water levels dropping south burnett
Dion Handford with a nice bass caught around a rock wall at Lake Boondooma.

Fishing still great in South Burnett despite dropping water levels

water levels dropping south burnett
Vicki Stead picked up a cracker bass on a soft plastic near the Quarry.
water levels dropping south burnett
The Nories 18g Wasabi spoon is deadly on Lake Boondooma bass.
water levels dropping south burnett
Trevor’s bass came from a shallow 3m point near the Quarry.

THE water levels in our two dams are slowly dropping and this has been happening for some time.

It’s hard to ignore but it’s a simple fact of life when you’re going through one of the worst droughts in quite some time. Boondooma Dam currently sits at 35 percent and Bjelke-Peterson Dam at 8 percent. Despite the low levels enough water is in both dams to get out and catch quality fish. This past month has been great on the fishing front.

Boondooma Dam

You always have a few fishing options when hitting the water in Boondooma. Early in the day, your best option is to hit the trees in either the Stuart or Boyne arms chasing bass, yellowbelly and saratoga among the spindly timber. I usually start here when the arms are quiet and it often pays off.

I like to cruise among the trees with the electric motor and cast 5/8oz Bassman Spinnerbaits and soft lipless cranks tight to the spindly trees, let the lure sink for three to five seconds and start my retrieve. This usually accounts for a few bass and yellowbelly. Golden perch particularly like lipless cranks cast tight to the structure and bass tend to hit as the lure bounces over the underwater structure.

If you’re after saratoga, casting surface lures when the water is still is a great way to catch one of these prehistoric fish. These techniques are a great way to fish and it can be nail-biting stuff at times, especially when you hook a quality fish. 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 4.5-7.5m range.

At this time of year the fish sitting in this zone (called the thermocline) are real suckers for slowly retrieved or quickly burned 5/8oz spinnerbaits, 1/2oz-rigged plastics and 18g Nories spoons. So give this a try 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 them because you can be greatly rewarded.

Trollers are getting big bass in the main basin on 5/8oz spinnerbaits, mainly around the Barbers Pole area, the dam wall, Leisegangs Ledge and Pelican Point. Be patient and the rewards will come. Bait fishers are recording good catches in the timbered sections of the dam using shrimp and worms. 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 catch some whoppers. Remember, if your pots are empty, keep moving them because you might drop a pot on the honey hole.

Lake Barambah

Barambah (Bjelke-Petersen Dam) has been the pick of the dams as far as numbers of fish go. Sessions of 20 to 40-plus fish are not uncommon and if you put in the work you can get some quality as well. A few areas fishing well lately are the open water straight out from the park boat ramp, wide of the Quarry and wide of Bass Point. Soft plastics rigged on a 1/2oz jig head have been very effective.

Soft vibes and spinnerbaits are also great go-to lures if the fish are sitting up off the bottom, with a burn and kill retrieve doing the trick. Don’t forget the areas around the edges of the dam that hold some rocky structure. Because the dam is so shallow, the fish like to move up into these areas to feed. Spinnerbaits and blades could become key baits at this time of year.

Trollers are catching nice fish around the predominant lake points of the dam and in the open water out from the main boat ramps. Deep-diving hard-bodies are also accounting for nice yellowbelly, especially the more fluorescent colours. Bait fisherman are getting golden perch along the rocky walls around the edges of the dam using shrimp and worms as bait. The red claw have been fairly quiet this year but are still there to be caught. Set your pots around rocky structure for the best results.

Park news

It was great to see another massive attendance at the annual yellowbelly comp at Lake Boondooma. 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. The organisers will put the money raised back into fingerlings to keep the dam flourishing for years to come.

Coming into the Easter break, the dams will become quite busy. Can I please remind everyone to be wary of the six-knot zone in front of the camping areas and make sure you have your Stocked Impoundment Permits and life jackets. Fisheries Queensland will be visiting quite often over the Easter break and we’d hate to see you fined.

Don’t forget you can book a fishing charter with me on BP and Boondooma dams. If you’d like a great day out and all the info and knowledge to catch bass and yellowbelly in our two great dams, make sure you give me a call on 0408 658 592 and I’ll be happy to take you out. Until next time, tight lines and bent rods.

About Matthew Langford

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