Saratoga are Australian native fresh water fish that provide great sport fishing but very poor eating (Photo: Viktor Kravtchenko)

June 16, 2016

A joint project between the Boondooma Dam Stocking Group and the Kingaroy Sportfishing Club has stocked Boondooma Dam with 72 healthy adult Saratoga, which will provide great sport fishing along with remarkably poor eating.

With its prehistoric looks and aerial antics when hooked, the Saratoga is regarded as one of inland Australia’s greatest sport fish.

And although there has been the odd capture in Boondooma Dam, people wanting to target these fish usually need to travel outside the South Burnett.

The stocking group started the Saratoga project to try to establish a breeding program in local impoundments, and on May 28 volunteers from the two clubs went to Cania Dam in the North Burnett to collect the 250mm to 550mm fish.

Since the safety and general wellbeing of the Saratoga was paramount, Hanwood Fish Hatchery travelled from Murgon to transport the fish back in their purpose-built trailer.

The Cania Fish Stocking Group supplied the adult fish, which have a much greater chance of survival, while all permits for their stocking, capture, transport and release were obtained by the Boondooma Dam Stocking Group.

Due to their unusual and distinctive appearance, demand for Saratoga is high and the price for fingerlings is much higher than other species.

Much of the funding to stock these iconic species comes from money raised by volunteer organisations.

Kingaroy Sportfishing Club President Shaun Manthey said the group’s members were proud to provide the funds for the transfer. The club conducted a tagging and capture recording event at Borumba Dam near Gympie to raise the money.

“The Kingaroy Sportfishing Club has been supporting local stocking activities and groups for over 30 years,” Shaun said.

“Our members feel lucky to have such wonderful facilities right on their doorstep, and we would like to congratulate Terry and his committee on the success of relocating the Saratoga to Boondooma”.

Stocking Group Secretary Terry Allwood said Saratoga have size and bag limits, but very poor eating qualities.

“We are going to encourage all anglers who successfully get one to the net to release the fish carefully,” he said.

“There are plenty of other fish available, with 173,000 Golden Perch and 95,000 Australian Bass stocked last calendar year,” he said.

Terry said it is still too soon to predict the impact that will be felt at Boondooma Dam by recent changes to the Stocked Impoundment Scheme.

The scheme currently contributes about 65 per cent of the stocking funds.

The remainder is raised from the annual Boondooma Dam Yellowbelly Fishing Competition, which will be held again on February 11-12.

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To learn more about stocking or fishing in the South Burnett or to become involved, you can contact both clubs via their Facebook pages.

The Kingaroy Sportfishing Club offers its members an opportunity for mateship, education and skills development in a family friendly environment.

New members can join now and get 13 months membership for the price of 12.

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