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Dam the Weather!
  |  First Published: February 2011



Due to the relentless rain, I have chosen to run with a different format for my column this month. Flooding has overfilled most of Queensland’s lakes and this has resulted in unpredictable times ahead. Dirty water and further rain will greatly influence the coming months and it will be several weeks before reliable fishing forecasts can be made.

Overflowing dams have lost stocked fish to the rivers and creeks below. In some cases these fish are battered and their will to escape brings their lives to an end. Many survive the spillway journey and make it safely into the systems below.

These waterways will produce plenty of fish once the rain and flooding subside and the water has a chance to clear and be safely fished. Some species will be able to reach the salt or brackish water which is an essential part of their breeding cycle, which will further boost fish stocks in these streams. Food availability will determine whether these fish will be able to multiply and how they are distributed throughout the systems.

Maroon and Moogerah Opening Hours

Sunwater, the controlling body for Maroon and Moogerah dams, have angered fishers by their decision to enforce the opening and closing times of 6am and 6pm across both dams. Sunwater states that these times have always been in place but anglers are annoyed they have had no influence in the decision making process.

During the winter months with shorter days, these hours may be suitable. The longer days in summer will see anglers missing out on the prime bite times of the day. Maroon is one of the state’s premier bass surface fisheries. These topwater sessions are best early and late in the day but will now be a thing of the past with very limited time to enjoy this action.

At Moogerah a boom gate has been erected at A.G. Muller Park. As local Harry Watson explained, “This gate restricts access to the two ramps until the opening time. The line up of people waiting to launch could mean you don’t get out on the water until much later. The opposite will occur in the afternoon when boats need to come in early to avoid the afternoon rush.”

Dam Maps

Over the years, I have tried to keep my reports as detailed as possible. In doing this I will often talk about areas in which the fish have been biting and refer to them by their name. Anglers unfamiliar with these spots are not much wiser, so this month I have endeavoured to put together some detailed maps.

I have chosen six areas that should continue to fish well over the coming months. Between them you will find a good mix of freshwater species. Enjoy the maps of Glenlyon Dam, Leslie Dam, Somerset Dam, Isis Balancing Storage (Lake Gregory), Cania Dam and Monduran Dam and keep them in a safe place for future reference.

Glenlyon Dam (Pike Creek Reservoir)

Glenlyon Dam wall was built in 1976 on Pike Creek, which is a tributary of the border river the Dumaresq. The controlling body, Sunwater, manages the levels to provide irrigation water. After years of low water, the dam reached full capacity at the end of 2010.

Statistics

Volume: 254,000ML.

Size: 1800ha.

Approximate Capacity: 100%.

Closest Towns: Texas, Stanthorpe.

Dam Access

From NSW in the south, travel up the New England Highway and turn off to Goondoowindi on the Bruxner Highway. From the north, take Texas road at Stanthorpe for 72km before taking the sign posted road to the dam for another 27km.

Permits Required

Stocked Impoundment Permit.

Boating

No boating restrictions, apart from the exclusion zone at the wall, are currently in place. Two boat ramps provide access while the dam is above 65%.

Facilities

Kiosk, cabins, campsites, hot showers, toilets, barbecues, picnic areas, playground equipment, tennis court and laundry facilities comprise the great facilities at this dam. The kiosk has milk, bread, drinks, sandwiches, pies, hot dogs, groceries, meat, ice and gas refills.

Attractions

Chase the iconic big Murray cod. The dam is surrounded by a fauna reserve. Abundant wildlife and birds can be seen around the dam as well as in the campground at night.

Hazards

Take care when navigating the upper reaches, bays and creeks as there is plenty of standing and submerged timber. Big waves can form when storms come across the dam.

Fish Species

Murray cod, golden perch (yellowbelly), silver perch, spangled perch and eel-tailed catfish.

Services

Glenlyon Kiosk: (02) 6737 5266

Grant’s Tyres and Tackle: Shop 2 38 Lock Street, Stanthorpe QLD 4380, (07) 4681 3624.

Stocks Camping and Fishing: 268 Rouse Street, Tenterfield NSW 2372, (02) 6736 5004.

