Lake Monduran is slowly coming back to its former glory, not with some of the bigger fish but with some smaller fish that have been hitting hardbodied suspending lures and weedless plastic rigs, which is typical for winter.
The water is clean and the weed has grown back better than before. Although the winter ahead will cool down waters, fish from recent stockings have started turning up, as we have hooked barra as small as 25cm.
Recently we have been mixing up our tours and fishing at the Boyne River at Tannum Sands. While fishing the Boyne we caught a fish that had been tagged at Awoonga, many other anglers have also caught tagged fish from Lake Awoonga in various locations including the Boyne River and surrounding areas.
The fish we caught was originally caught in 2006 at Lake Awoonga and presuming know one else had caught this fish it was recaptured in 2011. This is a long time between bites and gives some support to the belief that there are a lot of old fish that have learnt well to avoid artificial baits. This coincides with lots of large fish being caught in the Boyne that I would also presume that had only been caught once.
There has been lots of talk about saving the Boyne from the pros dumping may tonnes of barra onto the market reducing the price and the credibility of the taste of barramundi on the tables of unsuspecting Australians. The people of Queensland should be outraged that we have closed most of the offshore reefs and have so many impending regulations to Queensland fisheries while still having commercial netters working estuarine systems that are the lifeblood to all fisheries to many of the nearby offshore waters.
I don’t want to get too involved with this whole subject but it will take a united front from anglers and a strong voice to lobby local, state and federal government. To maintain fisheries for recreational fishers we need to distance ourselves from commercial fishers. [Since this article was written Environment Minister Kate Jones announced a 60 day interim netting ban on the Boyne River. See fact box for more details –Ed]
Looking ahead fishing in Lake Monduran may be tough during the winter but come summer we should back into some great barra fishing. Over the last 10 years barra fishing equipment has become smaller and lighter and a lot of bass techniques and lures have been proven to catch barra.
This year I foresee anglers fishing lighter with bass style rods, lures, lighter lines and techniques to maximise barra captures. Lipless crankbaits and blades are also proving a winner with barramundi. Some bass fishers have used these techniques for years and as barra become tougher to catch these techniques may just be the answer.
The top 10 ABT barra anglers all have one common piece of equipment: a good side scan sounder. Technology has made finding fish easier and this is the one common thread that seems to work; finding good water on wind driven points isn’t enough, you need to find fish. These new sides can sounders with down scan in 800kHz have revolutionised impoundment fishing. I would suggest buying a smaller boat in order to purchase the biggest sounder you can afford.
Fishing industry and Government act to protect turtles in the Boyne River
A two-month emergency ban on all net fishing near the mouth of the Boyne River has been put in place to prevent further green turtle deaths.
Environment Minister Kate Jones said she has issued an interim conservation order (ICO) under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, aimed at protecting the vulnerable green turtle following the death of 22 turtles in the Boyne River in the past few weeks.
“This 60 day ban is aimed at stopping further deaths of the turtle in this region,” Ms Jones said.
“Almost 20,000 barramundi recently washing over the Awoonga Dam spillway and have been moving along the Boyne River system. Several commercial net fishers have been targeting these fish and setting nets at the river mouth.
Ms Jones said the interim conservation order prohibits all netting of fish in the Boyne River and within 1km of the river mouth for the next two months.
The interim conservation order effectively extends the current closure in the Boyne River that was due to conclude on 1 May, and establishes an additional closure seaward of the river mouth.
Ms Jones said the 60-day suspension on netting activity would allow for the barramundi to disperse through the system and reduce the exposure of green turtles to the concentrated netting effort that has occurred at the mouth of the river.
“Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers will be conducting increased patrols of the area, and they will work alongside Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers to inform the affected fishers and ensure compliance,” Ms Jones said.
The maximum penalty for contravening an Interim Conservation Order is $300,000 or two years’ imprisonment.