Big Freshwater Barra
  |  First Published: March 2006

My sons’ recent action packed trip to Peter Faust certainly caught the interest of a few keen fishos. Col Upham, Peter Atwell, David Mayes and myself headed down to Proserpine to see if we could get a slice of the action.

Proserpine is 617km from Cairns but some very heavy rain stretched the travelling time out to eight hours.


Our first morning on the dam was spent in torrential rain. There wasn’t very much action so we experimented by trolling the banks and tree lines and casting to the shallows. In the afternoon things improved and I managed to land a nice 90cm barra on a Viper lure near one of the left hand banks near the dam wall.

The other boys managed a couple of bumps, some straightened trebles and Col Uphams’ lost a lure that disappeared into the timber when a monster barra engulfed it. This was certainly enough action to get us more than interested in following up the next day.


Col managed to troll up a smaller barra around 70cm on the second morning. Col and Peter decided to change tactics and work the deeper open water like many other boats were doing. Trolling deep running lures in 65ft of open water, away from any apparent fish holding structure was a new concept for all of us.

The ‘word’ from around the BBQ was that the thermocline belt was holding barras 15-30ft below the surface in the middle of the lake. The saying goes ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’ so we adopted this new approach and towed Halco Crazy deep lures through the open water.

It wasn’t long before we had our first bump and our steep learning curve began. Col and Peter managed two 80cm barras while David and I managed some straightened hooks and dented egos.


We were among the first boats out the next morning. Colin was first to pin a 109cm beauty before Peter landed a 107cm barra to top off their hot session. I was talking to David when my rod buckled over and line peeled off. Finally our luck was about to turn around! I managed a nice lean 107cm barra that came aboard for some happy angler pictures.

For some of this session we were getting a hit on every troll. This was unheard of for any previous impoundment fishing we had done. We headed off for some sustenance back at the camp and regroup for our final session in the afternoon.

We were back on the water by 3.30pm for our final session before heading back to Cairns. The wind had dropped to a reasonable level and the full moon was due to appear later on. The very first run resulted in a nice barra that stretched the tape to 105cm. You have to be happy with your second 1m+ fish for the day!

We continued to work the deep water before I connected a 98cm barra that gave us some aerials and proved to be a handful before we got it in the boat.

So, how did Peter Faust compare with Lake Tinaroo?

There was no comparison – it was like chalk and cheese. We have had some good sessions at Tinaroo over the years but after only three days at Peter Faust we had around 50 strikes and landed ninequality barra. Peter Faust is an awesome stocked fishery that seems to be way ahead of Tinaroo in contact and catch rates.

I am interested to find how many barras have been introduced, compared to lake volume capacity of each impoundment. Interestingly, Peter Faust has only been stocked for around ten years where as Tinaroo has been stocked for around 20 years.

Learning about the deep water trolling tactics on this trip was a revelation. We released all of our barra and the boys are already discussing a return trip to this great location.

We have been enjoying the first wet season rains at Lake Tinaroo. Hopefully there will be some flood rains to give all the creeks and rivers a good flushing.


The rivers and creeks have had good reports of new season barramundi and jacks caught on cast lures and baits. This should continue throughout March with most anglers out chasing a barra or two. Be off the mark quickly when the creeks clear up from any heavy rains.


Anglers chasing reds and trout haven’t been disappointed with good reports of bottom fishing flowing in. The warm water temp has seen many good fish stolen by hungry sharks before they make it to the boat.

There have also been plenty of trevally, cobia, tuna and some quality mackerel around to round out a mixed bag for anglers. The offshore action in March should improve as water temps cool off slightly.

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