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Author Topic: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday  (Read 27303 times)

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #30 on: December 20, 2010, 12:49:57 PM »
we could be like tinaroo and mackays dams where they watch the barra go splat on a regular basis. 

In-correct. Well, for the last 7 or 8 years anyway.

As bad a bunch as they are, Tableland Fish Stocking Society erect a net (yay wide, and yay big... Sydney Harbour size) when Tinaroo is in spill mode. When not in use, the net is housed in a shipping container, which is a permanent donga for TFSS near the Tinaroo Resort foreshore. The net is strung up not across the dam wall, but from the peninsula of Barrabadeen across to where the shipping container is based - maybe some 250m infront of the wall. Those fish 'stuck' between the net & the wall are in the red zone where they may swim over if they wish, though friends that raft/kayak the Barron River will only see a floater ever blue moon. It's a rare thing, but in the old days it was a daily happening. It was a never disaster, far from it. More fish were holding in creek systems then in 100ft of water near the wall - and thats the case today.

Did I mention that after cyclone Larry, many Tinaroo anglers watched with excitement as schools of large Jacks flirted with the spilling water on the wall? Photo's were taken, but not distributed... thank god. The net was erected 2 days later. Not a fish lost.

Stanwell Corp. manage Koombooloomba Dam & Kareeya power projects based at the head of the Tully River, one of the wettest places in the world. In years gone by when the Dam spills (annual event after Feb to around April) Stanwell have implemented a large Rubber 'top' across the wall, almost like a great big long tyre tube. A net is apparently fixed to the base and is strung infront of the flowing water to back fish up. The dis-charge from this dam when full, and even half full, is massive - accomodating for Tully Rafters. Again, after cyclone Larry, the sheer volume of water that was cued up to go over the dam wall near the ramp was beyond belief - there was indeed some pull of the boat towards the wall as you drove past - hence why it is closed to recreational users when it is spilling, and is below 20%.

In the last fortnight I've had 3 people from (Cairns, 2 x Mackay-ites) call me about the net, all have been fowarded to the relevant people within TFSS. Hopefully some information swapping can be shared to other groups & water boards. Sure is a real pickle of a situation, remembering that water (and to some extent, Barra) are a precious commodity - especially in the Gladstone region.

Theo

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2010, 01:14:53 PM »
fitzy,
well i have only experienced 1 week of fish going over the spillway, where you are involved with several impoundments that have done this in 2010, what management approaches did you put in place re fish going over and did you experience and mortalities at the receiving end of the everflow?  do you have any further management contingencies for future events?  (i know that this is going to become sticky with other members teabagging their 2 bobs worth in by may be a good discussion point to get veiws on the events an future approaches that other restocking groups on this site can take advantage of).

cheers
kurt

G'Day Kurt,

My expoeriences are with several species, but not barra, but some similarities can be drawn. Yep, fish go over or through a wall in flood events. Even when timed with spwaning runs only a fraction of the catadromous fish seem to go, while others seem to push further up into the lake. Example: We've had several overflow events in the Brisbane Valley Lakes over the past few months, there is some BIG bass getting caught way way way up the Brisbane & Stanley rivers right now. (I might get shot for spilling the beans of that...)

As we stock each & every year, I don't see it as an issue if some fish go over. I think Awoonga's spillway is far kinder for fish that our lakes here. Yes we get some mortality immediately & in days /weeks to follow, that's the way it goes as there's not alot that can be done.
Probably of the most concern in our area is the number of lungfish that get killed. We all probably saw some dead lungies from below North Pine Dam (Lake Samsonvale) a while back. This was publicised quite widely. Nobody saw the dead lungies from below Somerset & Wivenhoe Dam walls however, this was kept pretty quiet, the fish buried.

IMHO the dams primary reason is for water storage / flood mitigation. The recreational fishery that is created in the lake environment is of little concern (in the big scheme of things) in the overal operation & management of the water grid & fair enough too.

I actually see overflow events as an opportunity. When dams are built, flows are regulated & the natural cycles are interupted. A flood is a good thing, a delivery method for food, mineral, nutrients & can be a trigger for migration & spawning of fish; a renewal of the life cycle. Any fish that go over the wall add to the recreational fishery downstream, that can't be a bad thing. If theres an over abundance of predator fish downstream, it eventually sorts itself out. i.e. no food = some fish may be in poor condition; Darwins Theory comes into play...

