Lake Kununurra reached a significant milestone
It’s been a few years since I visited Kununurra, but the urge to return is getting stronger all the time.
The reason why is simple and that is the continued emergence of Lake Kununurra as a quality impoundment barramundi fishery.
The last time I was there I was fortunate enough to spend a few days on a houseboat floating around the lake.
It was a brilliant experience as the lake is just a stunning waterway, but the fishing opportunities at that time were nothing too exciting.
There were plenty of catfish and we had some good action catching chunky sooty grunter one afternoon with local guru and long-time Western Angler writer Dick Pasfield.
We also had some fun catching the little archer fish up the back of the lake, and watching them spit at insects on the branches above the water.
The one thing missing at that stage was the real essence of the Kimberley fishing experience in the form of some decent barramundi, although Dick had caught the odd escapee in the lake over the years.
We even talked about how great it would be if Lake Kununurra could one day match the hugely popular barra impoundments on the east coast, which are huge economic drivers for the local communities and offer anglers the chance to catch some truly monstrous fish.
The good news is that what was then a dream is now a reality thanks to the restocking program in the lake which has been running for close to a decade.
It reached a significant milestone recently, with the millionth barramundi stocked into the lake.
This latest stocking took place at Lily Creek Lagoon, with hundreds of people in attendance including Fisheries Minister Don Punch.
While all of the fish released were only fingerlings around 60 days old, the lake has been restocked since 2013 and there are now some very big barra in there.
The barra in Lake Kununurra are loving the rich food sources and growing very fast, with good numbers of metre-plus fish now on offer.
The best record growth rate so far has been a 1.19m fish in just three years.
These big fish aren’t necessarily easy to catch, even when modern electronics can clearly show where they are holding up, but the locals are starting to work out the best tactics with which to target them.
Most are being caught from boats, but a few have been caught from shore at the local caravan parks that dot the edge of the lake.
We West Aussies no longer need to be envious of those east coast barra impoundments, in fact it might soon be the other way around as this fishery is really just starting to blossom. I can’t wait to get back there to try it, which makes me wonder how the family feels about a long drive north?
Caption: Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking Group president Dylan Hearty with some fish about to be released.