Subject: Recent Cooper Creek visit
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2000 08:26:46 +0930
I have just returned from a trip up to Innaminka in the State's far north. Apart from having wanted to go there for some time, recent reports had the place a alive with fish and yabbies. I offer this short report for your fishSA page.
Saturday, pre-trip. Off to Yundi (near Mt Compass) to dig some tiger worms at a dairy. These are dynamite bait for the River Murray, so why not for Cooper Creek? Bucket of cow manure with worms collected in an hour.
Thursday afternoon. We're off. Short 4.5 hour drive up to Hawker to stay in a cabin overnight. Recharge the fridge. Friday. Up at 6am and off on the Strezlecki track to Innaminka. For those who have not been there before, this is like a 5 lane highway in dirt track terms. Able to sit on or around 100kph without trouble, except when encountering road trains and other oncoming traffic. Arrived Cooper Creek around 4pm. Dusty and dry and about 35 degrees C.
Into the Innaminka pub for a quick beer and then out to Cullyamurra waterhole (20 kms). Set up camp and wet line for the first time. First mistake... worms do not survive in cow poo when it gets hot. Managed to find one or two and got immediate results. Nev (mate) caught a small catfish immediately. I had a few bites, but the bait was off. Put the shrimp net in and got two or three small ones.
Friday. Into Innaminka (after walking out to the local Aboriginal rock carvings thought to be about 40,000 years old) for frozen green prawns as there were no yabbies or shrimp in the nets overnight. Had a shower and rink and then back out to the waterhole. Immediate success with Nev landing a nice Barcoo Grunter. These fish are a bit like a Callop but a little more silver with smaller mouths. They bite well and give a reasonable fight. We ended up catching (and releasing all but 6) Callop (Yellow Belly), Grunter and catfish. Cleaned and filleted the fish and cooked them in light flour and oil. Plenty of lemon and salt (as I am used to Murray fish). Surprise, they are much cleaner and better tasting than Murray fish. Boy have we mucked that waterhole up... hopefully one day we'll get it back to the old time and have clear water in the river again.
The bottom line on fishing at Cooper Creek is that there are plenty of fish, but little bait (when we were there). You get the stories of how great the yabbies were a week or two ago, but we didn't see one. Green prawns are good bait, I got a 2.5Kg Callop on a piece of peeled prawn, and the store at Innaminka has tons of it.
This is an amazing place out in the outback, miles from nowhere in the middle of a desert. A great place to get away from it all, put your feet up and enjoy a cold beer while catching nice fish. I recommend it to anyone as a great form of relaxation.
As a footnote, we called in at the Gammon Ranges on our way back home for a few nights. Walked into Weetootla Gorge to the springs and bathed with the endangered Purple-spotted Gudgeon, saw lots of them. The water there is crystal clear. Another great place to go see the real SA.
Next trip... December on the West Coast. Can't wait.
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