We cannot dictate how floodwater released are conducted from dams & were in no position to even ask for barriers etc to be put into place. We get floods & we get droughts, that's the way it goes. IMHO we just get on with the job at hand, & that is to create & maintain recreatational fisheries in the waterways under our permit.

We can however change the way we stock fish, the species breakdown for sure, sizes & timing (to a degree), where in a lake we release fish, etc etc etc We can also not stock for a season preferring to carry some funds over to the following year as is commonly done in drought situations. We can also release excess funds from investments as we've just done to inject higher numbers to get a fisheries numbers back up after a flood event.

So, my advice would be to not stress about it. Its mostly out of your control. A few fish going over the wall can't really hurt. AND the flood event is justification for your work to continue at the hatchery as you've got fish to replace now. Give yourself a payrise mate.  :thumb

Id rather have a dam in flood than one in drought with the prospect of losing fish the bad way.  :thumbsup

Cheers,

fitzy..

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2010, 01:35:47 PM »
exactly fitzy, agree on all of the above.

cheers
kurt

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2010, 03:21:43 PM »
Hi All

Those of you who know me will know I work for Fisheries Queensland (put down your weapons  :) ). My primary role is fish passage (design and construction) and we are currently studying downstream fish passage over dam walls so this thread is of particular interest to us. Kurt (GAWB) is assisting us with information and some pics (thanks Kurt) but the more the better. We are particularly interested in any close up pics of damaged fish and pics (or even better video) of fish going over the spillway. If you can help me out send me a personal message.

Kind regards
Darren

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #34 on: December 20, 2010, 05:05:18 PM »
Hi All

Those of you who know me will know I work for Fisheries Queensland (put down your weapons  :) ). My primary role is fish passage (design and construction) and we are currently studying downstream fish passage over dam walls so this thread is of particular interest to us. Kurt (GAWB) is assisting us with information and some pics (thanks Kurt) but the more the better. We are particularly interested in any close up pics of damaged fish and pics (or even better video) of fish going over the spillway. If you can help me out send me a personal message.

Kind regards
Darren

G'Day Darren,

Welcome back.  :thumbsup

Are you asking about Awoonga in particular or any dam / weir / barrier?

Cheers,

fitz..

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2010, 06:26:32 PM »
G'Day Darren,

Welcome back.  :thumbsup

Are you asking about Awoonga in particular or any dam / weir / barrier?

Cheers,

fitz..

Anything Fitzy but if it is pics of damaged fish we need to know what they went over and when. Really interested in video of fish actually going over spillways.

Regards
Darren

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2010, 06:51:33 PM »
a full documentary on the life cycle of the awoonga barra will be released early 2011 that i have been working on recently.  this will include from spawning, hatching, stocking, fishing and of course the finalle barra taking the plunge.  worked pretty hard on it and has been professionally produced by a professional cinematographer (not me by the way).  never been done before and hopefully like the fishery set some standards.

to all reading this post, there has been rumours re: 1000's of dead barra in awoonga and below the wall.  these hold as much integrity as the people who spread them.  i responded again (mind you in the mean time gearing 80,000 fish for mondy tomorrow), to count 451 barra.  darren can also support me on this one, this is now an epa job.  just everyone relax on this one, no net barrier like tinaroo will be errected, nor will any other deterant system be put in place (depends how many barra i sell this year, it may be in next year), but as i have told everyone, be greatfull of what we have out there, the fishery is not doomed in any way, and as trev said before, the fishery resource is healthy as always.  any reports of dead fish in the future within the confines of awoonga please call me or gawb head office.  the dam will continue to over flow throughout the cq wet season, and the reality of fish going over will continue, and people should take the good with bad over this period.  fingerlings will be stocked continually over this period, and business willl be as usual over this period.  remember, i am working my crack off over this issue plus allocate fingerlings to other impoundments, just a little busy at the moment.

kind regards
kurt 

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2010, 09:11:49 PM »
Kurt, firstly thanks for all your hard work!  Secondly thanks for taking the time to keep us informed on what is REALLY going on up at Awoonga. Although we only get up there a couple of times a year, have  been following here and another forum for updates on outcome of overflow.It,s good to get first hand info, 451 is a lot better than the 1000's that has been quoted?????

