Barramundi numbers explode at Kinchant Dam hotspots

Over the last three years 197 fish-attracting structures have been installed in Kinchant Dam, in a joint venture between council and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Recent electrofishing surveys have revealed a staggering three-fold increase in barramundi numbers at the 36 sites where structures have been installed in the dam.

Mayor Greg Williamson said this was a tremendous result for local anglers and the tourism industry.

“The goals of the project were to increase structural fish habitat diversity, improve angler experiences and catch rates and reduce the number of anglers fishing along the dam infrastructure in closed zones,” he said.

“The fact we’ve been able to increase the number of barramundi found in fish-attracting sites by three times the amount that are found in open water is a testament to the success of this project.

“Mackay is known for its fishing and these structures will allow anglers to have a more enjoyable fishing experience at Kinchant Dam by allowing them to fish in more locations on the dam while avoiding snags.

“We believe this will be a great tourism asset to our region, as there are significant economic benefits associated with angling-based tourism.

“The annual economic value of the Kinchant Dam fishery is currently estimated at $1.1 million per annum and with projects like this we hope to see that number increase into the future.”

Mayor Greg Williamson said community participation was vital to the success of this project.

“Without the help of volunteers who generously donated their time to construct the fish-attracting structures at a number of community workshops, this project would not have been economically viable,” he said.

“The structures include 88 synthetic trees, 39 pipe bundles, 30 synthetic hedges, 23 Georgia cubes, 12 Kinchant cribs and three suspended fish-attracting structures.

“All the structures have been designed with durability in mind to ensure they have no detrimental impacts on the aquatic environment and they are also relatively snag-free, meaning anglers can fish right in amongst the habitat with less risk of losing fishing gear.”

Council and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries would also like to thank Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association, Walkerston Rotary and St Patrick’s Senior College for their contributions to this project.

To view the GPS coordinates of the Kinchant Dam fish-attracting structures, download the Mackay Freshwater Fishing booklet on the Hooked on Mackay website.

Hooked on Mackay is a one-stop destination for everything you need to know about fishing in the Mackay region including weekly fishing reports, operators and interactive fishing maps.

For more details on the Kinchant Dam habitat enhancement project visit council’s website.