Lake Awoonga has a surface area of 6779ha, a capacity of 776854 megalitres and is teeming with freshwater fish. It’s an awesome fishery in my opinion.
Our last visit to the lake was planned to coincide with the February full moon phase, and we weren’t disappointed. When we first visited in February ’05 people were still amazed by metre long barra. Sadly the magic metre mark has, in a way, lost a lot of its glory.
Over our recent two week visit to Lake Awoonga there were so many 1m+ barra caught that we lost count, and 110cm was becoming the new benchmark. How big these Awoonga critters will grow over the next few years is anyone’s guess.
There is nothing more rewarding than a game plan that really works, and a young couple told us about their plan to catch their first barra. They arrived at the caravan park mid-morning and set up their tent and large freezer. When asked about the freezer, the young guy told everyone that it was to take home a 1m barra. That afternoon he and his wife went out with a guide and caught a couple of smaller fish, which they released.
The guide’s tips really paid off as they went fishing the next morning and he caught a barra that measured a whopping 115cm. He carefully stowed his trophy in the freezer so it could be mounted, and disappeared into the sunset.
The success stories were coming thick and fast as angler after angler reported good catches. Two guys from Brisbane arrived in the late afternoon and booked into a cabin. The next morning they were trolling out on the lake just after daylight and by 10am they were back at camp with four beautiful barra. The next day they boated four more barra, including one over the metre mark.
There were no real rules for bagging the big fish, but a pattern began to emerge from the success stories. Most anglers started by trolling from the yellow marker buoy about 1km from the wall, then followed the riverbed about 8km to Dingo Island.
It was easy to follow the riverbed using a sounder, and a lot of fish were caught when the lures came up into the shallow water or were dropped back into the deep. So a slightly zig-zagged course was the way to go. Trolling the opposite way toward the wall also brought some excellent results.
Daryl Peckett nailed two 1m+ fish in one short session trolling from the yellow buoy to the restricted area near the wall and back. The previous day he had boated a nice barra that measured 109cm and weighed 20kg. Daryl also caught half a dozen smaller fish in the same session, which he released.
Anglers’ choices of lures varied with some catching fish on particular lures whilst others struggled to get a look in. It became clear, amidst all the confusion, that the deeper the lure ran the more chance you had of hooking something big. The yellow buoy can be hard to find if the water is choppy, so take a line from the boat ramp across to rocky point and you should go close.
If you have a GPS, punch in S24.08556, E151.29866 at the boat ramp and it should be straight sailing to the buoy.
Awoonga is fast becoming the place to fish. In February ’05, around the full moon, we got a park in the boat ramp area easily, but this year it was impossible. We counted at least 80 boat trailers in the parking area and parked around the hill above the boat ramp.
Merv Hinneberg, owner of the caravan park, has introduced and sponsored a number of fishing tournaments throughout the past few years. These include:
‘Brats in Boats’, a comp for kids 18 years and under held in January;
‘No Blokes Barra Bash’, for women only on the first weekend in March; and
‘Lake Awoonga Pro Am Barra Classic’ which is staged in mid-October.
Add to this the annual ‘Lions Lake Awoonga Family Fishing Classic’, which is on the last weekend of October, and you have a competitive angler’s paradise.
A multitude of sponsors, have come on board including Halco, Penn, Predatek and Tropic Angler to name a few and there are excellent prizes to be won. This year the ‘No Blokes Barra Bash’ featured a tagged barra. The prize was a brand new 4WD!
If you would like to compete in any of these tournaments it pays to book early for accommodation and campsites. Registrations can be made prior to the comps or on the actual day, but this may change depending on the growing popularity of these events. For further enquiries phone Merv or Meg on (07) 4975 0155.Reads: 1127