fishing patterns south burnett
Photo: Matt Langford

Winter fishing patterns in South Burnett

IT’S been an interesting month of fishing patterns in the two impoundments of the South Burnett.

With the slight influx of water and cooler weather setting in, there’s been a lack of consistent fishing as the water and season settles. As I write, the fishing has improved over the past few days and captures of big natives in Bjelke-Petersen and Boondooma dams are being reported. The water temperatures are slowly starting to drop but warmer afternoons have prompted the fish to bite well. It’s been a very warm month with only a few mornings cold enough to pull on the jumpers. The fish seem to be somewhat quiet in the mornings but as the day warms, they really start firing.


Boondooma has started to pick up and bigger bass and goldens are being caught on a variety of techniques as they move into shallower water. The past month has seen some inconsistency but good size fish are starting to be captured. The great thing about Boondooma is you can catch fish in many different areas on a variety of techniques. In the mornings when its cooler, I like to head up the arms of the dam and fish the edges. I’ll cast a 3/8oz Bassman Spinnerbait or 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 big fish early, especially if you’re in the timbered arms and there’s a lot of structure near the edge you’re fishing. Another option is fishing the many weed beds that line the edge of the dam, where jerkbaits are a great option.

fishing patterns in south burnett
Annette Langford with a nice bass caught by casting to the weed edge.
Billy Schloss held a cracker bass caught in the shallows at Boondooma on a spoon.
Ecogear ZX blades are a real standout when the weather starts to cool.
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 when fishing close to the weed you will contact it regularly, so just give the rod tip a quick flick to get the jerkbait free. Be patient with this technique because the bass sitting in the weed pockets will eventually come out and hit the jerkbait hard. This is also a great option for catching 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 on the flats. Sound around until you’ve located a good showing of fish. At this time of year I generally search around the 4.5-7.5m depth range. Once you have located a school, you have a few options for casting at the fish to entice a bite. Half ounce-rigged plastics, tailspinners, blades, spinnerbaits and soft vibes all have their place on the flats and it’s just a matter of trying a few lures until you find one that consistently catches fish.

Bait fishers are picking up good numbers of fish in the timbered arms by tying off trees and fishing with live shrimp and worms. You can buy bait at the kiosk, but if you want the best bait, use opera house pots to catch your own shrimp from the weed around the dam edges. Trollers are picking up good fish around the weed edges, along the rock walls near the dam wall and in the timbered arms with spinnerbaits and deep-diving hard-bodies.

Lake Barambah

Fishing on BP Dam (Lake Barambah) has slowly improved, with some nice catches of bass and yellowbelly coming in, particularly during the warmer afternoons. Due to the warmer afternoons and cold mornings, the fish have generally been staying out deep in the 4.5-7.5m zone. If it’s a cool morning, I will target the weed edges with spinnerbaits, blades and tailspinners.

It helps if the edges have spindly timber mixed in with the weed because 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 fish sitting in the deeper flats of about 6m. The fish have been spread out over the flats next to Lightning Ridge and Bass Point and wide of Treasure Island and wide of the Quarry.

The best way to target the fish in the deep is with blades, tailspinners and soft vibes. Sound around these areas until you find a good show of fish on the sounder, and then go through the above lures until you find one that gets you onto a couple of fish and stick with it. Make long casts and ensure 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 quality bass by trolling deep-divers and spinnerbaits along the bottom in 3.6-4.2m in the above areas. Bait fishers are picking up nice catches of bass and goldens in the timber on shrimp, worms and yabbies, but be aware the water is shallow before the timber. Red claw are still coming in, with quality catches taken from the rocky areas of the dam as well as in the bays with weed coming out from the edge.

Park news

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 for a great day’s fishing.

On a final note, it is with great sadness we must say farewell to Corey and Nikki Goldie who have been managing the two parks for the past few years. They have done an amazing job and have always been very welcoming to the many thousands of visitors who have come to the South Burnett. I wish them all the best with their future endeavours and they will be greatly missed.

For summer fishing tips in the South Burnett, click here!

Until next month, tight lines and bent rods.

About Matthew Langford

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