Lake Kununurra brimming over with barra

There has been more great news for WA barra fishers with an extra 100,000 juvenile barra released into Lake Kununurra last week and another 100,000 fish released this week, taking the total number of barramundi stocked in the lake since 2013 to more than 850,000.

Getting ready to roll – another batch of barra about to be released into the lake.
Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking Group member Curt McCartney with a beautiful bronze barra from the lake.

The lake has been quickly establishing itself as a world-class barramundi fishing location and local members of the Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking group say fish are averaging more than a metre!

Read more about the Lake Kununurra Barra stocking program here.

Last week’s stocking of 100,000 barra was funded by a

Regional Economic Development (RED) grant and the Broome Aquaculture centre did such a good job in breeding barra they ended up with twice as many fish as they needed! This provided an opportunity for even more fish to be stocked into the lake, but they needed additional funds to transport the extra fish to Kununurra.

Acting quickly from a request by Recfishwest, the Minister for Fisheries approved the use of recreational fishing licence funds to transport and stock the remaining 100,000 fish.

Read the Minister for Fisheries’ media release here. 

The stocking of Lake Kununurra clearly demonstrates how well-planned stocking programs to create amazing fishing experiences can bring enormous benefits to local communities.

Avid local recfisher Curt McCartney has caught and tagged more than 100 barramundi in the Lake and says the big, fat, bronze monsters are often not difficult to find, but can provide a challenge to entice as they’re all so well fed on the lake’s abundant supply of bait fish!

Check out these sounder images showing barramundi schools hanging just off the bottom.  If that doesn’t get barra nuts’ casting arms twitching – we don’t know what will!

You can check an article in The West about Curt cracking 100 tagged barra and the great fishing on offer within the lake here

STOP PRESS! Check out this 1.3 metre barra caught from the lake by barra enthusiast Curt McCartney after this article was originally published! This is just more proof that the barra stocking program is really delivering the goods.

What a monster of a barramundi caught by Curt McCartney, 1.3m of solid Kununurra barra, you beauty!

Tagged Barra Caught Seven Years After Original Release in Roebuck Bay

A recent capture of a tagged barra in Dampier Creek near Broome has shown stocking programs can and do pay long-term fishing dividends.

Barramundi being released back in 2012

Steve Chambers from Tackle World Broome recently reported one of his customers had caught a 76cm-long tagged barramundi in Dampier Creek.

The barra was later identified as a stocked fish from a batch of 1,000 barra released in Dampier Creek, Roebuck Bay in 2012 – as part of a stocking program funded by one of our Community Grants – click here for more info about community grants.

At the time of its release on 16 August 2012,  the fish – ‘barra no.1873’ – measured 39.5cm.

It’s great to see this fish, reared by the Broome Aquaculture Centre of Kimberley TAFE, being caught and showing that the released fish are still out there and continuing to provide fishing experiences.

The fish, before their release, were screened for their high health status and were expected to have a great survival rate.

While the fish appears to have been relatively slow-growing, the recapture reflects how much of a long-term investment stocked fish like these are providing benefits to the fishing community a number of years later.

Barramundi being released back in 2012

More Barra Stocked into Lake Kununurra

When barramundi were first stocked into Lake Kununurra in 2013, not many people imagined the quality of fishing that the lake would produce in such a short amount of time.

Hon. Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly, Recfishwest CEO and North Regional TAFE Portfolio Manager Jeff Cooper at the stocking event today. Photo credit: ABC Kimberley

The abundance of baitfish and lack of predators within Lake Kununurra saw barramundi reaching one metre in length within three years of age! Any barramundi over one metre is a phenomenal fish and a bucket list target for many fishers.

Lake Kununurra is evolving into a sensational destination for anglers to chase their first barra and is a bona fide big-barra waterway that continues to produce trophy sized fish.

The stocking of Lake Kununurra has forged the waterway into perhaps WA’s best barramundi fishery. Over 650,000 barramundi fingerlings have been stocked since the project was announced back in 2012.

We’re pleased to report that over 100,000 more barramundi fingerlings have been stocked into Lake Kununurra this year, including many at today’s stocking event. This year’s stocking was funded through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, adding to the number of great projects funded using recreational fishing licence money. Read what the Fisheries Minister had to say about today’s stocking here.

Over 650,000 barramundi fingerlings have been stocked since the project was announced back in 2012

As planned, Lake Kununurra is now regarded as a world class trophy barramundi fishery (plus there are no saltwater crocs or huge Kimberley tides to deal with). If these monsters continue to grow as expected it won’t be long before the Lake could hold Australia’s biggest barra. If you want to keep up to date with the latest catches, check out Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking Group on Facebook.

If you ever find yourself lucky enough to explore the Kimberley, ensure you visit Kununurra and test your luck tracking down an iconic barramundi on the lake’s calm protected waters. Catching a big barra is a quintessential Kimberly experience and Lake Kununurra is now one of the best places to do it!

Visitors and locals are reporting fantastic catches coming from the lake! Photo credit: Northbound Charters
As planned, Lake Kununurra is now regarded as a world class trophy barramundi fishery. Photo credit: Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking Group.

WA Wilderness Fishing Location Producing Monsters

Here’s what we sent our members last week in our Members First Email.


Every now and then, things go exactly according to plan!

Stocking Barramundi into Lake Kununurra has been one of those times and we wanted to give you an update.

Many fishers in the Kimberley community had long held visions of catching world class Barramundi on the doorstep of town. Since the construction of the first stage of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme in 1963, Barramundi had been prevented from migrating further upstream than the Ord River Diversion Dam. An opportunity was born from this challenge – one that would bring monster fish back to local waters.

In 2013, a fish stocking project saw over 300,000 Barramundi fingerlings (7cm-10cm long) released into Lake Kununurra. Since then a further 200,000 Barramundi have been stocked, with thousands more still to come.

The result can only be described as spectacular! Fish funded from your licence money have showed growth rates never seen before in the East Kimberley, with most fish now being caught over the fabled ‘metre mark.’

We reported back in April 2015 of stocked fish being caught at 45cm-60cm.

We are pleased to report that the quality of fishing has continued with local fisher Brad Pasfield’s recent monster Barra (as pictured below). Brad’s father Dick Pasfield has worked tirelessly for many years to ensure the vision of trophy Barramundi in Lake Kununurra was realised, and we are pleased to see this vision paying dividends for both the local community and visiting fishers.

As planned, Lake Kununurra is now regarded as a world class trophy Barramundi fishery (plus there’s no saltwater crocs or huge Kimberley

tides to deal with). If these monsters continue to grow as expected it won’t be long before the Lake could hold Australia’s biggest Barra. If you want to keep up to date with the latest catches, check out Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking Group on Facebook.

I had the opportunity to fish up on Lake Kununurra last year with my old mate Dick Pasfield who wanted me to come up and see what he has to live with every day. Here’s the result:

If a trophy Barra is on your bucket list, make sure you visit Lake Kununurra!

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