Go Fishing - Burrendong Dam

Angler with fishLocated 20km east of Wellington in the New South Wales central-west, Burrendong Dam was constructed at the junction of the Cudgegong and Macquarie rivers for irrigation, flood mitigation, town water supply and power generation. Completed in 1967, the Burrendong Dam wall is 78 m high and is 1,116 m long. Burrendong Dam is over 57 m deep at its deepest point and when full is 344 m above sea level. With a surface area of over 7,200 hectares, it has a capacity of 1,188 Gigalitres (47,500 Olympic sized swimming pools) and sits within a significant catchment area of 13,900 km2 .

In its early days Burrendong Dam was renowned as one of the best spots to catch the introduced European perch, known by most anglers as redfin. Jigging with bobbers, such as the favoured Baltic Minnow, it wasn’t uncommon for a day’s catch to be in the hundreds. As the dam aged and native fish stocking programs commenced; the redfin thinned and the numbers of Murray cod, and golden perch increased. Eel-tailed catfish and silver perch have also become a common catch for anglers throughout the years. With the introduction of European carp the density of fish species again changed, and carp extended their range into the rivers and creeks that feed Burrendong, creating turbidity in the once clear waters of the dam.

Today the main target species are Murray cod, golden perch and eel-tailed catfish along with the favoured sight fishing of European carp. Silver perch and redfin are less common these days and usually caught while targeting other species. Burrendong’s main fish structures are the immense numbers of drowned trees that line the old riverbeds. It’s in these trees that anglers target golden perch, which often school in large numbers. Burrendong Dam has three main areas for access: Lake Burrendong State Park in the main basin is the most popular. It has all the facilities anyone would need; including lakeside cabins or even a houseboat. Water slides, swimming areas and playgrounds will keep the kids happy during the warmer months. A well-stocked kiosk which also sells fuel ensures you will have everything at hand for an extended stay.

Some of the best camping can be found at the camping site known as “Eagle Beagle” where the rocky shoreline offers up some of the best sections for bank fishing. Shrimp and yabbys can be caught here and when used as live bait often return a good catch. In the Macquarie River arm of the dam, you will find Mookerawa Waters Park. This park is very popular with both campers and boaters, especially in spring when the native fish school up prior to moving up into the rivers for spawning. There is a forest of dead timber providing excellent habitat through this narrow section. There is ample room for boats with over 30km of water upstream to where the Macquarie River enters the dam when full. The region has a rich history of gold mining and there are reminders everywhere of the fevered activity of yesteryear. There are remnants of bucket dredges which can be seen, abandoned when the gold ran out.

The new gold for anglers is the immense numbers of both green and gold that can be found in this arm, namely the Murray cod and golden perch. Another accommodation location is Cudgegong River Holiday Park. As the name suggests, this park is found in the upper Cudgegong River arm. The fishing here is the same as for Mookerawa Waters Park where fish will move through this area to spawn in spring and summer often schooling before moving up into the rivers and creeks above. Inside tip: Meroo Creek is a favoured fishing spot.

This Burrendong Dam Go Fishing guide is part of a series of guides to popular locations in NSW. Keep an eye out for our range of location guides to salt and freshwater fishing locations as we’re constantly adding new spots and updating existing guides


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