Barramundi are northern Australia’s most iconic sportfish. They bite aggressively and fight hard with spectacular jumps, thrashing headshakes and hard sustained runs. Every dedicated angler would like to catch a barra and the Queensland barra impoundments put them within easy reach of most.
The average size of barra in some of the lakes is growing and Lake Awoonga and Lake Monduran are both in a rebuilding phase since the floods in 2011 Some catch fish others.., many others go home defeated and fishless.
This is a brief guide, put together by the barra anglers, to help beginners achieve barra success and to make your time on the barra impoundments safer and more enjoyable for you and other anglers.
Casting for Barra
This is becoming increasing popular with many anglers, particularly as the barra lakes are often more heavily fished and barra are becoming wiser and associate boat noise with danger. This is why casting can have an advantage over trolling, as long as you do it quietly
Casting while using an electric motor – Using an electric motor allows you to fish along a bank quietly, continuously adjusting your position, or holding up on one spot as required. You can cover a lot of water casting along a bank and seek out areas where barra are biting.
Anchoring and Casting - This is the best way to target barra at your chosen location, particularly if it is windy. As you head towards your anchoring spot, it pays to idle quietly or even drift into position before anchoring. When anchoring it is vital to lower your anchor quietly! Tying off on trees is another good way to fish, just make sure you can untie quickly if you need to chase fish!
Casting lures - When casting, you can use surface lures, hardbodied lures or soft plastic swimbait lures. Depending on the situation, it pays to try a few different lures and colours. There are many plastic Swimbaits on the market now they are easy to use just cast out and retrieve slowly.
It pays to make long casts and work you lures close to the bottom or weed edge. If you are using a hardbody lure mix up your retrieves regularly to attract a strike, change the speed or use plenty of twitches or pauses particularly if you are using a suspending lure.
Casting outfits – Same as trolling outfits, but they must have the ability to cast longer distances. Heavier 70lb leaders are recommended for casting swimbaits, as the barra are often hooked deep in the mouth and will be easily bitten off on lighter leader
Eating Qualities and Regulations
Unlike the saltwater versions, impoundment barramundi are not good table fare. Check the size and bag limits, as well as closed season variations before you keep a barra.
SIP: A Stocked Impoundment Permit is required on many barra lakes. Check local regulations.
Handling Barramundi for Release
A knotless net, like an Environet, or rubber meshed net is the best type of net to reduce damage to the fish. Try to minimise the time out of water as it is critical to the survival of a fish. More than two minutes is likely to kill them. Once you’ve netted your barra keep it in the water while you prepare the camera and measuring mat/ruler. Also wet the mat or the deck that you intend to put the fish on - then bring the barra onboard.
Do not lift a barra by its lower jaw! This will cause damage to the fish usually resulting in death. Always use your other hand to support the mid section of the fish.
Impoundment Barra can be very fickle fish. We can’t predict when barra will bite. But there are certain periods when they might be more likely to come on the chew. These are:
*Low light periods of dawn and dusk
*If there is a wind change, they may bite on the lull in between the change.
* Night time fishing can be good when moonlight first appears, either when it first rises. Or if cloud clears and the moon comes out.
*Stable conditions are the best. If a change hits, they often shut down for a day or two, but will come back on after a few days. They much prefer warm northerly winds over cold southerlies.
Times of the Year - barra can be caught throughout the year but prime times are from spring into summer. Autumn and winter can be very productive unless there is a real cold snap.
Queensland’s barra lakes can become very rough without warning! Ensure that your boat is capable of handling the conditions and that you have all the correct safety gear.
Night time fishing - can be very productive, but if you plan to stay out, ensure you use your navigation and anchor lights when travelling to remain fully visible to other boats. Be aware, some boats still travel quickly at night.
A GPS is a valuable tool for night time navigation. Even on moonlit nights, if cloud cover comes over, it is very easy to get disoriented. This is where it is handy to use GPS marks and tracks to help you find your way home.
A spotlight is very useful for night time travel, particularly in heavily timbered lakes.
A headlight torch is another good idea when night time fishing.
Impoundment barra are smart fish. Using stealth (keeping boat noise to a minimum) is an essential element of catching barra. When trolling, the quieter your motor, the better your results., electric motors are even better. Run your lures further back to improve your trolling results. When anchoring always move into position and lower the anchor quietly. If you operate your main motor it may take 10 – 20 minutes before fish will start biting in that area again. Do not close hatches loudly or stomp on decks.
Many newcomers can take a while to come to terms with the stealth factor, once they understand, they start catching more fish
Barra Anglers Code of Conduct
*Be Courteous to other fishermen.
*If you are operating your main motor, try and keep at least 100m clear of other boats fishing.
*Casters – please don’t anchor in the way of trollers that are working a particular bank.
*Trollers – Be considerate of casters by staying clear of boats anchored or using electric power.
*Don’t be a blowfly! If someone catches a fish, it is extremely rude to move in on their spot.
