A short 25 kilometres south west of Emerald lies Lake Maraboon, the second largest lake in Queensland. Being second comes with big benefits and plenty of fish to catch including Murray cod, saratoga, yellow belly and, of course, some barramundi.
You will need a fishing permit to fish at Lake Maraboon, which can easily be bought from the Emerald Post Office or through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ website. If you’re just looking to catch red claw crayfish, you won’t need a permit if you aren’t using a fishing line or set line. Red claw crayfish are best caught using opera house traps using fruit, cooked veg or pet food as bait.
Barramundi Season 2021
With 1 February 2021 just around the corner, it’s time to get ready to catch some big barramundi in Lake Maraboon.
The Barramundi closed season was scheduled for 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021, meaning that barramundi fishing is back in the game come 1 February.
So get your lines ready to throw in a hook. Lake Maraboon is known for its massive sized barramundi, guaranteeing an absolute feast for cooking.
How to catch barramundi in Lake Maraboon
Barramundi are quite temperamental fish, which means it will pay off to keep a journal containing observations and patterns that indicate bite windows. Many anglers go days without getting a bite, but it all comes down to semantics such as moon phases, weather conditions, bait used, and behavioural patterns.
When it comes to fishing for barra, windy weather is your friend. Barramundi have the tendency to congregate in areas where the wind blows into, as water in the area becomes more oxygenated and prey becomes stirred around as a result of the tide and waves.
The ideal wind speed for fishing barramundi is 10 knots, with extremely windy days of 15 knots or more becoming not safe to fish and fruitless anyway, given most fish seem to go deeper into the waters to avoid the hectic surface. Fishing on glasses out days is okay too, but the results may not be as great as windy days of 10 knots.
It may be a bit strange to you that moon phases play a part in fishing for barramundi in Lake Maraboon given that it is impounded and not tidal. However, the moon phases which affect tide changes typically correspond with good fishing opportunities, so it would be worth keeping track of patterns in a diary.
Scout the area of funneling points, which are known for barramundi to patrol around. These spots tend to be ledges or structures that will hold bait well and are typically areas, which receive direct wind impact. Start by spotting points where the wind is blowing into.
Barramundi often hang around depths of 2 metres to 5 metres when the weather is cool. During summer, they tend to go slightly deeper to avoid the sun and UV rays.
With plenty of timber structures around Fairbairn Dam, you may feel drawn to fishing in those areas. Unfortunately, the timber structures mean that fish is harder to get out of the waters resulting in an increased chance of them getting loose. There are also plenty of barramundi to be caught in the open waters, so fishing near the timbers isn’t always necessary. The lake has a lot of ledges, deep holes and contours deep under, which is plenty of space to hold the barramundi.
The murky waters of Fairbairn Dam and Lake Maraboon may be off putting when going barramundi fishing. Know that it is just the nature of the dam storage, and that the barramundi here thrive exceedingly without any problems finding and taking on lures casted.
What tackles to use for barramundi fishing
As long as you fish in open waters, you can get away with relatively light gear, such as a 10lb to 17lb line class spin rod or baitcaster with a matching reel loaded with a 20lb braid. To prevent abrasion, use a 50lb to 80lb leader with a lure attached using a lefty loop knot.
What lures to use for barramundi fishing
You will want to get soft plastic lures that are around 5 to 6 inches with a slow action and plenty of wobble when fishing for barramundi. Paddle tail lures such as the 6th Sense Core Wrap, Squidgies Slick Rigs, Devine, Keitech Fat Swings, Happy Rock Soft Plastics and Ricks Fish On Plastic work great.
Just be sure to weigh them as light as possible to below half an ounce, depending on the lure you use and the water depth you’re fishing at.
What to do if you can’t catch a fish?
Hope isn’t lost if you find yourself out of luck with barramundi fishing this season. Just because you couldn’t reel one in doesn’t mean you have to miss out on reaping the reward!
Head over to the Maraboon Tavern for one of the best grilled barramundi meals with chips and a salad on the side. Locally caught, extremely fresh, and cooked to perfection, you’ll feel like a million bucks when it comes to enjoying barramundi season with this dish.
Make the most of your dining experience with some fresh, cold beers on tap, or select from the wide range of local and imported wines, spirits and other drinks.
A meal at Maraboon Tavern certainly will not disappoint. After all, it is a local favourite for good reason!
Banner image credit: Gladstone Observer