Thanks again
Deefa

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2010, 09:38:52 PM »
again deefa, the people who start these rumours and blow figures out of proportion have as much credit as the rumours.  take it from first hand i have been up there in the last 12 hours and counted these stinkers, but again what do you do.  thanks to all again, in particular fitzy and the moderators.

kind regards
kurt

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #39 on: December 21, 2010, 06:57:20 AM »
Great thread this one guys  8)
It's good to a member of such an informative & non bullshit site . For the few of us guys from the southern states ,I cant stress how great it is to have Kurt a member of this site & giving up his valuable time sorting out facts from fiction .  No matter how many Barra go over the wall , I know I'll be making the trek up again next year as that dam lake is now in my blood  :) .
Once again good onya Kurt & keep up the great work ya do  :youbeauty
cheers AL

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #40 on: December 21, 2010, 07:19:21 AM »
I do find it somewhat amusing that people are worried the fish going over the wall will affect the stocked fishery.

I have a few different concerns to that.

1. With the ever growing trend to catch and release, it might move on some of those biguns that have become lure shy, getting them out of the way !

2. I'm much more concerned with big rises in water levels, not because of oxygen problems, but because of the loss of the lilies and weed beds I love to cast at. A rise in a dam of more than 2 or 3 metres can mean a similar number of years before the weed beds and lilies recover!

3. Those same big rises in water levels means lots of nutrients, lots of flooded grass and shrubs etc,  hence lots of live bait, makes luring tough. Big fat fish that start feeding at 4:30am, and are full by 4:35am makes lure presentation a frustrating experience!

4. You can always go fishing downstream!

With my locals going over regularly for the last 2 or so years, I'm still seeing lots of fish on the sounder, live bait is the only regular way to catch them, getting them interested in lures is very hard. I'm also not really keen on fishing schools, I like to hunt them out around the weed beds and snags -  the Bass seem to have stayed schooled up right through the summers last couple of seasons. Got my first bass in NPD in the lilies for 2 years last weekend, then the rain started again!

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #41 on: December 21, 2010, 08:05:33 AM »
Thanks for all the up to date no BS info Kurt :youbeauty
I'll be fishing the dam early in the new year, about the 7th & 8th, would be great to check out your operation if you have time.
Have a Merry Christmas.

Cheers Andrew

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #42 on: December 21, 2010, 10:55:51 AM »
1. With the ever growing trend to catch and release, it might move on some of those biguns that have become lure shy, getting them out of the way !
I have heard that up in Tinaroo when they have the Barra Bash they cull off all the fish caught in the tournament.  Is this true and is it a good way to promote turn-over in the lake or is it a not so good thing to do?

3. Those same big rises in water levels means lots of nutrients, lots of flooded grass and shrubs etc,  hence lots of live bait, makes luring tough. Big fat fish that start feeding at 4:30am, and are full by 4:35am makes lure presentation a frustrating experience!
I would have thought tey would all be feeding at different times of the day and so therefore you just need to be around the right spot in the right time with the best conditions.......  but I am a  noob so.......... ;)

4. You can always go fishing downstream!
Since the water levels went up in NPD I have really only been in there 2 or 3 times.  Unless bait is employed(Freshwater shrimp) it seems thing are tough going.  This is what I have been doing most over the last year.  The fish are there but just don't want a bar of the many offerings employed to fool them.


Judging on what I have seen after the egress of water from NPD, there will most likely be a heap of white bucket brigades getting into the action.  Maybe with the usual amount of fish that go over the spillway in this type of event it will be a turkey shoot down there as they get more and more desperate as the food source disappears. Good for the Rec Fishers not so much maybe for the river system at least for a time anyway.


