Outlook Cloudy
  |  First Published: December 2011

We are heading into the New Year with not much of an idea what is ahead weather wise, as big rains are forecast for Queensland again this year.

Looking back over the year I would have hoped we would have better impoundment fishing than we have had.

While Lake Monduran has still got plenty of fish in it we still haven’t caught consistent numbers of big fish over the metre mark this year. I have been finding schools of smaller fish throughout the winter months and also into summer which have only netted fish up to the 90cm mark. Hopefully this will change in the near future.

Water quality is down as the temperature has been up to 33ºC, which has encouraged algal blooms. Sunwater have been pumping water out of the dam, which has seen water levels drop over 1m in the last month. All these factors don’t make for good fishing.

Just coming off the ABT barra tour Lake Proserpine performed at its best with metre plus fish streaking across the surface like blue marlin. These were the most insane barra I had ever caught.

I was almost spooled on a Stella 4000 several times during the week and had to retire my reel by the tournament because I had completely worn out the drag washers with a weeks fishing. I had a stop in Mackay to see John from JT Reel Repairs to get my reel going for the next event at Teemburra. This turned out critical as that reel helped win me the event at Teemburra. Thanks John.

As I was saying the fishing was insane at Lake Proserpine and this is testament to the local stocking association’s efforts in stocking larger fish with a better survival rate. They also took some 660 fish that survived the crash over the dam wall during the floods, tagged them and re-introduced them to the lake. We caught two of these tagged fish at Lake Proserpine during the prefish.

All the other dams on the barra tour fished like Monduran with the exception of Lake Awoonga, where there seemed to be consistent numbers of larger fish coming through on the side scan all the time.

I have no idea what the impoundment fishing future holds at the moment. Stocking is imperative and is the only answer to replace the missing fish that have gone over the walls at our impoundments, whether the fish are still there or not is still unclear.

I believe that there is plenty of larger fish as I have seen good numbers on the side scan and feel very comfortable there are larger fish in the system gorging on the massive amount of bait in Monduran at the moment. Catching them is a different story as a lot of these fish are learned fish that have been caught before or are very spooky.

Whatever the story there aren’t enough fish to satisfy the demand of all the touring anglers that come to the lake and the pressure of more anglers may add to decreased catch numbers.

We do have 80,000 barra fingerlings going in this month to boost stock. This has been a joint effort by the Sponsor a Barra program and the MASA stocking group. As angers, it’s in your best interest to join MASA to help drive stocking levels in barramundi.

Rob Howell from the Lake Monduran Caravan Park has raised plenty of funds for stocking barra initiating the Sponsor a Barra program. This year Rob hopes to buy some larger grown out barra hoping to increase the stocking survival rate.

MASA have also just released 100,000 bass fingerlings. If you would like to see your money turned into barra contact Rob at the Lake Monduran Holiday Park or me at the Gin Gin Hotel. Realistically I foresee that it will take some years to see Lake Monduran come back to what it was but I’m sure there will be some big surprises along the way.

The fishing at the moment is best done with hardbodied lures around 100mm like the Rapala X-Rap I like the white and the blue colours. Peter Price did well on the Reidy’s B52 juniors in a green kryptonite colour in the recent ABT barra tour.

Whatever you prefer plastics are always worth a go and on the ABT barra tour we did really well with the Area 51 jigheads. These are a hook with an integrated weight and stinger hook arrangement that fit perfectly into a Shimano Slick Rig. Combined with a modified slick rig and available in different weights to optimise your depth and retrieval speed, these jig heads/lures work great in impoundments rivers, estuaries, and offshore.

The rivers and estuaries have been the big winners with lots of escaped impoundment fish adding to the dynamic of newly landscaped rivers that have been flushed clean to provide new haunts for the fish.

Rivers like the Burnett have become shallower in places and deeper in others with huge amounts of river sand that has been washed down with the recent floods. This has created a cleaner fresher system flushed for the first time since 1974.

The existence of dams and weirs along its way have stifled the river for years and now it is back to its former grandeur offering some excellent fishing not seen since I was a boy. Fishing has been the big winner and it’s great to see people and families on the waterways catching fish they haven’t seen for years.

Coming to the Wide Bay area this year you will encounter the best fishing that Queensland has to offer with barramundi, fingermark, mangrove jack, flathead, bream, whiting, threadfin salmon, blue salmon, tailor, trevally and sharks. We are only four hours from Brisbane and you can experience the fishing species of the Top End.

Offshore the fishing has also been exceptional with the recent weather events adding to the fishing offshore with some of the best fishing we have seen in years. Good numbers of reef fish can be caught from Hervey Bay right through to 1770, which is 50nm to the north and south of Bundaberg.

Out in the deep water off Fraser Island blue marlin, sailfish, black marlin, wahoo, mahi mahi, Spanish mackerel and cobia can all be caught and are in good numbers this year.

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