As a kayak destination, Burrinjuck was low on my list of potential hotspots, but that changed in 2015 after the inaugural Greg Whitehead Memorial Challenge. During the challenge, I witnessed several anglers catch monster fish from their yaks including the 100cm winning fish. Since then, I’ve been a frequent visitor to the dam and caught some great fish. It’s still a bit of a sleeper as far as kayak fishing goes, but that’s changing.
Lake Burrinjuck is located about 40 minutes from Canberra and 30 minutes from Yass. Although it seems quite isolated, the facilities at the Burrinjuck State Waters Caravan Park are very good, with camping and cabins available, barbeque facilities and a small general store.
I recommend launching your kayak from the boat ramp here, as the better kayak fishing is only a short paddle away.
Lake Burrinjuck holds healthy populations of Murray cod, golden perch and redfin along with huge numbers of carp. I’m always amazed at the size of the fish that come out of the snags. It means the waterway is very healthy with plenty of food available to both yellas and greenfish.
When targeting yellowbelly, I like to wait until the dam has had a good dump of rain and then target areas that have recently flooded with Jackall TN50s and 60s, along with soft plastics like Squidgy Wrigglers in 65 or 80mm. These newly flooded areas will be covered in weed, so it pays to use a lure which can be retrieved effectively over the top of the weed (like a lipless crankbait) or fished right through the middle of grasses (like a plastic). If fishing the edge of a flooded bank, at the edge of a drop-off, I like to use an Ecogear ZX Blade. Slowly winding these lures back to your position can get the yellas to strike.
Cod are a different proposition. The bigger specimens hold in both shallow and deeper snags including timber and large boulders. Spinnerbaits slow rolled along the length of larger snags is a great way to target larger fish but Jackall Doozers retrieved quickly off the edge of a snag can also produce results. Deep divers like Predatek Boomerangs cranked into the heart of a snag is a risky approach but can yield results.
Size up your lure when targeting big yellas. If you find that a lipless crankbait size 60mm isn’t working, try a bigger size. These lures work well and will catch cod and yellas, but are particularly effective on the larger goldens. Peacock is my favourite colour, but bone is another good choice.
Burrinjuck is an imposing waterway. A kayak angler can easily lose a day’s fishing just looking for a decent snag. If launching from the caravan park, the lake seems to stretch for kilometres.
I keep it very simple and focus my attentions on two areas, both of which are easily covered in a full day of fishing and provide me with flood-covered water along with deeper snags.
First, follow the bank from the boat ramp up towards the dam wall and turn right once you hit the entrance to Barren Jack Creek. Here is a wonderful section of the lake that features snags, deep water and some really exciting yellowbelly fishing. Try every snag here, even the most unlikely bush. Some huge cod have been taken in this area.
Troll your way back to the boat ramp, but this time head towards Carrolls Creek. There are plenty of big redfin holding along the banks as you move up this area. Yellowbelly follow these schools of fish looking for an easy meal. There’s also some significant timber here that holds good numbers of large cod.
The weather in and around Burrinjuck can change the waterway in an instant. One minute the water is calm and the next it’s white capping. It’s therefore imperative that you have all the necessary safety gear along with a larger kayak.
I use a Native Slayer Propel 13, which provides excellent stability in the water. It’s pedal powered and cruises nicely even in rough chop. A pedal-powered yak like a Native or Hobie is ideal for Burrinjuck especially if facing a long trip back to the boat ramp.
During cod close, I take two rods: a Team Daiwa X 1-3kg stick coupled with a Daiwa Freams 2004 spooled with 6lb braid and 6lb leader, and a Daiwa Harrier 2-5kg rod matched with a Daiwa Pixy spooled with 8lb and 10lb leader. I use the light rod for small plastics and the heavy rod for vibes and small divers.
Once cod season resumes, I keep the Harrier for yellas, but ditch the 1-3kg stick and instead switch to a Daiwa Tatula 100H, coupled with a Daiwa Air Edge heavy rod. I use this to cast big soft plastics, spinnerbaits and massive vibes into cover when chasing large Murray cod. To land the bigger specimens, 30lb braid and 40lb leader are often needed, especially kayak fishing.
Burrinjuck can seem daunting but by breaking it up into two sections – Carrolls Creek and Barren Jack Creek – it becomes much simpler and is easily achievable in a day or two. It holds big cod, huge yellas and hard fighting reddies. Although the weather can be fierce, the amazing fishing makes it an absolute must for the kayak angler.
A decent yak like this Hobie is a must when fishing Burrinjuck.
Burrinjuck holds some exceptional fish very close to the boat ramp as Ryan Osman proved.
Codey Flack caught this great yella casting around snags at the entrance to Barren Jack Creek.
Rigging up for a morning session at Carrolls Creek.
Ryan Osman caught this 100cm specimen from his Hobie during the 2015 Greg Whitehead Challenge.
The yellas move onto newly flooded areas after rain.
Trolling the area from Barren Jack Creek back to the boat ramp can produce some great yellowbelly fishing.Reads: 793