Misery magic in maelstrom
  |  First Published: January 2010

Good rain has fallen around the dam this year and is most welcome by the farmers and fishers.

While the recent rains won’t make much of an impression on the dam’s capacity, it will maintain it for an extra couple of weeks.With the monsoonal weather in the tropics we may have a low pressure system or two form and dump some rain in the months ahead.

All going well we should be able to catch fish very regularly right through to May before things slow down some more and the very testing winter fishing starts.

I was talking to a DPI officer recently about Paradise Dam and he told me there are not a lot of barra in Paradise Dam, but some of the barra they do have are fitted with electronic tags.

He has followed these fish on a regular basis and I was amazed when he told me of some of the distances these fish had travelled. He also discovered when he would move up on one with a boat, the barra would swim deeper to avoid detection.

This sheds some light on theories regarding fish travelling to the wall in rain periods or when there is a lot of water removed from the dam.

The fishing in the rain has been brilliant at Lake Monduran but when the rain finished the fish disappeared. We went to the main basin and my son trolled up a 109cm barra. Trolling in deeper water sorted him out – he was knackered by the time he had the fish to the boat.

This capture adds some weight to the theory of the fish moving to the dam wall with rain. But as always it’s just another piece of jigsaw puzzle.

At the moment the dam levels are ever changing which has created some great fishing areas especially in the sticks as the fringing weed areas have disappeared. Fish the shoaling areas adjacent to deep water. As you move around during the day stick to these areas and you should catch fish.

Cast to the shallow water and move your lure very fast through the shallows. Depending on the water depth will depend on the speed of the retrieve, slow down a little in deeper water. Burning the lure does seem to work well at the moment, but also try slow rolling and hopping.

Lure choices at the moment for me are 130 Slick Rigs in the new green colour; for the slow stuff I like the Storm Bait ‘n’ Switch; and in the hardbodied lures you can’t go past the Rapala suspending lures as they can be used straight out of the box.

I have recently revisited top water fishing with Bill Clarke’s Bugs. These are great for when the fish shut down on the plastics and you can still see evidence of them feeding. I’ve also noticed big fish are attracted to them, for instance when I have been catching fish in 90cm range, I throw out a bug and catch fish around 110cm+.

If things are quiet with your fishing it’s worth putting one on while your mates are still fishing plastics, this lure can act as a teaser creating a bite for your mate. Use them sparingly though, some days they may turn fish off as they are very noisy in the water.

For this reason I use the Cockroach as it has one propeller and swims almost in a walk the dog fashion. I use this lure with a short jerking motion, (like a popper,) increasing the rest period with every cast. I usually limit my cast to about 20 every hour returning to another option when peppering an area.

If you have trouble finding these in your tackle store pop into our bottle shop as we have a limited supply in store.

These fizzers are a great option for fishing barra, sometimes it’s invaluable to break up your day with different styles to break the monotony of big days on the water.

In early January we had a great session catching more than five fish for the day, including a 115cm fish caught casting the shallows in B. There were plenty of small fish in the channels of the main creek near White Rock fishing the flats above the deeper channel.

The ever changing environment of Lake Monduran will be a challenging arena to fish in the months ahead, watch this space for what’s happening or call and see us at the Gin Gin Hotel to bring yourself up to date.

Stocking with SIPS

Two years ago cold weather killed a lot of the fish at Paradise Dam. I have heard they are keen to develop a local stocking group down that way but the powers that be are concerned about effects to existing natives such as the lungfish population.

I think it would definitely be great to have another dam in Queensland stocked with barra but that would certainly eat into SIPS funding. This may take an injection of government funding to replenish the dams in Queensland as maybe the SIPS won’t have enough funding to spread around without an increase in licence fees.

I believe it would be smarter to have stocking groups step away from spending money to stock bass in predominantly barra fishing dams. Instead I think the money back should be put back into what the consumer pays for, which is barra.

It certainly seems to me that fewer people are fishing for bass in barra producing dams. With a large amount of the SIPS permit money coming from barra anglers it seems imperative their permit money is used to return barra to the water. If we don’t do this we will deplete stocks of barra.

This effect on fish stocks can be seen in the way Lake Awoonga fishes compared to Lake Monduran. Monduran is under increased fishing pressure, making it a tougher lake to fish.

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