Once a year, the serene Lake Moondarra transforms from picturesque to packed-out as the Fishing Classic takes over the shoreline for three days of non-stop action.
Located 15km north of Cowboy Central, Mount Isa, cattle are swapped for cod as fishing enthusiasts crowd around the lake to hook a win with over 20 categories of hardcore fishing competition.
If you’re not casting your line into the competition, fill your weekend up to the bream (or should that read brim) with plenty of entertainment on tap.
From the Dragon Boat Regatta to yabby races, the festival is a never-ending barrel of fun.
Get your rod and reel ready, because here are nine things you need to know about the Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic.
1. The kids can also show off their fishing skills
Adults don’t have all the fun at this fishing competition.
With both junior and senior weighting categories, the competition encourages anyone and everyone who loves fishing to snag the biggest fish of the bunch.
The Junior Casting Competition allows the little ones to have their time in the spotlight and a chance to flaunt their fishing techniques.
2. It’s not just for the lone anglers
Fishing might normally be a solitary activity, but not at Lake Moondarra.
Although it’s every angler for him/herself in the fishing comp itself, there’s a competition of different kind that requires all hands on deck.
The Commerce North West Dragon Boat Regatta includes colour-coordinated teams battling it out in racing canoes disguised as you guessed it, bright and colourful dragons.
No skills are required for this light-hearted, fun challenge, where laughter runs amok by both competitors and audience members as teams put on a show in an attempt to get their DIY Dragons over the finish line.
3. There’re competitions on land as well as in the water
If you prefer to feel the dirt under your feet rather than the sway of the water, there’s a few events on dry land too.
Swap dragon boats for yabbies and get your nippers on a winner at the Malouf Holden Yabby Races.
Feel like being active? Grab a few mates and jump into victory at the Mak Diesel and Earth Moving Volleyball Competition.
4. There’s buckets of entertainment
For those not competing, there’s plenty to see and do too.
Attend a trade exhibit, hook in to a tasty feed at one of the food and drink stalls, or sink a few bevvies at the bar while listening to a live band.
The Mount Isa Council Children’s Entertainment Arena has you covered when it comes to keeping the little ones occupied, with fun activities and shows on rotation.
Your jaw will meet the floor when watching the Malouf Holden Fireworks Spectacular, with the display shooting up into the star-studded sky, reflecting sparkling colours over the lake.
5. Competitors can stay close to the action
Don’t waste valuable fishing time travelling to and from Mount Isa each day of the competition – stay #lakeside.
All competitors in the classic are welcome to camp on site, opening up the comp to 24-hour fishing, so you can cast to your heart’s content – day, night, or both!
6. There are special rules for the competition
To ramp up the action for the anglers, exceptions to regular fishing laws are made for the competition.
The usual rule of one Barramundi has been raised to three, to level with all other species limits and a bag limit of 18 applies. The legal sizing restrictions still apply for the competition.
Night fishing on the Friday and Saturday is allowed, stretching the competition to a whopping 46 hour feat!
7. You could bag a $50,000 prize
Hold onto your rod folks, because there’s a Barra on the loose and it’s got a finder’s reward of $50,000!
Bessie the Barra has been tagged and her number recorded, with the hope of being bagged by one lucky angler.
Over the past five years, no competitor has snagged Bessie, making her the most sought after Barramundi in the country.
Prestigious trophies and other cash prizes are up for grabs across the competition alongside the $50,000 prize.
8. The classic gives back to the fishing community
The Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic not only provides three days of fishing fun, but also raises important funds for the restocking of local impoundments with native fish species to ensure both locals and visitors can enjoy fishing in the region.
9. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore Mount Isa
Not up for camping lakeside? Base yourself in Mount Isa for your stay.
Extend your stay and explore the town with these Mount Isa highlights:
- Follow the cowboy hall of fame down the main street and learn about the names that have made cowboy history.
- Dig deep into the town’s mining heritage at Hard Times Underground Mine Tour as you descend 20 feet into a network of replica mine tunnels.
- Head up Hilary Street to the City Lookout and treat yourself to panoramic views of the inland city.
- Venture north west and find paradise at Adels Grove