Leslie Dam

In 1963 a dam wall was constructed on Sandy Creek which is a tributary of the Condamine River. The lake supplies irrigation water to farmers and town water to Warwick.

Statistics

Volume: 106,200ML

Size: 1250ha.

Approximate Capacity: 100%.

Closest Town: Warwick.

Dam Access

Leslie Dam is located 15km west of Warwick. Follow the Cunningham Highway until the left turn onto Leslie Dam Road.

Permits Required

Stocked Impoundment Permit.

Boating

No boating restrictions, apart from the exclusion zone at the wall, are currently in place. There is a concrete boat ramp and boats can be launched in other areas but a 4WD is recommended.

Facilities

A basic camping area is located at Washpool Reserve. Toilets, barbecues, water, bait and ice are located at the dam wall.

Accommodation

There are several accommodation options available in Warwick which is only 15km away.

Hazards

Massive granite boulders can be found in several areas around the lake. Take care when navigating around these areas.

Fish Species

Murray cod, golden perch (yellowbelly), silver perch, spangled perch and eel-tailed catfish.

Services

Leslie Dam Camping: (07) 4661 3406

Warwick Outdoors and Sports: 115 Palmerin Street, Warwick QLD 4360, (07) 4661 3533.

Fish’N’Bits Bait and Tackle: 340 Alderly Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350, (07) 4636 6850.

Somerset Dam

Somerset’s proximity, size and great fishing make it one of the most popular lakes in Queensland. Built below the massive catchment of the Stanley River, the dam was completed in 1953 to provide water storage and flood mitigation to the cities of Ipswich and Brisbane. The building project began back in 1935 but work came to a halt in 1942 due to the war. The official opening of the lake took place in 1958 after all related building work and the small hydroelectric power station was completed.

Statistics

Volume 380,000ML (a further 524,000ML can be stored for flood mitigation)

Size: 4210ha.

Approximate Capacity: 100%.

Closest Towns: Kilcoy, Esk.

Dam Access

Somerset Dam can be reached from the Esk-Kilcoy Road in the Brisbane Valley.

Permits Required

Stocked Impoundment Permit.

Boating

Boating permits are required (available at Kirkleagh kiosk and ranger station at the dam wall). Multiple lane ramps are available at The Spit near the dam wall and Kirkleagh in Lake Somerset Holiday Park.

Facilities

The Spit: Barbecues, picnic areas, toilets and playground. Gates are open from 6am until 6pm. Camping is below the dam wall at Somerset Park. Fuel, takeaways and basic grocery items are available from Somerset store.

Lake Somerset Holiday Park: Kiosk, barbecues, showers, toilets, cabins, campsites, volleyball net, basketball court, sporting oval, playground and free wireless internet

Accommodation

The nearby towns of Kilcoy (10km) and Esk (27km) have plenty of motels to choose from.

Hazards

Somerset is a very popular dam and in peak times hundreds of watercraft can share the water. The water north of Kirkleagh has plenty of timber so take care when navigating at speed.

Fish Species:

Australian bass, golden perch (yellowbelly), silver perch, saratoga, Mary River cod, snub-nosed gar, tilapia, spangled perch and eel-tailed catfish.

Services

Somerset Park: (07) 5497 1093

Lake Somerset Holiday Park: 1800 689 679, www.lakesomerset.com.au

Isis Balancing Storage (Lake Gregory)

This small impoundment is an irrigation balancing storage used for the Isis area. The water level is regulated and the dam is usually close to full capacity. The stable high level allows lush weed beds to form around the lake. Fishing the weed pockets and over the tops of these is the way to lure the better quality fish.

Statistics

Volume 6,275ML.

Size: 200ha.

Approximate Capacity: 100%.

Closest towns: Bundaberg, Childers.

Dam Access

On the Isis Highway 37km South of Bundaberg turn east onto Voss Road. After about 1km turn left near a small pump shed and an orchard down the dirt road to the dam.

Permits Required

Stocked Impoundment Permit.

Boating

Isis is best suited to small boats due to the lack of a concrete boat ramp. The shallow angle of the ramp requires boats to be pushed off the trailer. The ground is solid enough to tow boats out without bogging. A 6 knot speed limit applies when travelling.

