The situation at Kinchant Dam hasn’t changed much since the last issue. Sunwater is now supplying MAFSA with data from the dam including dissolved oxygen, ph, salinity levels and so forth, and it appears that the dam has stabilised – provided no more water is drawn off.
At time of writing there is around 1600megalitres of water in the dam. The deepest section is around 3m but this is confined to a narrow channel and the majority of the dam is now less than 2m deep. If further drawdowns occur the fish will be in real trouble. It’s likely that the fish will remain healthy if no more water is taken from the dam, but Sunwater won’t commit to retaining the dam at this level.
This situation can happen at any dam in Queensland. Sunwater trots out the old line that setting minimum levels is the responsibility of the DNR, but the decision to keep taking water is Sunwater’s. FFSAQ (Freshwater Fish Stocking Association of Queensland) has been trying to get a high-level meeting of DNR and Sunwater with fish stockers but these people don't seem interested. It’s ironic that we have the DPI&F Minister applauding the work of fish stocking organisations while at the same time other Government agencies seem hell bent on wiping this community effort out.
The water in Kinchant Dam has a value for irrigation use of $40 per megalitre. DPI&F research shows that every dollar spent on fish stocking returns $50 to the community, and in the last three years more than $20,000 of SIP funds have been allocated to Kinchant Dam. Fish stocking is clearly very valuable.
Anyway, by the time this report hits the newsstands we’ll hopefully have had a big dump of rain and the water level will have risen markedly.
Very low water levels again are a worry here but at least the sooties are still on the go. Several contacts have recently fished the dam and have tales of plenty of mega sooties ready to take lures. Of course, there were tales of 50cm-plus fish but I think I might just be getting the wind up. No photos, of course, to back up these mythical 50cm specimens!
Most of the sooty grunter are still out in the timber but there have also been a few good fish taken right up in the shallow water in a couple of the inlets. The gold Fat Raps have been the lure for the shallower spots, while the deep water is still Rattlin’ Spot, spinnerbait or plastics territory.
Reports of falling water levels and the problems with boat launching suggest that it may be better to give Teemburra a miss until there is some substantial run into the dam.
Thought I would save the best till last. What can I say about this dam apart from magnificent fishing and THEspot to go to catch a barra?
The dam is less than 20% at time of writing but boat launching is still hassle-free. The local paper has reported that no more irrigation releases will be allowed from the dam, which is very encouraging.
One of the great benefits of a stable water level (even though it’s very low) is that the weed beds are able to grow. If you can find weedbeds in a couple of metres of water, the Teemburra barra won't be far away.
The past six months have also shown a marked increase in the number of sooties being caught in the dam. Most of these are admittedly not targeted but the frequency of the catches shows that the sooties are still doing well despite the metre-plus barra in the dam. Wade Inskip had a ball on the sooties recently, landing fish up to 470mm from a number of spots.
Barra are hitting lures all over the dam at the moment. The mid 30s temps, high 90s humidity and the northerly winds are really stirring up old Pink Eyes.
Plastics are still all the rage and are reliable producers on the dam. Mick from Pioneer Valley Freshwater Fishing tours is having great results for his clients on plastics. Mick has been rigging the larger sized Squidgies with the curly tail on Gamakatsu offset worm hooks and fishing them without any weight. He tells me that the hook-ups are very positive and most barra are getting hooked in the corner of the mouth. This makes it easy to remove the hooks and cuts down on the time it takes to release the fish. Mick has been guiding his clients up to weed beds and among some light timber, and all clients have been impressed with the quality and quantity of barra on offer.
If you’re visiting our area and want to know what to expect, drop me an email or call at any of the local tackle shops and they’ll gladly help out. In the meantime, may all your lines be tight and your drags howl.
1) Pete Morgan with a beaut Teemburra barra. These fish are hitting lures all over the dam at the moment.
2) Mark Lawson with a solid sooty grunter from Teemburra Dam.Reads: 630