Where the big barra bite in Mount Isa
We are blessed to have two of Australia’s best man-made, freshwater lakes in and around Mount Isa – Lake Moondarra and Lake Julius. They are both great Mt Isa fishing spots. Read on to find out what you can catch, when are the best times to fish, and how to get to each spot!
Lake Moondarra is just 17k’s from the centre of town in Mount Isa. It’s the venue for the annual three-day Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic every October, but you can catch plenty of fish there all year round.
Lake Moondarra is well known for its supply of big Mount Isa barramundi, and you can also find black bream and catfish there. It’s stocked with around 10,000 fingerlings each year for recreational fishing.
This is necessary because barramundi don’t breed in freshwater, they need a saltwater environment for that instead. Heat and storms are conditions that make them especially active, so it’s the perfect environment. Late afternoon is a great time to throw the line in, especially around the edges of the Lake near its weed beds.
You don’t need a permit to fish at Lake Moondarra, but there are freshwater catch limits. It’s open from 6am to 10pm every day of the year.
Catches of more than a metre-long Mt Isa barramundi are not unusual at Lake Moondarra, as our Principal Tanya Burns recently proved with this 111cm whopper!
Getting to Lake Moondarra
Get onto the Barkly Highway and then turn right onto Miles Street, followed by a left 2.3 k’s later onto Ryan Rd.
Drive for another 2.5k’s before turning right into Moondarra Drive. 11k’s later, the aptly named Barramundi Way is on your left, and you’re nearly there. Just over a kilometre later, you’ll be at Lake Moondarra.
Lake Julius is about 80k’s north-east of Mount Isa and it was built when the Julius Dam was constructed in 1976. It’s been a popular spot for anglers ever since, and is especially well known for its plentiful supply of both catfish and black bream. The thick-set build of the black bream ensures that they will give you a solid tussle when you hook them on your line!
Ideally, you need to get away from the shoreline for the best opportunities. If you can take a boat, kayak or canoe with you to Lake Julius, you should find it’s well worth it! There are plenty of winding nooks and crannies to explore.
Lures or flies are best to use as bait for black bream. Earthworms, shrimp, prawn are best to use for attracting Lake Julius’ catfish.
April, May and August through to November tend to be the best times to fish at Lake Julius.
Getting to Lake Julius
Get onto the Barkly Highway and drive for about 20k’s before turning right onto a dirt road and heading towards Julius Dam. Follow that dirt road all the way for about 60k’s and you can’t miss Lake Julius at the end. It’s right next to the Julius Dam wall.
Because most of the journey is on a dirt road, try and avoid a trip to Lake Julius during the wet season from December through to March.
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