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Bass Fishing at Lake Samsonvale (North Pine Dam)

Situated right on Brisbane's north side is Lake Samsonvale, a mere four km west of Petrie. It is one of the main water storages for the greater south-east region supplying up to a third of Brisbane's water needs. Lake Samsonvale was created by the construction of North Pine Dam in 1976 across the North Pine River.
The Lake has a large surface area of some 2 200 hectares, holds 215 000 mega-litres when full at an average depth of almost 10 meters. Historically there has been no boating access here although fish stocking has been ongoing for over 10 years with Australian bass, yellowbelly, silver perch, Mary River cod and saratoga being released.

Probably more known for its tilapia, spangled perch and redclaw, Samsonvale has quietly been producing big bass and yellowbelly for those that have put in the effort of bank fishing from the recreation areas at Bullocky Rest and MacGavin View. This has all recently changed.
A Thumping Samsonvale Bass

Under a trial scheme, local pro-active fish stocking group, PRFMA have negotiated a limited boating access permit for 200 anglers under a public ballot system where those that applied were given an equal chance of being one of the permit holders for this year. The permit only allows access to one section of the upper reaches of the lake. Initial response was less than enthusiastic with only just over 200 applications made. Those that did win in the ballot were required to pay $100 for that year and adhere to strict rules such as no outboards & no rubbish in the water, which is policed by PRFMA.

  The opening day of the access permit saw some exceptional captures of fish, particularly bass with several big bass caught in the first half an hour and within 50 meters of the launching area. It soon became obvious that the fish in Samsonvale had taken after the lakes biblical namesake (Samson) in that they were big, strong fish although not needing any long hair for the demonstration.

Bass upto 55 cm and 3.5 kg are a common capture with reports of even bigger specimens in excess of 60 cm filtering through the grape vine. Bass aren't the only fish that have grown big and strong in this bony bream and snub nosed gar rich lake. Yellowbelly upto five kg and silver perch to three kg are also a fairly common capture further up the river section.
Trolling deep diving lures seems to be the most productive method for bass at this early stage of the game here with fish preferring darker colors. Areas that are producing bass are bay mouths, submerged hill tops and the old river drop-offs.
It is still too early to predict what techniques will emerge as the best here, but a full seasons fishing should see some patterns emerge.
A good quality sounder like the Zercom LPG 2000 are great for showing schools of bony bream, fish and structure. If a top of the line model hasn't yet made the budget, even a basic unit is a must even if just to show the depth.
Redclaw crays are also high on many permit holders hit list, with several dozen floats from traps being a common sight along most banks and bays.

The initial burst of fishing activity should slow throughout the first season and as many fish get educated to lures, flies and bait. There also seems to be a lot of fish going into eskies with some permit holders commenting that "they are going to get their $100 worth back in fillets". Attitudes like this can't do he fishery a great deal of good as it this authors opinion that there aren't a lot of fish in this section of the lake and the easy fishing won't last for long.
I hope I'm wrong.
What is lacking in numbers is sure made up by the sheer size of most of the fish here.

It is also noteworthy that all the money raised by the boating access fee will be utilized by PRFMA for future fish stocking initiatives, ensuring a good supply of fish not only in this part of the lake, but at the regular public access areas of Bullocky Rest & MacGavin View.
With money injection like this now coming into the lakes fishery, it's future seems assured.
The boating access scheme is only on a trial basis this year.
If deemed to be successful by PRFMA and the dam owners, SEQWCorp, then it may well be a permanent set-up which could also be expanded in both numbers of permits and in fishing areas.

Garry Fitzgerald.






Copyright© 2001 Garry Fitzgerald. Sweetwater Fishing Australia