Summer is saratoga time and for anglers south of Rockhampton that means a trip to Borumba Dam, just south of Gympie, to tangle with one of these feisty fish.
Spread throughout the timber-covered flats and channels of this mountain-surrounded waterway, southern saratoga have been there for decades, quietly going about their business of eating for a living unless rudely interrupted by a fly, lure or plastic offering.
Situated on Yabba Creek this picturesque rainforest-bordered impoundment is very popular with South Queensland anglers who often opt to spend time camped close to its sheltered waters. There are two camping venues available: one is located on a flat area just east of the dam wall (which requires your own camping equipment) or just 2km from the wall at 1133 Yabba Creek Road is the more upmarket Borumba Deer Park. It has caravans, cabins, large grass covered and shaded camping areas on upper and lower levels.
At Borumba Deer Park there’s a kiosk with ice, bait, gas and small goods, a laundromat, phone booth, facilities for the disabled, a large undercover entertainment area for holiday times and free gas BBQs. There’s also a dedicated children’s playground and a large undercover area that is popular during holiday times for general entertainment. Boats and canoes are available for hire and offer non boat owners an opportunity to have a have a crack at Borumba’s saratoga and other native fish.
Within the Deer Park grounds, there are plenty of powered and unpowered sites and concrete pads for caravan owners. For visitors without camping equipment, but with the boat in tow, there are onsite vans and several self-contained cabins.
Two large well grassed and level areas are ideal for setting up the tent or campervan. The lower area is set right on the bank of Yabba Creek among some really great shady trees. Not surprisingly, it is very popular with campers bringing their young families with them. Yabba Creek is a great place for youngsters to leave the iPod in the car and have a swim or some fun with one of the hire canoes.
There are also plenty of fish in the creek, and eel-tailed catties can be taken on worms pretty easily. There’s a small jetty to fish from or launch the canoe, plus steps to allow entry to and from the water. The lower camp ground, with interesting locality names such as Platypus, Fawn Nook, Scrub Turkey, will cater for quite a few campers and while camp fires are allowed, it’s best to enquire at the kiosk and bookings office on the subject.
On the upper level, and extending behind the kiosk and booking office, is the wide expanse of the grounds stretching to the west, aptly named Sherwood Forest. It has its own amenities block and a huge area to find just the right camp site. Sherwood Forest can handle a lot of campers so there are no issues of over crowding. Camp fires are okay but do check with management first.
Aside from the drawcard of the impoundment 2km away, visitors enjoying quality time at Borumba Deer Park can enjoy bush walks and the ambience of the wildlife around them. The quaint and fairly tame scrub turkeys are always popular as are the beautiful king parrots in the trees overhead. The pens of deer on the northern side of the camp grounds are also an interesting addition.
There are quite a few wild deer in the area. The shire is a fauna sanctuary and it’s not unusual to see deer feeding by the road if heading to the dam for an early morning fish.
Famous for the southern saratoga within its waters, this impoundment also has good numbers of bass, silver perch, the odd Mary River cod plus plenty of eel-tailed catties in its sheltered arms and tree covered flats and bays.
You will need a SIP (Stocking Impoundment Permit) to fish the dam, but once on the water anglers can expect to find saratoga tucked next to cover virtually from bays within sight of the wall right back up to where water becomes too shallow to fish.
Kingham and Yabba creeks are the two main arms that hold toga and bass with most taken along its steep banks where trees overhang providing cover. Working lures, flies, or plastics along the edges of weed or lily beds of an early morning or evening is also productive.
The saratoga are a warmer weather fish but the bass can be taken all year round. Silver perch are mostly encountered by bait anglers, along with the catties. Cod are a rarity but account for rapid break offs from time to time. Also, don’t forget the red claw pots; the dam has produced a lot of these tasty critters in the last few years.
Launching at the dam is easy and there are plenty of parking spaces available.
When heading north towards Gympie on the M1 (Bruce Highway) look for the Imbil turnoff around 18km north of the well signposted Cooroy exit. Once at Imbil take the road to Borumba Dam, passing the Deer Park entrance.
If coming south from Gympie on the M1, a sign on the left will show the way to Imbil when about 30 minutes south of Gympie. New highway works have meant the turn offs to Imbil and Borumba Dam are well signed and easily noticed on the new road.
The contact number for the Borumba Deer Park is (07) 5484 5196.Reads: 5327