We have made several trips to Monduran dam over spring and summer months using different tactics out on the water. Hopefully some of our experiences help a keen angler to catch their first barra. We really encourage you to get out to this part of the world and experience what we’ve come to love as a great fishing spot.
Lake Monduran/Fred Haig Dam is 20km north of the town of Gin Gin and 4km off the Bruce Highway. You will need a stocked impoundment permit to fish Monduran, so for more information see http://sweetwaterfishing.com.au.
There are powered and un-powered sites for those travelling with caravans or doing a spot of camping. The grounds are set on a spacious 30 acres, so if you like space and don’t mind going without power you can set up in a secluded area under one of the big shady trees around the camp area. You can contact Lake Monduran Holiday Park on 1800 228 754 or (07) 41 57 3881 and on the net at www.lakem.com.au. Kelly and Rob will be glad to help plan your accommodation needs.
On the other hand, if you like your creature comforts there are houses and cabins with air-conditioning, but you will have to book ahead to secure one of these three holiday houses. Another option is to stay at one of the motels in Gin Gin which is only 22km away.
There is a canteen at the office which has basic supplies. They also stock a small range of tackle and lures if you find yourself short. Further amenities include two shower and toilet blocks that are kept clean plus two camp kitchens, hot and cold water, a jug, toaster, fridge and tables.
Not having a boat doesn’t pose a problem as Rob and Kelly will be able to hire you one of their 4.1m Polycrafts at the canteen for a reasonable price. There is a concrete boat ramp to launch your boat and there is a second dirt ramp available when the water levels rise.
A map of the dam is available at the office in the campgrounds. Monduran is a large dam and has over 600km of coastline when at full capacity. Most bays will hold fish so don’t be worried if you don’t have a boat to access the bays with.
Like many dams these days Monduran has it’s ups and downs with regards to water levels. In 2003 it got to 3% then filled to 97% in approximately three days. In March 2006 the dam was at 40% capacity and in March 2007 it’s at 23%.A lot of water has been let out over the summer, however this is expected to slow over winter.
Monduran Dam isn’t cleared of timber so be careful as it is submerged all over the dam. If you stay around the main basin area you will encounter less timber, however you still have to look out for trees. The council does not recommend boating after dark. If you do fish at night then be aware that your insurance may not cover any mishaps that may occur – check any restrictions.
Monduran Anglers Stocking Association (MASA) has been stocking the dam with barra and bass for eight years now. This year 50 000 barra and 100 000 bass should be released depending on funding raised from the SIP scheme and from the Monduran Family Fishing Classic in October.
Bass have been caught between the 40-50cm range and have a good chance of getting bigger. Barra are doing well with many fish between 80-90cm and some fish getting into the 120cm range.
Expect to be doing lots of casting at timber as it covers much of the dam and provides ideal holding areas for fish. You can get away from a lot of the timber by sticking close to the main basin which should increase chances of getting a bite.
You also have the option of hiring a guide for a whole day: try Brett Jones from Stillwater Charters (0427 800 192 mainly weekends) or Adrianne Kampf from Guidelines Fishing Charters (0427 526 885 who resides at the camp). Both can be booked for a whole day and both are great value.
Regarding your lines, when the dam was first stocked many anglers got away with light line in the 10-20lb class, then as the fish got bigger they upgraded to 30lb. Now, most are using 50-80lb braid. Make an investment – don’t play with toys when you buy barra gear for Monduran as the better gear will last you a lifetime. Call a guide who fishes the area if in doubt.
Remember many big fish are lost in the timber and many rods are broken in the process. If it’s a long trip and you are not a regular at the dam you need to maximise your chances of taking that fish of a lifetime home to make it extra worthwhile.
If you are travelling a long way to fish one of Queensland’s barra dams you might strike tough conditions at times, so plan a couple of days fishing in the salt as well. For instance, try the Baffle Creek area to maximise your chances of catching a wide variety of fish. Often half of the cars at the boat ramps are very keen interstate anglers on holidays or up for a quick trip. Have a plan B and enjoy your trip.
These are just some suggestions that we go through every trip and at times it’s not good enough to catch a fish. We have even fished small dams where the fish have been so shut down that we were knocking them out of the way with our lures they were that lazy.
If you venture up in to the arms that fan off for 20kms, make sure you take a GPS that’s accurate and travel home in daylight as it’s very easy to get lost. Everything looks the same after a while in the dark and the winding riverbed makes navigation harder at night. Good fishing is to be had away in the secluded arms that don’t receive as much pressure and in particular, ‘D’ arm has been fishing well recently. As a bit of a tip, remember a riverbed can be 30m out on a GPS so don’t come home at night following the river bed as you could end up on the bank like some other high powered boats have. Take a large spotlight and spare torch just in case.
Many fish are caught around 80cm to 90cm with only some fish over 115-130cm and in the high 28kgs mark. You don’t need to drive past Monduran to catch 1m barra. 20 years ago, fish up to 96cm were caught in the Kolan River which runs through the dam, so if some of these were trapped they will be huge now. There are plenty of photos on the kiosk wall to verify how big these fish get. Monduran is still well off its peak for fish size and the 80-90cm models will only get bigger.
Most people in fishing tend to fish early in the morning and late in the arvo, however a few of the switched on locals do gentlemen’s hours of mid-morning to mid-afternoon and do well. They prefer to fish the warmer water during the day before the wind gets up in the afternoon which, according to them, tends to shut the fish down. The last couple of months fishing between mid morning and lunch has been harder. In the late afternoon, when the southeast blows up, it takes a few more casts to get a strike and you need to put the lure very close to the fish.
In the end though, it’s each to their own. Fishing hours all depend on how long your trip is and how late you arrive.
Early on in September, October and November the average fish were between 80-112cm. During December, January, February and March the fish averaged between 70-102cm. Needless to say, fishing at these times was tough going. The water temperature has hit 38 degrees in some areas which tends to slow down the fish at Monduran. During July, fish are still being caught casting at the tops of timber in all depths of water (5-50ft) using shallow or deeper diving lures from 60-175mm.
The good news is that over the last few years as the water is cooling down over March, April and May the fishing has got better again. Stable weather patterns should also help things out, so try your luck. Less boating pressure might add to a great day on the water.
Best of luck on your next trip and we hope to see you on a barra dam one day! – Lyndon Anlezark and Kelli Pasfield
Fishing Gear: For Monduran you will need some of the strongest barra gear used on any dam as the timber is a great tool used by fish to bust you off. One keen angler noticed a trend in the last 40 lures they picked up. Line, leader and clips are all too small.
Rods: Many custom-made and bought 6-8kgs rods were snapped by big barra in the last year. Regular anglers at the dam have moved up to 8-10kg rods. A few have been outfitted with gear not up to scratch.
Leader: With a dam full of timber, many regulars who don’t want to get busted are now using 80,100 and 120lb leader.
Rod Guides: Because of the bigger line/leader, many are now getting a guide size 8-10 for ease of casting. This should be one of the first things you look at when buying a new rod as casting is a nightmare when guides are too small.
Available Fish Species:
Barramundi, bass, golden perch, silver perch, boney bream, sooty grunter, saratoga, Murray cod and barred grunter are all stocked at Monduran. There are also breeding populations of snub nosed gar, spangled perch, tandans, fork tailed catfish and eels.