Dale Smith with the nice 72cm barramundi he caught at Lake Awoonga this month.
Dale Smith with the nice 72cm barramundi he caught at Lake Awoonga this month.

New ideas to make barra fishing even better

A BARRAMUNDI barrier is one idea to keep the prized fish from escaping Lake Awoonga.

Every time the dam spills, hundreds of freshwater fish tumble over the wall - many make it to the salt but many die.

The newly formed Awoonga Alliance wants to do something about the fish loss and is working with Gladstone Area Water Board.

The main aim of the alliance is to promote fishing.

Group member Trevor Burgess said he wanted to minimise the mortality rate of fish going over the spillway.

Mr Burgess said this was not a battle with the water board, rather it was about remaking Lake Awoonga the "trophy fishery" it once was.

"It was voted one of the 100 things to do before you die; go and catch a trophy fish at Lake Awoonga," he said.

"What it was before (the) 2011 (floods) was a multi-million dollar industry. People were coming from around the world, they had to sleep somewhere and eat somewhere."

Gladstone Area Water Board chief executive officer Jim Grayson said stopping barramundi going over the spillway would be "inconsistent" to stocking the dam.

"The principle reason for stocking Lake Awoonga is environmental, to maintain the biodiversity of wildlife within the dam itself," he said.

Mr Burgess said he knew it was not possible to stop barramundi going over the wall but it was important to minimise fish loss.

Mr Grayson said the core issue the Awoonga Alliance raised was how to promote Lake Awoonga as a prime location for recreational fishing.

"It might be that in our stocking program, we can look to incorporate releasing more mature barramundi as well as fingerlings so there's greater prospects of that type of game-size fishing being identified," he said.

"We'd like to work with the Awoonga Alliance and other community groups, to publicise what we're doing as part of our restocking program and the size and quantity of fish being released into the lake.

"That way we can meet our environmental outcomes but also do more to promote the lake as a recreational fishery ..."

The water board is looking to introduce new technology to measure the number of fish in the lake as well as how many go over the spillway.



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