Mackay’s Teemburra Dam has a well-earned reputation for producing co-operative barramundi and most anglers fishing the dam expect to see fish on their lures or flies before long. Denise and I arrived at Teemburra one afternoon after a drive from Brisbane and I hooked a barra on my third cast.
As well as a very plentiful supply of barra, there are also powerful sooty grunters inhabiting Teemburra’s waters.
Teemburra Dam is around an hour’s drive west of Mackay and it’s an easy journey, even for someone who has never been to the dam before.
Turn from the Bruce Highway onto the Peak Downs Highway just south of the city. After going 10km west on the Peak Downs Highway, there is a well-signed turn-off to the right to the towns of Marian, Mirani, Finch Hatton and Eungella. The smaller towns of Gargett and Pinnacle are also on this road, west of Mirani, and are sign posted quite prominently.
Follow the road through Marian, Mirani and Gargett. Around 60km west of Mackay is Pinnacle, the closest township to the dam. There is a sign on the eastern outskirts of the town, indicating the way to Teemburra Dam.
Teemburra Dam has easy launching facilities and a large car park, both of which leave little to be desired for visiting anglers. Best of all the fishing is easy enough, as long as the weather is warm and is not dominated by a howling southeasterly, showers or rain.
These days the dam is almost full to the brim. There are extensive lily and weed beds, bays of standing timber, points with light timber dropping off into deep water and even some flooded lightly timbered paddocks. In short it’s a form of barra heaven.
Fish are even caught from or right next to the boat ramp, where the drop-off is close to scattered timber, by anglers who do not have a boat but want to experience the tractor like pull of a barra on their tackle.
All methods work in Teemburrra Dam with no fishy preference to either plastics, lure or fly. I like fly of course, and fish with a ten-weight rod.
While the fishing is a great savior for anglers who have suffered disappointing results trying to catch barra in other dams, there are issues when it comes to finding somewhere to stay. Given the numbers of anglers with Teemburra trips marked on their calendars these days, for some inexplicable reason there is no camping area associated with the impoundment.
The nearest camping area is in the town of Mirani, which is 18km east of Pinnacle and 27km from Teemburra Dam.
A visitor will find the Mirani caravan park and camp grounds (which are quite compact) reasonably shaded and pretty quiet, being set off the main road on the southern side of town in Caroline Street. Both powered and un-powered sites are available. The office is run in conjunction with the adjoining town swimming pool; so one needs to consult staff at the pool office to book a site.
The Mirani Caravan Park offers quite clean amenities with plenty of room for the tent. You can also do a few laps in the pool to cool off upon return after an early morning crack at the fish.
Mirani is a small town but can satisfy requirements of the visiting angler fairly well. Both take away food and general groceries are available at the main store with fuel also on hand and refreshing drinks at the nearby hotel. There’s also a chemist and butchers in town. Contact details for the Mirani Shire Council camp grounds are (07) 49591239.
Another very popular accommodation option for easy fishing at TD (as the locals call it) is to stay at the Pioneer Valley Hotel at Gargett, which is just 3km from Pinnacle, making the Pioneer Valley Hotel Motel within quick access of the dam. Visitors to Gargett will also find a handy store for groceries and fuel.
Accommodation at the Pioneer Valley Hotel consists of three self-contained motel units, each air conditioned and equipped with a double ned plus single beds. It is located in a side street off the main highway, which ensures plenty of peace and quiet. There’s also ample parking space on hand for the boat and the management go out of their way to make the visiting angler comfortable.
It is indeed a treat to come back after a pre dawn start at the dam and be able to have a rest in air conditioned comfort before the next session on the fish. Contact details for the Pioneer Valley Hotel are (07) 49585106.Reads: 5612