A rare catch in Lake Boondooma was this solid saratoga extracted from the Boyne arm.

Fishing Options at Boondooma and Bjelke-Petersen Dams

OUR two South Burnett (Boondooma and Bjelke-Petersen) dams have seen some much-needed water inflows, with fishing many options.

It wasn’t a huge amount, about 100mm per dam, but it was enough to lift the levels and keep the fish active. Both dams haven’t changed too much as far as the fishing goes and now is the perfect time to get amongst great fishing in Boondooma and Bjelke-Petersen dams.

Lake Boondooma

A couple of good fishing options are on offer in Lake Boondooma this month.

Early in the day your best option is to hit the trees in either the Stuart or Boyne arms chasing bass, yellowbelly and saratoga in the spindly timber. I usually start here when the arms are quiet in terms of fishing pressure and it tends to pay off.

I like to cruise through the trees with the electric motor and cast 5/8oz Bassman Spinnerbaits or soft, lipless cranks in tight to the spindly trees, letting the lure sink for three to five seconds before starting my retrieve. This usually accounts for a few bass and yellowbelly.

The goldens particularly like lipless cranks cast tight to the structure and the bass too tend to hit as the lure bounces over underwater structure. It’s a great way to fish and it can be nail-biting stuff at times, especially when you hook up to a quality fish.

Recently I was in the Boyne arm casting to some really thick spindly timber in the middle of the arm when I noticed the telltale swirl of a saratoga. Toga are not particularly common in the dam, so I wasted no time in picking up a Bassman and casting it over the top of the swirl. I started a burning retrieve and immediately hooked up to an acrobatic toga that jumped out of the water several times.

Dylan Brandley with a cracking 51cm bass caught on a spinnerbait in the main basin of Boondooma.
Dylan Brandley with a cracking 51cm bass caught on a spinnerbait in the main basin of Boondooma.
Bjelke-Petersen Dam is a great place to take your family, especially kids who will love the park and fishing.
Bjelke-Petersen Dam is a great place to take your family, especially kids who will love the park and fishing.
With shows such as this on the sounder it’s hard not to get fish in the boat.
With shows such as this on the sounder it’s hard not to get fish in the boat.
It went into the net quite easily and I was rewarded with a beautiful fish of 68cm. I had been keen to get a toga for quite some time, so this was a memorable catch.

Later in the day when the sun is up I’d be moving out to the main basin and sounding for concentrations of fish in the 4-6m range.

At this time of year the fish that sit in this zone, known as the ‘thermocline’, are real suckers for slowly retrieved or fast-burned 5/8oz spinnerbaits. Give this a try the next time you’re out, but make sure you find good shows of fish on the sounder before you start casting.

It pays to put the work in to find the fish. Trollers are getting big bass in the main basin by trolling 5/8oz spinnerbaits around the Barbers Pole area, the dam wall, Leisegangs Ledge and Pelican Point.

Be patient and the rewards will come. Bait fishers using shrimp and worms are still recording good catches in the timbered sections of the dam. Silver perch, bass, yellowbelly and eel-tailed catfish are all catchable and good eating quality.

Red claw are patchy but if you put in the work you will capture some whoppers. If a pot is empty, keep moving it because you might drop it on the honey hole.

Lake Barambah

Lake Barambah (Bjelke-Petersen Dam) has been the pick of the local dams as far as numbers of fish go. Sessions with 20-plus fish landed are not uncommon and if you put the work in you can get quality as well.

A few areas fishing well lately are Lightning Ridge, Treasure Island and wide of Bass Point. Make sure you talk to the team at the kiosk if you want to know more about these areas.

Soft plastics rigged on 1/2oz jig heads have been very effective. Soft vibes and spinnerbaits are great go-to lures if the fish are sitting up off the bottom, with a burn and kill retrieve doing the damage.

Don’t forget to have a look at the areas around the edges of the dam that hold some structure. Because the dam is so shallow, the fish like to move up into these areas to feed. During autumn the fish will definitely be up in these areas.

Spinnerbaits and blades could become key baits at this time of year. Trollers are catching solid fish by trolling around the main points of the dam and over Lightning Ridge and Treasure Island. Deep-diving hard-bodies are also accounting for yellowbelly, especially in the more fluorescent colours.

Bait fishers are still getting golden perch up in the timbered arms of the dam using shrimp and worms as bait. Red claw have been fairly quiet this year but they are still there if you put in the time to find them. Set your pots around structure for the best results.

Park news

It was great to see a record attendance at the annual Boondooma Dam Yellowbelly Fishing Competition this year, with a total of 832 entrants. Everyone was well behaved and most people caught fish.

A huge thankyou to everyone who attended this year’s event and made the weekend such a huge success. Thanks also to the Boondooma stocking group led by Terry Allwood for making it so enjoyable.

This group will put the money back into stocking fingerlings in the dam to ensure it keeps flourishing for years to come. Coming into the Easter break, the dams will become quite busy.

Can I please remind everyone to be aware of the six-knot zone in front of the camping areas as well as the fact there is no access to Sandy Creek, which is just past the dam wall. And please don’t park your boat in the swimming zone in front of the picnic and park area.

Fisheries Queensland officers will be visiting the dams quite often over the Easter break and we’d hate to see you fined for the above reasons.

Until next time, tight lines and bent rods.


About Matthew Langford

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