Camping at Lake Monduran is such an enjoyable business that many travellers choose to pull up stumps there for a spell even if they have no intention of fishing. This is somewhat surprising considering there’s a lake filled with barra not 200m from the edge of the camping area.
Being in camp grounds that can cater for up to 600 unpowered sites and 45 powered sites is pretty special. It means that there are quiet areas tucked away here and there that will suit folk wanting their privacy or for groups of friends wanting to set up camp to enjoy each other’s company.
There’s no doubt that for many folk the attraction will be the fishing as the dam is stocked with both bass and barramundi, which didn’t all go over the wall during last January’s floods as per popular misconception.
Leaving the fishing prospects to later we’ll take a look at the road to the camping area and what it offers.
Finding your way to Lake Monduran Holiday Park involves turning east off the Bruce Highway around 24km north of the town of Gin Gin – around five hours north of Brisbane – or when travelling south turning east 83km south of the town of Miriamvale. 10 minutes of driving on the road to the camp grounds and dam will see the roadside bush giving way to a wide expanse of well maintained lawn, shady trees, and a collection of caravans at the first of the powered sites on the right as one enters the area. The kiosk and camp office opposite the camping area makes it easy to make the necessary arrangements for a stay.
Only powered sites are marked with boundaries, so in many respects it’s a case of first in best dressed, but again I stress the need to talk to the staff at the kiosk prior to unloading the car. Dogs are OK per arrangement, as should generator use be once discussed.
Ice and basic food items are available at the kiosk along with a decent range of lures and other tackle suitable for fishing in Lake Monduran.
Rob at the camp office is a handy source of knowledge regarding what lures are taking fish and where the barra seem to be congregating.
With such a large camping area one has the choice of camping either to the east or west of the road through the main camping area. Large trees are dotted here and there to provide shade. Most if not all of the main camping area is well grassed at this time thanks to decent rain. Speaking of rain, the gentle slopes throughout the park means it’s well drained. Note that fire places are provided but fire wood is not.
There are two very well maintained amenity blocks within the grounds - one for the east section, one for the west. There are also two large well set up camp kitchens complete with excellent lighting, barbecue hot plates, toasters, microwave units, permanent hot water and good sized fridges. Both of these camp kitchens are large enough to see a dozen or more people enjoying a meal in comfort thanks to wide tables and bench style seats to sit on and the fact that they are cleaned regularly means they are always very inviting.
A few tables and chairs are also set up throughout the grounds for campers to use along with another outdoor barbecue setting on the western side of the camp grounds.
There are also several holiday cabins and holiday houses attached to the camping grounds and these can be booked for group or individual use. Booking well ahead is desirable.
To really spoil yourself a few days in the dam’s houseboat can be a real treat. The houseboat sleeps up to 10 and is an ideal way of getting well up the dam for a crack at the fish. With the houseboat as a base you can stay virtually where you want to fish without the hassle of extended travel from the dam’s launching ramps. Best of all you don’t need a boat licence to drive it.
Bass are still going as strong as ever in some of the timbered areas, it’s just a matter of finding them. The barra are also still on the job. While there is no question that a good number of barra made it over the wall when the Kolan River flooded last January, there’s also no question that fish remain. The main difference is size - a lot of the really big fellas seem to be scarce with most fish caught these days being around the 50-80cm mark, which in many respects is still a pretty good barramundi. The thing about these ‘smaller’ fish is that they are real firecrackers -jumping like crazy and going hard once hooked. What’s more they tend to school; where one is found another usually won’t be far away.
On a recent visit I spoke to quite a few anglers who were catching fish and the consensus was that the bite was a fair way up the dam from the camping area. This can be very daunting given this 5340ha impoundment has forests of dead trees and myriads of channels. My advice is to seek the services of a guide for a first trip to suss out localities plus best methods of fishing. Local guides Rob Howell and Jamie Bein offer full or half day trips for new chums and are very dedicated to finding fish. Both have had success in the last couple of months and time with them, in my view, will be seen as a smart investment. If you are interested call Rob on 0410599147 or Jamie on 0407434446.
If you want to embark on a solo excursion for some DIY fish finding, ensure someone has drawn you a map and make sure there’s a GPS in the boat. As Queensland’s third largest impoundment, it’s a massive expanse of water. On my recent trip I was travelling 16km from the ramp and still only around mid way in the dam.
Contacts are phone (07) 41573881, fax (07) 41573882 or on the net at www.lakem.com.au .Reads: 1962