Another happy customer of Johnny Mitchell's Fishing Charter and Services.
Another happy customer of Johnny Mitchell's Fishing Charter and Services. Contributed

Barra still on go at Awoonga despite season closure

THE closed season for barramundi has come into effect and will remain in place until February 1 - but you can still legally catch a barra on Lake Awoonga 12 months of the year.

The closure applies mainly to saltwater fishing for barramundi, with waterways upstream from Lake Awoonga one of the exceptions.

There are 18 lakes and dams in Queensland which are exempted from the closed season.

The closure for barramundi further north in the Gulf of Carpentaria, to fit better with spawning, began on October 4 and goes until January 30.

Fishers can still target and take (and possess) one fish during the closed season from Awoonga and it may be a greater length than 120cm.

During the open season, the bag limit is five barra from 58-120cm.

And while late spring into summer is when the barra are getting active, the numbers are down in Lake Awoonga following a couple of major overflows which took most of the big barra out of the dam.

Local fishing and barra guru Johnny Mitchell said the big fish went over the dam wall in the first of the spills almost two years ago in the first of the floods and again more recently, with those juveniles that had grown now gone too.

"We kept losing stock with the overflows and the dam is still close to capacity so it won't take much for it to go over again,'' Johnny said.

"They have been catching those that got out of Awoonga as far south as Bundaberg and maybe the Maroochy River and as far north as Townsville. That's a pretty big range.''

But Johnny said he agreed with the closures and with much knowledge of the prized species, he knows the importance of the breeding and spawning periods.

"Barra can be caught 12 months of the year, but they do seem to come on as the water warms up, but those spawning periods are crucial,'' he said.