but be wary, the water is shallow before the timber.
Redclaw are still coming in, with some nice catches being taken from the rocky areas of the dam as well as some nice catches in the bays with weed coming out from the edge.
* * *
The tackle shops at both dams are fully stocked, and the Yallakool kiosk’s lure range has also had a major facelift with a new range of lures in stock.
All lures on the wall are just what you’ll need to target Bass and Yellowbelly in BP and Boondooma dams.
The staff at both dams are very helpful when it comes to locations on the dam for the best fishing and what lures to use, so don’t hesitate to ask.
On a final note, if you’re not just staying in the parks for the great fishing, make sure you check out the tourist information centres at both of our dams. There’s maps and brochures of all the great attractions around the South Burnett region all within a short distance of the parks for you to enjoy.
Tight lines and bent rods!
[Photos: Matthew Langford]