Facilities

No camping is permitted and there are no facilities at all.

Accommodation

Bundaberg is the closest town to the north. This major centre has accommodation and everything you will need for your stay.

Hazards

Provided speed limits are followed, there are few hazards when navigating. Be aware of the thick weed beds when motoring around and if you get out of the boat in deeper water.

Fish Species

Australian bass, silver perch, sleepy cod and catfish

Services

Salty’s Tackle World: 22 Quay Street, Bundaberg QLD 4670, (07) 4153 4747.

Cania Dam

This beautiful lake is positioned on Three Moon Creek, which is a tributary of the Burnett River. The rocky sandstone terrain makes an awesome backdrop to this great destination. Cania’s fish are usually quite keen to take all types of presentations, making this lake a great spot to hone your skills.

Statistics

Volume 88,500ML.

Size: 720ha.

Approximate Capacity: 100%.

Closest Town: Monto.

Dam Access

Drive northwest from the town of Monto along the Burnett Highway. After about 12km turn left onto Cania Dam road which winds through the picturesque Cania Gorge and leads the way to the dam.

Permits Required

Stocked Impoundment Permit.

Boating

A two lane concrete ramp is in service when the lake is above half full. No restrictions apply apart from the zone at the dam wall.

Facilities

No camping is allowed at the lake. Picnic shelters, electric barbecues, and toilets.

Accommodation

Cania Gorge has two nearby camping parks that have excellent facilities: Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park and the Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat.

Hazards

In the upper reaches of the dam there is standing and submerged timber. Take care when navigating between the islands as there are some large rocks in the shallower sections.

Attractions

Cania Dam is well known for its large population of saratoga. Cania Gorge National Park has plenty of walking tracks to explore. The wildlife at Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park need to be seen to be believed.

Fish Species

Australian bass, golden perch (yellowbelly), silver perch, saratoga, snub-nosed gar, spangled perch and eel-tailed catfish.

Services

Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park: (07) 4167 8188.

Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat: (07) 4167 8110.

Creek2Coast Bait and Tackle: 20 Dawson Highway, Biloela QLD 4715, (07) 4992 1288.

Monduran Dam (Fred Haig Dam)

Lake Monduran wall was constructed in 1978 making this massive catchment on the Kolan River. The lake is fed by many feeder creeks forming bays and points that litter the shoreline. The stored water supplies the Bundaberg irrigation scheme and is home to some monster barramundi.

Statistics

Volume 586,000ML.

Size: 5340ha.

Approximate Capacity: 100%.

Closest Town: Gin Gin.

Dam Access

The dam is reached by following the Bruce Highway between Gin Gin and Miriam Vale. 20km north of Gin Gin take the turn in to the dam and follow the road for 4km.

Permits Required

Stocked Impoundment Permit.

Boating

A concrete ramp makes launching easy. A dirt ramp in the bay below the camp ground is steep but could be used as another option. There are no boating regulations apart from the restricted area at the dam wall.

Facilities

Kiosk, ice, gas, tackle, camping sites, showers, toilets, holiday house, cabins, picnic areas, barbecues, laundry, eftpos, boat hire and fish cleaning table.

Accommodation

Accommodation can be booked at the dam through Lake Monduran Holiday Park. The town of Gin Gin is 30 minutes drive away and has plenty of accommodation options.

Hazards

At least half of this dam is littered with standing and submerged timber. Provided boats stay in the deeper, clear water of the main channels, moving around at speed is quite safe. Take care until you learn the area you are navigating.

Fish Species

Barramundi, Australian bass, golden perch (yellowbelly), silver perch, sooty grunter, saratoga, spangled perch, fork-tailed catfish and eel-tailed catfish.

Services

Lake Monduran Holiday Park: (07) 4157 3881.

Lake Monduran Barra Fishing Charters: (07) 4157 4342.

Lake Monduran Houseboats: (07) 4157 3881.

Foxies Barra Havoc: 69B Mulgrave Street, Gin Gin QLD 4671, www.barratackle.com.au , (07) 4157 3600.

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