Mount Isa Mines built Lake Moondarra in 1958 on the West Leichhardt River. The dam has a storage capacity of 106,000 Ml a catchment of 1140km2 and a surface area of 23.75km2.
The lake is used for various recreational activities such as fishing, canoeing, sailing, boating, skiing, swimming and picnics. The lake is also the main source of freshwater for Mount Isa. A lagoon was built to naturally settle out and filter particles before pumping to the terminal reservoir.
Lake Moondarra is the main focus for fish stocking in the Mount Isa region. This was the initial impoundment to be stocked with fingerlings by the group.
Inset images show the spillway at Lake Moondarra. During flood events barramundi can escape over the spillway and down the Leichardt River to Lake Julius. Large Barramundi have been captured in and below Lake Julius by local fishermen. Potential exists for Barramundi from Lake Moondarra to make their way to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The possibility of constructing a barrier net before the spillway (as is used at Lake Tinaroo) has been debated. However, this course of action is not permitted by the Department of Natural Resources due to risks associated with debris during flood events. Qld Fisheries has advised that during each flood event, approximately 80% of the mature Barramundi could move from Moondarra down river to Lake Julius and beyond.
The East Leichhardt dam is additionally identified on the MIFSG Stocking Management Plan; stocked with both Sooty Grunter and Barramundi. Currently East Leichardt Dam is showing signs of a self-sustaining Sooty Grunter population.
In addition to re-stocking efforts MIFSG promotes the tagging and reporting of fish caught and released in local impoundments. This data delivers information that is used in the Stocking Management Plan to better manage the fishery and determine any movement of stocked fish.
Images of Lake Moondarra spillway at maximum capacity and in flood.