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FISHING With Alex Julius

It’s now a no brainer that we will have a good wet season and great Runoff fishing.
This monsoon we have been experiencing is widespread and relentless; it has been dropping millions and millions of litres of water across the Top End.
Luckily, there hasn’t been a sneaky low to the west or the east which would have sucked this monsoon away like a magnet sucks up a pile of paperclips.
Mid-week the Mary River was up to the bottom of the tables at the Mary River Bridge lagoon.
Unfortunately, the sudden freshwater flow into the Shady Camp lagoon resulted in a fish kill at the barrage.
That happens almost every year with the sudden oxygen depletion.
An interesting and curious aftermath is that quite a few anglers were going through the dead barra looking for red tags.
Would that be classed as some sort of “looting” after a catastrophe?
We wait now to see how long the deluge lasts and what might follow it.
It certainly won’t surprise if we get a cyclone in the next week or so.
On a different note, many of you would remember when Manton Dam was stocked with barramundi fingerlings in the early ‘90s.
They grew up big and then a wet season flood event sent most of them plummeting to their death over the dam wall.
It led to AFANT calls for a containment net so future stocked barra could not escape… and it worked.
However, that net had finally come to the end of its life.
Fortunately, as part of the Territory Government’s $50 million election commitment to invest in recreational fishing infrastructure, Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Ken Vowles said the instalment of a new containment net at Manton Dam is complete.
Phew… wasn’t that just in a nick of time, given the inevitable flooding of Manton Dam with all this rain?
“Manton Dam is a popular recreational fishing spot with year-round access,” Minister Vowles said.
“In February last year I helped release 110,000 barramundi fingerlings into the dam to sustain the barra population, and this new net will stop them escaping, increasing your chances of catching a barra.
“Installing a new net was recommended by the Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee (RFAC) and is supported by AFANT,” Mr Vowles said.
AFANT Executive Officer David Ciaravolo said the timing of the installation was perfect.
“We are very supportive of this project, and it’s great to see it completed in time for the wet season rains, to ensure those magnificent barra in the dam stay in the dam,” he said.
The project follows the successful completion of several other recreational fishing projects, including the new Shady Camp boat ramp (which is soon to get a big workout), CCTV at Dinah Beach boat ramp, an upgrade to Corroboree Billabong Road, and the sealing of Middle Arm boat ramp car park.
“Another project nearing completion is the scoping study into artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices (FADs),” Mr Vowles said.
“Cardno’s Darwin office is carrying out the study and it will look at scientific fish survey data, and biological and cost factors.
“But it also wants to hear what Territory fishos have to say about potential locations for artificial reefs and FADs,” the minister explained.
To complete the online survey, visit the DPIR website before Monday 19 February.
I put in my two bobs worth this week.


1.    Will and Bill Young with a brace of silver estuary barra caught just before the arrival of the monsoon.

2.    Jenny Guyatt with one of many threadfin salmon which have been showing up in Darwin waters of late.