The beginning of a new year is always the time for some reflection and anticipation about the coming year. Despite political uncertainty and inaction surrounding recreational fishing, there are definitely some positive things to focus on.
The floods and cyclones certainly had major negative impacts on many regions. However those same floods have also had some positive effects on the fisheries and our rivers and creeks, which have had one almighty flush out. This will help maintain their health for long period of time – it’s a case of looking for the silver lining and taking a positive slant where possible.
The barra in saltwater have had a real boost from the previous three years of heavy wet seasons and there are now more small barra around than I’ve ever seen. The creeks are loaded with small fish, just around legal size or better and this augers well for the future breeding stocks. It’s not just barra, everything benefits from the flushing - prawns ,bait, common estuary species and even pelagics, and let’s not forget the mangroves and other bank side vegetation.
Freshwater species are also showing benefits of the flooding as many of our native species will only breed on rising flood waters. Perhaps it’s natures way of looking after the fishery to ensure future survival for the fish.
Of course the dams have all been well and truly topped up or overtopped, but they are really firing well of late.
Out of the three Mackay district dams, Kinchant is the most popular at the moment due to some of the huge fish that are being caught there. This dam is almost void of timber but has massive weed beds and bait in bulk quantities, and this sees the barra growing spectacularly fast. There are some huge fish in the dam, so much so that metre long fish are almost just ho hum!! Not obviously to the angler on the end of the rod though as these fish are mighty fighters.
Just recently Willem Reichard landed his personal best ever barra and what a massive fish it was. At 135cm, it’s what is known as a horse. The catch was pretty impressive, but even more so when the fish was landed on 20lb Spiderwire with a 60lb Black Magic leader. The fish took a Rapala X-rap in glass ghost colouration and when Willem saw the fish boat side, he thought it was a dream. If that doesn’t get anglers interested in the stocking program I don’t know what will. I got a real buzz from seeing the photos of this fish, as it could’ve been one released as a fingerling out of my boat.
Mackay is lucky to have three dams stocked by Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association (MAFSA) with quality barra, sooties and sleepy cod and all three have developed into really top class fisheries. Visiting anglers from the USA are blown away by the fishing available on these dams and the fact that they are all close handy we have great variety.
With more local support and members, MAFSA can continue to improve each dam to ensure Mackay stays as a leader in impoundment fisheries. Fingers crossed there isn’t too much government interference in the dam fisheries.
The future at least from an impoundment viewpoint is bright. All dams are continuously stocked and small numbers of barra are also released in the Pioneer River freshwater areas to enhance the stream fishing. That’s definitely a positive aspect of our fishery.
Also our saltwater barra are on the up too and this wet season should see a bumper year for anglers. I can’t wait for the season to reopen as the early signs are of another good wet season and of course plenty of fish breeding.
It’s no wonder I love living here in paradise, so why not come up and visit us? See you at the ramp.Reads: 1498