BABY BARRA: The Gladstone Area Water Board has been releasing barramundi fingerlings into Lake Awoonga.
BABY BARRA: The Gladstone Area Water Board has been releasing barramundi fingerlings into Lake Awoonga. Contributed

There's something fishy in the waters of Lake Awoonga

THESE fingerlings won't be biting this season but they will be next year when they mature into fully grown barramundi.

The Gladstone Area Water Board is releasing the popular fighting anglers fish into Lake Awoonga to restock another busy season.

On average close to 300,000 barramundi are put into the lake each year with smaller numbers of mangrove Jack and sea mullet depending on the season.

The GAWB has a regulatory obligation to restock fish into Awoonga Dam to maintain ecosystem diversity within the lake.

Migratory species including barramundi, mangrove Jack and mullet cannot self-generate within the lake and require salt water to breed.

A secondary objective of the stocking is to promote a sustainable recreational fishing and tourism opportunity in the region.

GAWB Hatchery and Fishery manager Thomas Hayes said the barramundi in Lake Awoonga were proving a great catch with anglers.

"The regular anglers and fishing guides are consistently reporting over ten fish per session and this trend should continue throughout simmer,” Mr Hayes said.

"For the average angler starting out on the lake, it is not uncommon for four or five fish to hit the boat in an afternoon, with an average size range of 50-80 cm.”

GAWB data shows that Lake Awoonga barramundi grow approximately 1mm per day at a healthy growth rate when released as fingerlings.

"We've had reports of metre-plus barra being sighted but they are still proving to be elusive to anglers,” Mr Hayes said.

Currently there is a barramundi "closed season” (November 1 to February 1) but as a stocked impoundments, anglers can fish Lake Awoonga year-round.

Most anglers at Lake Awoonga practice catch and release, if they do want to keep a barramundi during the closed season, only one fish per angler at minimum size of 58cm is allowed.

The Department of Fisheries has advised to take it straight home.

If found in possession in waters outside of the exclusion zone, the angler will be prosecuted in accordance with fisheries legislation.



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