callide
Anna Turner with her personal best 109cm beast that won biggest barramundi.

Big barra in Callide Dam

On the list of good barramundi dams in central Queensland is Callide.

For as long as I can remember, it has grown big healthy barramundi at a fairly fast rate. Water quality must be exact for this to happen, and Callide Dam has the right conditions.

It’s not an overly big storage, so you’d think catching them would be quite easy.

Using the latest sounding technology available, they’re easy to find, but hooking them can be another matter.

Having said that, it is no different from any other stocked dam.

Every freshwater impoundment holding barra is different and Callide is no exception.

It is a case of figuring out how that dam works and, when you do, it’s so rewarding landing those trophy fish.

Visited often by southern anglers wanting to catch and land 1m barra, they come here because it’s an easy drive from Brisbane and the southern coast.

Lake Callide Retreat and Caravan Park is right at the lake and has all the accommodation needs you could want.

Overlooking the dam with bushfires in the background. We were safe.

 

Powered and unpowered sites, cabins, grassy shaded areas, kiosk, ice – these are all available and at very reasonable rates.

There’s no excuse to not spend some time here.

A very good reason to go in October is because the Callide Valley Native Fish Stocking Association Inc holds its annual family fishing competition.

A group of passionate anglers put on a great weekend, with lots of great prizes and lucky draws.

During the comp, you can camp nearer the water or live it up a little and book into the retreat right beside the event area.

While it was a while ago now, last October 27-29 was the family fishing comp at Callide Dam.

The CVNFSA put on a great event, raising money for the purchase of more barra fingerlings to put in the dam.

Along with barra, yellowbelly, long tom, saratoga, eel-tailed catfish and sleepy cod can also be found in the dam.

Jackson Sorensen from Moura and his 463cm fish.

 

The weather gods did not play the game for the 2023 competition, with the chilly night before having us all looking for coats – not normal.

That didn’t faze the anglers, however.

The next morning, they were out bright and early for a 4am start and the first 1m barramundi come in soon after.

Sadly, the weather conditions probably had a lot to do with why the barra didn’t bite all day, though everyone was hopeful.

There were a lot of hits and dropped fish, but that’s fishing.

It’s what keeps us going back.

Barra love warm water, which makes them very active.

Unfortunately, when that sudden cold change came through, it slowed them down for the rest of the weekend.

Some anglers slowed their lure presentations down to get some hits, yet not all connected well.

Adam and Anna Turner from Bundaberg were first-time fishers to the dam – wanting to test their new range of plastics in various waterways.

Anna had her first cast at about 5am and nailed a 109cm monster straight up.

callide
Jackson with most of his prizes.

 

Her personal best barra that she was over the moon about.

She used a Pristine Lures PT150 Glow in the Dark, which is in the new plastics range.

The Turners have had a lot of success chasing barra with PT plastics but this was the first time using the glow in the dark version.

Anna’s barra turned out to be the best of the comp, which earned her best barra for the day and best for the weekend.

She also took home a couple of lucky draw and raffle prizes, making her one very happy fisho.

Over the competition weekend, some good-sized yellowbelly and eel-tailed catties came in too, which made a young angler from Moura, who’s dad took him to the event, very happy.

Jackson Sorensen won the casting competition, two lucky draws and the best junior eel-tailed catfish for the weekend.

He was over the moon and a bit taken aback that he’d won so much.

He’ll be back for the 2024 comp.

Even through the fishing was a bit on the slow side, plenty of happy anglers enjoyed the time spent together.

I find these family fishing event very relaxing and anglers are more than happy to help each other – particularly when it comes to assisting junior fishos with different methods, lures and how to use them.

Many young beginner anglers are sponges and want to know heaps.

Casting comps, trying to get a plug into a bucket or a hula hoop circle, get them keener and often, after the event, some will be out the back practising.

It was also great to catch up with Charlie Ladd from Freshwater Fishing and Stocking Association of Queensland Inc and to see the fish viewing tank.

It always gets plenty of attention with questions on the different species, plus having a pest fish tilapia on view sparked heaps of interest.

There was even a small barra, who was probably the favourite for the weekend.

Keep this event in mind for 2024 and help support the stocking group put more barra fingerlings in the dam.

Happy fishing.

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