IT WAS all hands on deck last Monday at Monduran Dam for the release of Barramundi finglerlings.
Monduran Anglers and Stocking Association, Tackleworld Bundaberg, Sponsor a Barra and even a blind dachshund named Bronson were among those who hit the water to help repopulate the dam.
MASA president John Finlay was one of the men who started releasing fingerlings in Monduran Dam 22 years ago and plans to keep the tradition going.
"The contributing factors are SIPS (Stocked Impoundment Permit) and money raised by the fishing comp,” he said.
"The permit fees depend on how many fingerlings we can put in the dam.
"We put about 45,000 fish in on Monday, which is about 51kg, with more to come in a month.”
Mr Finlay said when they started stocking the dam they were met with a lot of flak because people thought they were just feeding the catfish.
"We lived through that, told them to get stuffed and it worked,” he said.
"Every barra and bass that's in here, we put here.”
Stocking the dam is vital in order to keep the dam's barramundi population flourishing as they can't breed in fresh water.
"All the barramundi fish are male until about 80-90cm then they turn into females,” Mr Finlay said.
"Once that happens they can't breed in here, they have to be in salt water to spawn.
"So once they get to that size they get an inclination to go with the moving water and go over the wall to spawn, but obviously can't get back in.”
The NewsMail tagged along with the Tackleworld crew as they released some of fingerlings in Rainforest Bay.
Tackleworld Bundaberg owner Lenore Hanks said while it was her first time setting the baby barra loose, it wouldn't be the last.
"Not a lot of people know that the fingerlings have to be raised and put into the dam,” she said.
"It's good to raise awareness and to help the community by lending a hand to release them.”
Tackleworld's Dale Smith has been part of the releases since 2004 - back when the dam was only at 4%.
"Monduran Dam used to be one of the best dams to fish barramundi in Australia from about 2006-2008, before the floods,” he said.
"That's why it's important that we keep releasing the fingerlings.
"It would be great to get Monduran back to number one.”
The fingerlings were about 50mm in size and were brought down from a Gladstone hatchery.
Most of the fish were released in Section B of the dam.