CANIA DAM KAFUFFLE
Gary "Fitzy" Fitzgerald
There has been some press of late about the brilliant fishery that exists at Cania Dam in central Qld. Superb fishing opportunities combined with the scenic beauty of sheer granite cliffs that surround this lake makes this one of the most popular fishing destinations for the budding freshwater angler. Boasted to now be the best freshwater flyfishing impoundment in the state, due mainly to the large population of saratoga, bass, golden perch and silver perch only to eager to take a variety of lures or flies, the same fishery is now under threat.
The owners of the dam, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have decided to go ahead with the planned late winter release of 7500 megalitres of water to replenish the aquifers further down along Three Moon Creek. This will have the effect of taking the lakes water level from 15% down to just 7%. Without any replenishing rains, there is no guarantee that DNR will not release the remaining water for local irrigators during the long summer months ahead. The dead storage level for this impoundment is 1% meaning that DNR will lower the water down to this level when the local farmers cry out for more.
Now we need to realize that it has taken some 15 years to get Cania, and many similar Qld dams, to the fishing level that they are now in. The local fish stocking group can very well see many years of hard work and sweat going down the drain, pardon the pun. If Cania is emptied then it may well take another 15 years to get it back to the fishing level it now enjoys. The history of DNR in regard to Qld's fish stocking groups and their concerns has been poor to say the least and this latest bungle on their behalf is just another chapter in what seems to turning into an epic novel. It was suggested by one DNR representative that if fish stocking groups and anglers continue to object to the emptying of impoundments, they may well take steps to stop any further stocking of impoundment under their control.
Comments like this may be reminiscent of days gone by in some countries with the orator having the back up of armed thugs and bully boys, but they are hardly the sort of thing one would expect from a representative of a democratically elected government in Australia. These impoundments were funded by, and are owned by the tax payers of Qld and they have a right to gain access to these waters for recreational use, fish stocking and fishing included. It seems that after copping a bloodied nose over similar issues in the past, Qld's DNR are preparing to draw a line in the sand and make a stand against anglers. If a battle is what they want, then I would advise the DNR to dig very deep trenches instead of lines in the sand as I reckon they could be a fair chance of getting one. Someone once coined the term "Roll the dice and take your chances" and I would say this is a fair term to relay to the bean counters with a bad attitude to angling in Queensland.
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