Lane Ferling with a 48cm Bass caught slow rolling a ½ rigged soft plastic on Bjelke-Petersen Dam

December 4, 2019

by Matthew Langford

The hot weather and potential afternoon storm build-ups are creating some great opportunities for big Bass and Yellowbelly.

This weather pattern is quite common with the onset of summer, and it really brings the native fish on the bite.

If you’re an avid troller, from now through to February is the best time to dust off those deep divers and head to the South Burnett’s dams to get among some great native trolling action.

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Lake Boondooma

When the warmer months arrive and its hot, the Yellowbelly and Bass like to position themselves in a zone called the thermocline which is generally a depth of 18 to 25 feet.

This zone, or column of water, is where the fish find it the most comfortable, where the temperature is just right to sit in while it’s hot upstairs. And it’s full of the little critters that they love to gorge themselves on.

With the majority of the fish sitting in this zone throughout the dam, it opens up the doors for some fantastic fishing opportunities.

If I want to target Bass, the first places I’ll look are the deep water off any prominent points in the main basin. I’ll use my sounder to sound the fish sitting in that optimal depth.

When I’m happy that I’ve found a good concentration of fish, I will pull up and begin casting 3” to 4” soft plastics rigged with a ½ ounce or 5/8 ounce head. With a big long cast over the areas that I found the fish, I will let the jig head sink 7 to 10 seconds and begin a slow retrieve back to the boat with a couple of twitches mixed in.

The same can be done with a 12 or 18 gram Norries spoon. Continue this technique until you start to feel a few taps on the plastic or spoon. When you feel a tap, it’s important to keep that slow wind going until you feel weight on the line. Slowly lift the rod tip until you feel the weight of the fish.

At this point the fish will know it’s hooked and make some runs back down into the deeper water. Keep your drag fairly loose so that the hook doesn’t pull on the way back to the boat.

Using this method over the holiday period will account for some big Bass at Boondooma.

Lake Boondooma is a great place for the younger generation to learn more about freshwater fishing
A couple of happy customers with a few very healthy Bass caught during an afternoon session on Boondooma

The timbered arms are holding good numbers of Bass and Yellowbelly as well, very close to structure.

You’ll need to get your lures in as close as you can to get a bite. Look for spindly timber, or big trees out in the middle of the arms.

Lures of choice for this scenario are 5/8 or 3/8 Bassman Spinnerbaits, ½ ounce jig head rigged with a 3” soft plastic and any sinking lipless crankbait.

Give your lure up to five seconds to sink down and start a slow wind.

It’s important to make sure that you have a lure retriever with you as you WILL get snagged on the trees occasionally but if you’re getting snagged you know you’re in the thick of it.

I use 14 to 20 pound leaders when fishing close to structure so I have a chance if a fish rubs the line through trees.

Otherwise, if I’m in open water I’ll decrease my leader size to 6 to 10 pound as I’m less concerned about a fish dragging me through trees or any structure.

The quality of Bass this time of year is very impressive

Trollers are picking up some great Bass and Yellowbelly around the deeper sections of the dam, targeting those suspended fish.

Make sure to have plenty of deep divers handy, and some 5/8 Bassman Spinnerbaits or any lures that dive 15 to 20 feet will be the ones that get you on to consistent fish.

Bait fisherman are consistently getting among a mixed bag of fish up in the timbered arms of the dam using worms and fresh shrimp.

It may even pay to move to the main basin and let your bait suspend under the boat in that 15 to 25 foot range. Drifting with the wind is a great way to cover water with your bait under the boat. Eventually it will cross paths with a hungry fish or two.

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Lake Barambah

With a similar pattern to Boondooma, Lake Barambah is producing some great fishing as well.

The fish are sitting in that 15 to 20-foot range along the submerged creek bed. These fish are very willing to take anything that is placed in front of them.

Because Barambah is a shallower dam you can target more areas and use a bigger variety of lures to catch a few natives. The Bass are responding well to 3” soft plastics, ¼ blades and 3/8 and 5/8 Spinnerbaits.

Some likely areas to target are the large flat area in front of the main dam wall, wide of the quarry and the creek bed between the two boat ramps.

On a recent fishing charter, we targeted the lake’s Bass with a ½ jig head rigged with a 3″ soft plastic and caught dozens of Bass and Yellowbelly.

I found that the bigger fish were tight to the drop-offs along the old creek bed and waiting for bait to swim over. Areas like this are prime ambush positions for native fish, so don’t forget to give areas like this a go next time you’re out.

Trollers are catching some nice Bass and Yellowbelly wide of the quarry towards the dam wall, as well as adjacent to the steep rock wall on the left of the dam just before Bass Point.

Bait fisherman are consistently catching good numbers of Yellowbelly and Bass, anchoring along the steeper edges of the dam. Best baits have been fresh shrimp and worms.

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Fishing Charters

The fishing of late at Bjelke-Petersen and Boondooma dams has been fantastic with most sessions producing numbers of fish and some great quality.

Boondooma has been producing a great mixed bag of species, so if you’d like to learn more about targeting a particular species, all you have to do is ask and make a booking.

Don’t forget that you can book a fishing charter with me on BP and Boondooma dams and many other dams in Queensland.

If you’d like a great day out and all the info and knowledge to catch Bass, Yellowbelly or Saratoga in our great dams make sure you give me a call on 0408-658-592 and I’ll be happy to
take you out for a great day’s fishing. You can also check out our website

Until next time, tight lines and bent rods!

[Photos: Matthew Langford]

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