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bass fishing Toonumbar Dam


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Hi all,

I have just returned from a terrific 'long' weekend at Toonumbar Dam, near Kyogle. (I arrived Thurs afternoon, after an easy 7hr+ trip from Forster and arrived home on Monday afternoon.)

Sometime after leaving Casino, I took a turnoff that was indicated by my copy of 'where to' by Google Maps & found myself on a series of dirt roads, going thru tiny settlements with the name of Fairy Hill, Ettrick, Iron Pot Creek ........ around here, I sort of got lost! I couldn't find the road name that was on the map & had passed an odd looking local sitting in his car at the side of the road in the middle of no-where ...... I was waiting for the Banjos to start playing & was listening for the squeal of a pig ........ then I decided to ask him for directions to the dam, after first arming myself with my set of keys splayed through my fingers as a self made 'knuckle duster' ...... just in case!! He set me on the right track & I was on my way again!!! :blush:

What a terrific setting. I was with a bunch of over 30 kayakers & we virtually had that whole section of the camp ground to ourselves - we managed to scare off any interlopers (hoping to camp near us) with threats of '40 odd kayakers' - maybe they misrepresented the word 'odd' as 'weird' rather than just a guestimate of numbers ....... withsuccess ....they all took off & found camp spots elsewhere!!

Spartan conditions were the name of the day - 3 long drops & a couple of garbage bins & that was it .... apart from many fire places!! In place of a shower, I found those 'baby Wet Ones' to be a terrific alternative, for an APC clean (Arm Pit & Crutch!) The boys kindly bought me some loo paper when they went to town for ice & stuff ..... I hadn't thought of bringing that!!! We all sat round the fire every night, cooking snags (or in my case, steak & onion wraps! I had egg & bacon wraps for breakfast, too, very easy to prepare & stuff all washing up!!) :thumbup:

What a Magic spot - I didn't find any fish on the short outing that I had on Thurs afternoon, but first up on Friday, I found the nursery!! I must have caught about 15 tiny bass ..... mainly on Squidgy Wrigglers!

small but fiesty!

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They were tight up to the granite cliffs & if the lure landed further than 2cm from the water's edge, they wouldn't strike!! Finally I hooked a better specimen, also on the Wriggler,

it went 31cm

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Around the campfire, many tales were told, tall & true!! Some of the guys & gals were out at 4am ...... doing the length of the dam .....but I chose more pedestrian hours - on the water about 7am :P

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Thurs night was rather cold & my thin quilt wasn't sufficient to keep me warm, so I scrounged around at 2am for a picnic rug (rubber one side, material the other) and it did the trick!! Boy, was I pleased I found that!! Back on the water .....

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EVERYONE wants a headlamp like the one that Terry is wearing! It is AMAZING!! The brightness of this headlamp was amazing, with incredible zoom control.

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a nest of yaks - I was reluctant to leave my yak down by the water, but eventually did, with the small concession of removing all my rods & lures before tying it to a stump!

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This time I headed up towards the wall of the dam, where whispers had indicated there were BIG BASS up there!!! One of the yakkers had told me of their rescue of the Bush Turkey - it was a juvenile (quite small) & shivering fiercely! I didn't think it would last long. Another yakker rescued a wallaby that he found in the water - it shredded his net!! :1yikes:

poor bugger

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It was great to catch up with Denis again - he took Keith & I all over the Gold Coast 2 years back when Keith was competing in the Triathlon World champs & he had come down specially for the trip. He is a true Bass Whisperer!! He'd only brought his fly gear with him, so was fly casting his way along the edges - he'd alreadycaught a couple of mid 30's at this stage! Watching him cast, was just mesmerizing!

Denis fly casting

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At this point in time, I had only caught a couple of tiddlers & was a bit disappointed, so figured I'd just chuck out a lure & troll it back to camp, for lunch! One of the yakkers had shown us his fav bass lure & I had a similar colour, so put it on. I was in a world of my own, pedaling my way back to camp, when, WHAM!! I'm on & it feels like it is a good fish!!! It heads to the weeds & suddenly, I can't feel any action, just heavy weed ...... hoping I haven't lost it! Luckily, after grabbing the weed, a bass materialised underneath!!!

it went a tad over 37cm

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I did a 'woohoo' and saw another yakker approaching me ...... she kindly took some pics of me & my fish!

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It was happy to go back to the water

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Sat lunchtime, it had been suggested to bring along 'any goodies' to swap or sell ...... and some bargains were to be had. One guy had a HUGE array of lures to check out!! He had Heaps of Manns Stretch ..... and I bought a couple of lures from him, as I couldn't resist! That afternoon, I thought I'd strike out towards the creek that feeds the dam, as everyone had been talking about it - in search of these mythical big bass!! As I approached the creek, I saw a water dragon crossing the creek & for a moment, I considered casting to it, as they DO chase lures ...... but thought that it may not be the correct thing to do ..... and just as well, for it was a big Brown Snake!!! Heading around the corner, I cast to a shaded spot & the water exploded!!! I'd tossed my Zara Puppy (a largish Heddon surface lure) and it really does look like a water dragon 'walking across the water' & this bass had walloped it!! Sadly, it didn't find the hooks :huh: & also didn't come back for another go!

Entering the creek

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further along the creek .....this was the sort of water I much preferred, reminding me of a couple of creeks near me.

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I had a couple more hits on the way out of the creek, but still no hookups! A couple of the boys got out & walked the creek & caught some good fish to 40cm

beautiful looking water

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Sun .... my final day on the water - I was trying to remember everything I'd been told about bass ..... fish the laneways within the weed beds, stick your nose into the weeds & fish parallel to the weed beds, toss lures into the small pockets of water behind the weed beds, cast to every submerged tree or root system on the water's edge ...... One guy had mentioned using a Towadi (small top water lure) & I had a couple, so I started tossing it around likely spots & once again, the water exploded, but the fish couldn't find the hooks!!! Right method, wrong result! :wacko:

All up, a fantastic few days with fanatical fellow fishos! If you've never fished Toonumbar, add it to your list - a very pleasant camping spot & lovely dam to fish. I guess I was doing about 15km for a round trip up to the creek & back - a good solid pedal!! We were very lucky with the weather - altho cool at night, we had warm, clear days. I will definitely visit this dam again!! :D

I headed for home on Sun afternoon & one of the guys kindly offered for me to spend the night at his place (I was more than happy to sleep in the camper, but he insisted on staying in the house!) We had a lovely meal & I slept very well that night, after a quite strenuous weekend .... and my first shower since Wed!! :074: I had met up with some old buddies & made some new friends, so was more than happy with my 4 days fishing.

Cheerio for now & Thanks for reading


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Great report & pics as usual Roberta! :thumbup: That was a very entertaining read!!

Looks like you had a fun long w/end.

It certainly does look like a great waterway. Might have to give it a go myself soon.

Well done on plenty of bass & a couple of nice ones as well.



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What a great waterway! The water looks superb, so it's no surprise that it is inhabited by some entertaining fish. The photo of the bass being released in the water is a gem, and shows a stark difference to the water quality we're experiencing here. Another crackin' report and series of photos Roberta! :thumbup:



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