PICTURESQUE BOONDOOMA DAM
Gary "Fitzy" Fitzgerald
Having fished at most impoundments in southern Queensland, I've been lucky enough to enjoy some good fishing and great scenery at times but Boondooma Dam in the south Burnett region offers both of these as the same time.
A large, deep body of water dominated by hills, rocky points and gullies with plenty of boulders and snags thrown in is a lot for the first time visitor to take in when first confronted by the sight.
This same structure can offer varied fishing opportunities for anglers. Located around 20 km northwest of Proston, and 75 km from Kingaroy, Boondooma Dam is a leisurely three and a half hour drive northwest of Brisbane.
The dam was constructed in 1983 across the Boyne river below it's confluence with the Stuart to supply water to the Tarong power station and as is the case at so many impoundments, takes its name from the original property in the area. It has a capacity of 210 000 mega litres under the 1920 Ha of surface area and has an average depth of 11meters.
There is a good quality, two laned boatramp adjacent to the lakeside camping area. Boondooma has had a very mixed stocking history being one of the only impoundments to be stocked with both Murray Cod & Mary River Cod in the past as well as the continued stocking of bass, golden perch, silver perch & saratoga. The local fish stocking group have done a fantastic job as without their dedication and hard work I'm sure we would never have heard the name Boondooma.
There is also a naturally occurring population of Tandans (Eel tailed catfish) and spangled perch. In 1993/94 approximately 60-65 000 barramundi were released into Boondooma as it was felt that this was possibly the furthest south that barra could survive. To date there have been only a couple of reported captures here and since then no further barra releases have taken place. Recently Tilapia have been found in Boondooma and it is hoped that the aquatic invaders don't establish themselves here.
As with most of our south-eastern impoundments, the shining star here over the past few years has been the Australian bass. These hard hitting hard fighting fish are most easily found by casting lures around the outside of the weedbeds in many of the bays that dot this lake. Alternatively, anglers can drop a small unweighted shrimp down along the outside edges of the weeds and occasionally bob them to attract attention. Many of these fringe dwelling bass are on average a little smaller than their deep-water sisters. Open water structure like submerged hilltops and drop-offs tend to be the place where large schools of bass can be located.
This is where a good quality sounder/fish finder is a must have. By keeping one eye in front and the other on the sounder, it is possible to follow the edges of the old creek/river beds to find schools. Once located, a marker buoy can be put on the 'spot' or the boat can be anchored above active fish where a variety of techniques can be used to good effect. Some of the more popular styles are casting tail spinners, spinner baits, slices and ice jigs or even casting flies on sinking lines and down to the required depth. I had a recent demonstration of the effectiveness of deep flyfishing and jigging by local gurus Mathew Mott & Robert Smith with plenty of good sized bass being caught and released in quick concession.
If a sounder hasn't yet figured into the budget, try trolling lures in likely area until fish are found, then continue to work the area. Another idea is to look at the surrounding country side for some hint at where ridges or gullies enter the water. These usually continue further out into the lake under the water.
Although the bass fishing in this impoundment has earned Boondooma a great reputation recently, the mainstay of the fishing here for many years has been the golden perch. These fish can be consistently found in the heavily timbered areas in the Stuart arm of the lake and around many of the rocky points along the main basin. Goldens are also a common capture for anglers targeting bass around the weed edges in bays.
Boondooma will probably remain as one of my favoured freshwater destinations, not so much for the fishing opportunities it provides (and provides quite well) but for the sheer beauty of the place.
I know I'll be going back there for more of the same and I hope to see you there.
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