Logan Gilmore scored a 99cm barramundi on 7” Castaic Jerky J Swim.

Water level leaves large barra lure shy

It’s been a tough start to the year on Lake Monduran for many anglers.

The huge increase in water level has left many people struggling to find good areas to target.

For those who have managed to find decent numbers of fish, it’s a struggle to entice larger models to take a lure.

I’ve been asked by a number of people what would cause this, so I’ll do my best to try explaining why.

Water level increase

As anyone who fishes Lake Monduran regularly will know, over the past 18 months, we’ve seen the water level go from 35 to 100 percent capacity.

Being quite a shallow lake, this jump means the surface area has increased significantly.

Which leads to the same amount of barramundi spreading out over three times the amount of water, hence big numbers become harder to find.

Increase in bait

Increase in water means more areas for bait to feed and breed.

And though this is great for the health of the system, it also results in the predatory species having to work less to feed and survive.

Hungry fish are much more likely to take an artificial lure than those that are spoilt for choice.

I have noticed a huge increase in the presence of bait over the past couple of months and this has coincided with bites becoming tougher.

Luckily, we had a great survival rate from the fingerling release at the end of 2021.

As these fish get bigger, they will begin to influence the levels of bait throughout the dam.

Given there should not be another bait spawn until later in the year, we should see the bait level drop over the coming months and in turn the fishing should hopefully improve.

James Rowley camptured a decent 96cm barramundi on a Molix Shad 140 Swimbait.


The fish are spooking easily

Monduran is quite a heavily fished lake, which has the effect of the fish becoming steadily wearier as they get older.

Anything from outboard and electric motors, banging hatches or even talking too loudly can be enough to put a fish off from taking a lure and, most of the time, even staying in the area.

This is generally more noticeable during colder months but, for some reason, is particularly obvious at the moment.

What can you do to improve your chances

Be extremely quiet when moving into and fishing an area. Avoid scanning for fish on the electric motor and try to tie off to trees or anchor when possible.

Avoid landing heavy lures within the vicinity of fish – if you can cast at least 10m past and retrieve through the fish, that’s ideal.

Throw lures that the fish may not see as regularly. This may not mean some crazy design but perhaps a different length or colour to what everyone else is using.

Plenty of small barra between 50-60cm are still being caught regularly.

At the moment, these fish can be good fun and can be targeted on a range of different lures. When targeting the big fish though, now more than ever, it is important to be confident in what you are doing.

The fish do still eat, and you may only be a cast away from that fish of a lifetime.

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