*Location Occupied - If another boat is fishing ‘your’ spot before you get there, it’s time to find another spot. Barra are spread right throughout the lake, so don’t get focused on one spot.
*Enjoy your Fishing – It can be many hours between barra bites at times. Stay positive, relax, and enjoy the sights, sounds, smells of the lake and the nature of its surrounds.
*Respect the Barra – Enjoy the experience! If you want to keep your barra, bleed and ice down or clean quickly. If you plan to release – handle carefully and quickly.
Good Luck! Happy and Safe fishing
As you have all probably seen the posts on Instagram & Facebook of the recent Barramundi catches, Awoonga is definitely on fire 🔥, with some anglers reporting multiple catches of different year class fish ranging from mid 50cm - mid 80cm fish and sightings of meterys but proving still elusive.
. As the water temperature is starting to rise it seems the peak bite periods have slightly shifted from late afternoon to early mornings (but still catches have been reported at all times during the day).
A few tips if your about to plan a trip is to make sure your fishing gear is in A1 condition and your line is heavy enough to handle the strength of these powerful impoundment Barramundi (I personally use 30lb braid and approximately 800mm of 60lb leader.
The popular lures of choice seems to be still the Happy Rock softies ( Grubs, swimbaits or big Willy’s) rigged up weedless (owner flashy swimmers are popular) or in the hardbody range the duo realis 100dr and even the ever faithful Barra Classic have been getting the job done. And for surface fans, you can’t go past the old faithful Rapala X -walk... but remember, upgrading your treble hooks is sometimes good insurance of not losing a prized fish.
Some tips of areas to fish ? ... well anywhere around weedbeds and timber has been producing barra, but always best to see which direction the wind has been blowing in the lead up to planning your fishing trip to Awoonga.
The Gladstone Area Water Board encourages people to upload their catches to the TRACK MY FISH - LAKE AWOONGA app that can be downloaded from the App Store or Google play, and there is still 6 pink tagged barramundi in Lake Awoonga worth $1000 each until the 2nd of May 2019. For more information head to http://www.gawb.qld.gov.au/
POINT TO REMEMBER! - with the barramundi closed season approaching on November 1st, Lake Awoonga is open all year round for targeting barramundi, but the take limits reduce in the closed season.
For those that don’t have a way of getting on the water, Lake Awoonga Boating & Leisure Hire has Hire boats that you don’t need a license or experience to hire... to book head to fb.com/lakeawoongaboatingandleisurehire/book/
Or for a guided fishing charter contact Justin Nye from
And contact Trevor Burgess about how to stock up on Happy Rock Softies on https://www.facebook.com/Happyrocksofties/
Or for all other rods & tackle requirements, speak to the boys from Pat’s Tackle World Gladstone, Boyne Island Bait & Tackle or Lj’s Complete Angler Gladstone https://www.facebook.com/PatsTackleworldGladstone/
Good luck on the water & remember to always practice safe boating and check the weather report before you go.
With the September School holidays just around the corner... it is now time to plan your trip away.
Lake Awoonga is the perfect getaway and has so much to offer
If your planning on staying or just day trips.
Some of the things to do include:
If your planning on a camping trip, make sure you book with Lake Awoonga Caravan Park.
If you want to hire our bbq pontoon, hire boats, kayaks or stand up paddle boards be sure to make a booking on our Facebook page or sms your details to 0457929889
If your looking to refine your fishing skills or learn how to catch a barramundi, book a guided fishing charter with Justin from Gladstone Fly & Sportfishing.
LAKE AWOONGA - The place to be !!!
I'm just sharing my experience in chasing winter Barra in Lake Awoonga. By no means am I a professional fisherman or do I claim to know everything about Barra fishing in lake Awoonga, but I am learning and getting more catches every time I venture out (which is not as often as I would like lol)
Although you hear people say that once the water temperature drops the Barra shut down and you can't catch them.... wrong !!! In fact I have found in recent outings that I have managed to catch more Barra.
My tip is to make sure all you rods and line are in good condition, I use a minimum of 30lb braid on my main line and about a meter of 60lb leader.
In these months when the water temperature of the lake drops I go searching in shallow bays that have plenty of weed. In my opinion I believe the Barra go to these areas because they are a lot warmer and hold tonnes of baitfish. I like to use surface lures like the nomad one in the picture above. They are a very good replica of the baitfish that inhabit the area I fish and I find using a "jig jig pause" method works for me, usually on the pause. Also using soft plastics work for me, especially the locally made "Happy Rock Softies"
My recent success has been in the morning from around 7am - 11am but I'm sure the afternoon would be just as good once the Heat of the sun during the day warms the water a little.
Good luck and please feel free to share photos of your catch at lake Awoonga and let me know your story
Also if you want to try your luck using some of the tip above, we have boats available for hire from $80 for 4 hours.
Contact me on
Ph: 0457 929 889
Or Gladstone Fly and Sportfishing operate guided charters on lake Awoonga.
Contact Justin Nye
Ph : 0429 223 550