by Matthew Langford
Spring is finally here and it’s a time of year I always look forward to.
The water temps are gradually increasing and the native fish in our stocked impoundments really leap into life and start gorging themselves, which means it’s a great time for anglers to be on the water.
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In my last report the water temperatures were down around 16 degrees and the fishing was good, but as I write the water temperatures have increased slightly and the fish have really started to fire up.
The edge bite has slowed a little but the fishing on the flats has been insane.
Some good Yellowbelly and Bass can still be caught from the edges early if you’re casting lures.
I’ve found the best areas to target are the steeper rocky edges with some timber, and the remains of the weed beds that outline the dam in 8-10 feet.
Some great techniques for targeting the fish on the edge is using suspending jerk-baits and 12 gram spoons burnt over the top of the submerged weed.
Both presentations entice the fish to come out of the weed and smash a paused jerk-bait or chase a moving spoon as it zips past overhead.
The jerk-bait presentation is a slow retrieve with a lot of pauses, and the spoon presentation is all about long casts and a steady fast retrieve to keep the lure above the weed.
I find dropping the spoon back to the weed occasionally is a good way to keep that lure in the zone.
The old submerged weed edges still hold some cracking Bass, but I’d be moving to the 20 to 30 foot flats to start looking around mid-morning as the day starts to heat up.
Areas I like to start looking in are the Junction to Pelican Point edges out 80 meters from the bank in 20 to 30 feet of water.
There’s a few baits that have really been working well, but if you cast anything that imitates a bony bream you’ll be in with a top chance of hooking a good fish.
12 gram Nories tail spinners and spoons and 1/4 ounce blades have been working really well, but soft plastics have also accounted for a few good sessions.
The key to using a spoon on schooled fish is to let the lure sink to the bottom and slow wind the bait through the fish.
If you think you’ve got the lure too high through the fish, make sure you drop it back down through them and start the retrieve again.
Eventually you will get a bite – persistence is a big key when fishing anywhere.
Bait fisherman have also been doing well out on the flats. Use your sounder to locate a good showing of fish in the 20 to 30 foot range and once you find a good show, anchor up and drop down using live shrimp.
The great thing about live shrimp is that you can catch them in the dam itself.
It shouldn’t be long until you have some nice fish coming to the boat.
A great tip for bait fishing is to make sure you have some fresh bait, and also make sure your knots are tied well because the fish on the flats can be big and will leave you broken-hearted if you’re not prepared.
If you’re trolling, the fishing should improve as the water temperatures continue to rise, but there have been some reports of fish trolled up in the timber of the Boyne and Stuart arms.
The key is to use deep diving hard bodies in dark colours.
Redclaw have also been moving well, with the warmer water bringing them back to the pots.
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The same is happening at Lake Barambah, where the water temperatures have risen and the fish are really active.
Fish are responding to most lure techniques but the bigger fish have been coming from the points and edges.
The most effective lures have been 1/4 blades, spinner baits, lipless cranks and 1/4 ounce rigged three inch plastics.
You’ll note that most of these baits imitate the bait that fish are feeding on, which is masses and masses of small bony bream, gudgeon, sleepy cod, barred grunter and spangled perch.
I’ve been fishing the dam quite regularly and have had some of the best fishing from the edges that I can remember, with nice Yellowbelly and big Bass caught on every trip.
The key to success however is finding the right bank to fish.
If you’re an avid lure angler like me, pick an edge and start moving along it.
I like to sit about 30 meters from the bank and fan out casts, trying to cover as much water as possible. Keep moving along the edge and eventually you’ll come across a lure that works for you.
Once you’ve caught a fish there’s a big chance that there will be more in very close proximity, so make sure you cover that water thoroughly.
The big fish have been hanging out together, so if you get one there’s a chance you’ll get a few.
Bait fisherman have been catching good bags of fish around the edges of the dam and from the shore using live shrimp, saltwater yabbies and worms.
Trollers are picking up the odd fish trolling around Lightening Ridge and the dam’s edges.
The trolling will be fantastic in the coming months as the fish move up in the water column and start to suspend in warmer weather.
The Redclaw have also been really moving with some big numbers being caught, so now is the time to drop the pots in.
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If you’re an avid troller or hard bodied lure enthusiast, the Golden Lure comp is on at Boondooma Dam on October 20-22.
So if you’re looking at coming to the dams for a stay, make sure you give the guys at the kiosk a call and they’ll book you a site tailored to your needs.
You should also check in with the kiosk if you’re unsure of the names of places around the dams that I reference in my column.
Give Yallakool a call on (07) 4168-4746 or Boondooma on (07) 4168-9694.
Until next time, tight lines and bent rods!
[Photos: Matthew Langford]