just outside of Monto in southern Central Queensland is Cania
Dam, one of the best kept secrets for some time. Stocked with
your usual golden perch, silver perch and australian bass to 3kg
as is the norm at most impoundements in central and southern eastern
Qld, Cania Dam's real drawcard is the saratoga. Initially stocked
with only 200 individuals, the 'toga have breed to a population
where they are quite easily targeted and caught, making Cania
a rival to the likes of Borumba Dam on Queenslands Sunshine Coast.
Fishing there is quite enjoyable and relaxing due to the postcard
surroundings of sheer sandstone escarpments, cliff faces and the
abundant wildlife like wallabies that won't get out of the way
near the boat ramp.
There are several techniques that can be used to target the saratoga
here and trolling hard bodied lures seems to be the most popular
with local anglers. This method can produce bass, goldens and
saratoga on the same lure at the same place.
more productive technique is to cast lures or spinnerbaits in
towards snags around the steep banks almost anywhere on the lake,
although more seem to be found further up the back of this winding
waterway. Cast your offering where you think fish are likely to
be and begin your retrieve almost immediately. I have had success
using Buzzbaits retrieved just under the surface causing a bow
wave to form around it. Don't worry about retrieving too quickly
when using spinnerbaits and buzzbaits, as saratoga are a very
fast fish and a quick retrieve commonly triggers a strike. One
downfall of using spinnerbaits is that fish, especially saratoga,
tend to strike the blades instead of the skirt or even short strike
one trip there with a few mates, fishing partner Matthew Mott
and I had 14 strikes for 14 casts with fish leaping and crossed
lines everywhere, all in about four heart stopping minutes. I
found a better hook-up ratio was obtained by trimming down the
skirt and using double Colorado blades instead of willow leaf
blades. Another way to improve hook-up rates is to add a stinger
hook onto your spinnerbaits.
the most difficult but most rewarding way to catch saratoga is
flyfishing for them. My favourite fly would have to be a wiggle
minnow or a small dahlberg, although several different patterns
will catch fish. The use of surface flies early in the morning
or late afternoon is productive especially when there is no wind,
as a ripple on the water tends to send the fish deeper. I prefer
to use an intermediate line combined with a floating fly for most
situations at Cania. This allows you to present your offering,
get one or two strips, which gets the fish's attention then allow
the weight of the line to pull the fly under. This is where most
strikes will occur with the advantage of improving the hook-up
rate compared to surface strikes.
the heat of the day try using intermediate or full sinking lines
using flies like deceivers, clousers and wooly buggers. Count
them down to the desired depth and begin your retrieve. I've found
saratoga prefer a long slow strip with a good pause in between
although they are capable of high speeds. One local's tip is to
stir the 'toga up with spinnerbaits and then throw a fly into
the fray. Saratoga can be one of the most aggressive fish found
in our freshwater impoundements. I've yet to see any other fish
that will throw a lure and then charge straight back at it for
another go time and time again. This is one reason for a bag limit
of one in Qld. The other compelling reason is that although saratoga
will breed in impoundments, they are very slow to do so, often
rearing less than 100 in a season per pair. Another thing to remember
is that 'toga are shocking table fare, in fact I wouldn't feed
one to my cat.
There are no boating restrictions at Cania Dam. There is a dual
lane concrete boat ramp that is usable when the lake is around
half full. Alternatively, most anglers drive down a gravel track
toward the dam wall and launch there at low water levels.
Cania Dam (Lake Cania) is named after the nearby Cania Gorge National
Park and access to the dam and park can be reached via a bitumen
road that branches off the Burnett Highway 12 km north of Monto
(or 77km south of Biloela). It is 14 km from the Burnett Highway
to the National Park passing through the small settlement of Moonford
and a further 11km to Lake Cania. Don't forget to take some time
out from fishing for a look at the Cania Gorge and Three Moon
Creek. It is well worth the effort of a short walk.
Competition The Cania Dam Fish Stocking Association runs the annual Lake
Cania Freshwater Fishing Classic which is to be held on March
11-12, when camping will be allowed at the lake for competitors.
Proceeds from this event go toward keeping this a top little fishery.
There is also an annual Fly Fishing Competition, check the Competition
page for latest information.
Accomodation No camping is permitted at Cania Dam.
There are various accomodation facilities in the Monto district.
See the Accommodation
page for details.