Lake Awoonga is a particularly exciting stocked impoundment, having produced barramundi to 30kg+, and some giant mangrove jacks.
Awoonga offers perhaps the best chance of catching an impoundment jack in Queensland.
An 80cm jack was landed by one lucky angler, although these fish are incredibly elusive and targeted by very few.
A 36.5kg barramundi was taken in 2008. Many barra over 20kg are caught each year.
Awoonga has been stocked with several species of fish, but barramundi, redclaw crayfish and fork-tailed catfish predominate.
By 2006 alone, 2.9 million fish had been released, including 2.4 million barramundi, 470,000 sea mullet and 15,000 mangrove jacks .
By 2013 the numbers were as follows:
About 300,000 fingerlings are released annually by the Gladstone Area Water Board Fish Hatchery, mainly barra, mangrove jacks and mullet.
As with most dams, the redclaw population fluctuates.
Accommodation is at Lake Awoonga Caravan Park.
There is a recreation area at the lake with toilets, picnic tables, barbecues, kiosk, playground, lookout, walking tracks and a restaurant.
No boating restrictions apply at Awoonga, other than a no-go zone in front of dam wall.
How to fish Lake Awoonga
Awoonga is large body of water and can get rough, with the afternoon sea breeze having a marked effect.
The fish in Awoonga are often big, so 15kg to 25kg braided line and 40kg fluorocarbon leaders are the norm.
Lures must have quality split rings and 4X/6X hooks.
Like most Queensland stocked impoundments, the lake will produce occasional barramundi in cool weather, but warm to hot weather is always the better option.
The general rule is to fish deep when the sun is up, but shallow areas may produce when barramundi are seeking warmth in the sun.
Otherwise, concentrate efforts where fish or bait is seen on the sounder.
Cast to timber and weedbeds in mornings and afternoons.
bony bream bait balls in summer often keep barramundi out in the open lake.
Awoonga mangrove jacks are difficult to catch, having excellent eyesight and a wary nature.
The lake occasionally suffers from low water levels. It also overflows, with many barramundi escaping alive over the sloping dam wall into the Boyne River.
In 2010 an estimated 25,000 large barramundi went over the wall, with the fishing in the Boyne River coming alive, although it appears there were too many fish for the local ecosystem to support.
Many sick fish were reported in tidal waters after the mass escape.
Regular stocking and the fast growth rate of barramundi ensured good fishing returned to the dam not long after a spillway flood.
The Gladstone Area Water Board has a Track My Fish Lake Awoonga App that provides data on the number, size and health of fish caught. The board relies on use of the App by fishers, so prizes are offered. More info is here.
A Stocked Impoundment Permit is needed to fish Awoonga, which can be bought at the campsite office.
Here is a list of recommended tackle for freshwater fishing, including within stocked dams.
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