The place is absolutely firing and after recent rains is really looking a picture.
Currently at about 85% capacity it is back to its best. The heavy rains have made an already green countryside fresh and bright and the hills stand in stark contrast in the clean air. So what has all this rain meant for the fishing?
In a nutshell it has had a very positive affect with just a very short period of shut down when the cold dirty water was flooding in via the three main creeks, Teemburra, Middle and Pinnacle creeks. This shut down is not unusual with a big influx of water, which puts the fish off except for a very short couple of hours when the run in starts.
However given the great rain, increase in the lake level, and the benefit to the community and farmers in general, we can put up with a bit of a shut down period.
Once over and with the lake settling down, the fish really went into top gear and have been hitting lures with great gusto. Many anglers were a little lost with their favourite reliable spots under 4-5m of water, but barra are creatures of habit and despite the rise in water level they still look for the same type of habitat. So once again the points of bays, weedbeds, lantana and standing timber all produce fish.
The weed beds, as they were, no longer exist and will take time to reform. This will likely be several months, but by next spring/summer I expect good weed bed habitat and lily beds. In the meantime, the barra are substituting the old solid weedbeds for the freshly drowned pasture grasses, small woody shrubs and regrowth suckers.
Because of the good rain so far, this pasture grass was growing really well before the dam rose quickly, and the barra have been quick to take up cruising along the edges or even right among the grass stalks themselves. Mooching along quietly on the electric barra can be seen moving among the stalks and the occasional gold/silver flash betrays their presence.
This situation is happening all over the dam and much of the old lantana habitat in the top of Teemburra creek is now again under water, and it is possible to get right up to the top cow yards again. This opens up literally miles of creek flats, lantana gullies and bays to the angler.
Local Jason Crofts just the other day had a top outing. Arriving at the dam around 10am he fished until about 5pm and in that time he landed 12 barra. Most he caught cruising in or near the drowned weeds and the fish ranged from a little tacker of 27cm up to 83cm, which is a nice fish in anyone’s language. Jason reports that 6 of the 12 fish were over 70cm and he missed heaps of other fish.
Plenty of small fish up to about 45cm were seen to follow lures, so it is obvious the MAFSA stocking program is working really well with various size classes coming through. I believe this is a result of continuous stocking and distributing the fingerlings over a wide area and directly into weed beds for cover.
Jason worked along Teemburra Creek up to the old homestead area and all fish came from less than 4m of water. He used a variety of hard and soft lures and a popper. As well as the barra he scored a 40cm sooty on a popper.
While at the ramp, I also spoke to Andy Lancer who had obviously bought a new outfit. He told me that this was his second trip in the boat and he had a great afternoon landing five barra all on hard body lures. The biggest went 76cm and he also reports seeing many small barra.
Andy scored his fish in the shallows but he spent most of his time working the main dam area, but the results all point to the barra being in among the freshly drowned grasses. This makes sense as there would be plenty of shrimp and small fish like bony bream in among the stalks. Rumour has it that there may be a few redclaw also poking around in all this freshly drowned vegetation, so that could be another food source for the barra. Both anglers said all their fish were in good condition.
Lachlan and I had a quick 45 minute session just before dark, and although the barra were around we only scored a 38cm fish that I caught on a small popper. Again this fish came from right up in the shallows and was a feisty fish. Dave and Andrew Frazer were nearby and dropped a couple of fair size fish on soft plastics.
It’s not only the locals that are getting in the act either, John Box from Brisbane flew up to visit his mate Shane Bombardieri to get his annual barra fix. They fished Teemburra, with a night on Kinchant and two days at Faust, and while the big Teemburra fish eluded them, the numbers more than made up.
Their best session was a marathon 14 hours, and they landed 67 barra between them. Most fish were averaging 60-70cm, while there were a heap of smaller models up to about 50cm. John reports this session yielded a best fish for him of 89cm. Overall they boated 10 barra over 80cm and had many others drop lures boatside or jump off.
John and Shane used shad style plastics and X-raps and most fish were caught in the shallower water. John tried the normal larger plastic shads like the Storm and Tsunamai types, but found they were too heavy and getting caught in the drowned weed and grasses, so a switch to lighter and smaller models was made and the results improved straight away.
On one point near Teemburra Creek, the small barra were really thick, so John broke out the flyrod and caught several on pink things. The lads experiences are almost a mirror of others results of late in the dam and point to a very healthy well stocked fishery.
Despite the lack of a really big fish, John still rates Teemburra dam as his favourite. On that note he will get absolutely no disagreement from me.
See you at the ramp, which incidentally is now only about 10m long to the water!Reads: 5118