Cheers Geoff


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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #43 on: December 21, 2010, 02:01:05 PM »
a full documentary on the life cycle of the awoonga barra will be released early 2011 that i have been working on recently.  this will include from spawning, hatching, stocking, fishing and of course the finalle barra taking the plunge.  worked pretty hard on it and has been professionally produced by a professional cinematographer (not me by the way).  never been done before and hopefully like the fishery set some standards.

to all reading this post, there has been rumours re: 1000's of dead barra in awoonga and below the wall.  these hold as much integrity as the people who spread them.  i responded again (mind you in the mean time gearing 80,000 fish for mondy tomorrow), to count 451 barra.  darren can also support me on this one, this is now an epa job.  just everyone relax on this one, no net barrier like tinaroo will be errected, nor will any other deterant system be put in place (depends how many barra i sell this year, it may be in next year), but as i have told everyone, be greatfull of what we have out there, the fishery is not doomed in any way, and as trev said before, the fishery resource is healthy as always.  any reports of dead fish in the future within the confines of awoonga please call me or gawb head office.  the dam will continue to over flow throughout the cq wet season, and the reality of fish going over will continue, and people should take the good with bad over this period.  fingerlings will be stocked continually over this period, and business willl be as usual over this period.  remember, i am working my crack off over this issue plus allocate fingerlings to other impoundments, just a little busy at the moment.

kind regards
kurt

Very well said Kurt. There's nothing you can do this time around. Chances are with the dam now full, and depending on next years dis-charge/evaporation from the dam, it may well be spilling again this time next year. It took a long time for a net to be put in place up here for when the rains occured, you'd be a man of great worth if you could get one up even next year. But as you say, anglers have got to be grateful for what they have. The dam & it's inhabitants will always be there.

Bris-Bass-man - to keep things short & sweet and not butt into a good thread, but yes such a Tournament like the Barra Bash exists. A similar event is also run at Awoonga, a Lions Fishing Day (or perhaps this is now a C&R?). The cull 'tournament' was put in place up here to drag the big fish out of the Lake, maybe 80 to 100 big fish over a full weekend - a sad and sorry sight for those that know how hard people & the fish worked to be in there. The event was always run in fear of the bigger fish predating on the smaller 50mm fingerlings that were released into the lake, but since 2002/2003 the Stocking Group has moved to now stock 300mm fingerlings, but in smaller quantities of course. It's been an overwhelming success, and has put Tinaroo right back on the map. The Barra Bash event is indeed very poor & reflects badly on the Tablelands community, but even worse it's the mindset that develops in anglers heads that every single big fish that is ever caught should be killed.

Anyway, enough about that. Thats a thread in it's own.

Spent a good hour or so trying to chase up some photo's of the fish barrier they have at Koombooloomba as mentioned in my previous post. Sorry about the size of the photo's, they are straight off the Stanwell Corp. website. For those that want the files in the full size you can go to the website, look up Image Library and download them for a fee (crazy, but anyway). As you can see, the wall itself is not the size of a Burdekin Dam wall or Tinaroo (both are about 60/70m deep, and about the same wide) but the system they have in place is one of a kind for a Dam that spills every single year.

Theo

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Re: Barra going over the Awoonga wall yesterday
« Reply #44 on: December 21, 2010, 08:44:09 PM »
Hi guys, could staff have worked out the amount of water flowing in so they can open the gates
to make sure the correct amount of water is being let out, without using a spillway.  Could this have been done at Awoonga since say March?  E.g  Kept below 90% with more rain forecast to fall e.g. like now.

If it wasn't possible that's cool. 

With millions of dollars worth of stocked fish and a million dollar industry where caravan parks,
guides and service stations up and down the Bruce Highway are all linked together making
a crust from impoundment barra i reckon that a lot of long term thought should go into water levels.

Are locals taxed to stock Awoonga with Barra?

If so i'm sure they wouldn't want a few thousand to travel over the dam wall, especially if
it's the fish of a lifetime e.g. 100cm or 120cm plus Barra.  Remember thousands of anglers travel thousands of km's holding onto the dream of catching a big barra.  They also spend thousands of dollars in the local community.

Are there future plans in place to prevent losing stocked fish?
If so does anyone know what the preventative plans are?

This is a thought provoking thread, well done to everyone who's shared their thoughts.

Merry Xmas & Happy New Year.
Lyndon.



 

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