Daly River 2018

And jacks, salmon, jewfish - tell us how you went. NT, FNQ and Norwest.
wonderwobler
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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by wonderwobler » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:01 pm

My island home is expanding, the river behind me seems to be about as wide as the river in front, only a kilometre each or there about and pumping.
Cabin fever is a real thing. I’m thinking it’s behind this thread, only cure is to get out and about.

A boat or two are a handy thing here, small flat bottom craft can get you too places of interest in the flooded back country, if you know your country its reasonably safe navigating at the same time providing a stimulus, you know, the fight or flight thing.

Not many animals get seriously stranded it seems, the higher ground refuge is well populated with all creatures great and small, got told a while back of a reliable sighting of a few donkeys in the area, be a good thing if our paths crossed. Buff have become fairly common these past few years all through the area, floods seem to have no impact on them.

Another good thing about floods is the water blasting capabilities of the river. My pontoon and boats get quite a bit of scale and growth below the plimsoll, post flood they are as clean as a BB. The turbidity is grit blasting so effectively that I experimented by chaining a pair of rusty trailer springs and axle to a rock around September and got them back mid-May the springs looked near new and the axle was so deeply pitted it become scrap.

Have to give the bigger boat a run tomorrow, the battery could use a tickle after the bilge pumps got a good workout, I don’t feel so feverish now, now the next fever is one to anticipate.



wonderwobler
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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by wonderwobler » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:13 pm

Navigation is not restricted to the river channel in the current conditions, slipping onto the plains for a look is irresistible and sometimes rewarding.

The river flow has slowed a little but is still pushing the boat along at around 9 kph when drifting, some of the eddies on the bends are like whirlpools that shove the hull around and cause a little cavitation. The flotsam and jetsam have all but finished for now, it will start to appear again when the river gets to around 10m.

I’m always fascinated with the view around the country from this river height in the boat, it’s so different from being 14m lower in the ditch looking at a tree line and river bank.

Most noticeable thing is the clarity of water over the plains, many times the river flood has originated from rain far upstream and made its way down hill back flooding the lower plains with dirty turbid water, not sure if the biology of the system likes that or not, but I prefer clean water runoff to fish in. The plains are so full from the record rain fall that the turbid water of the river hardly penetrates the plains.

Cherabin of a size that make them keepers seem to be a little scarce, I was hoping to have an entree’ with the fresh fillet for dinner, I never have been much of a prawn trapper.

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by nomad » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:01 pm

Hi WW
dont suppose you have any inside info when it will reopen to us plebs?

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by wonderwobler » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:06 am

I’m just an ordinary bloke, who lives on the river bank at times leading an extraordinary life, this existence is not u topic and like most things in life there is a price to pay.

The river dominates that existence. Ask those that were evacuated if they feel privileged, ask those who live on the river and stay there to defend their property and experience the stress and trauma of the damage and mess caused by the flood if they feel privileged.

These people do not consider those who don’t live here as plebs, we consider them as tourists.

Recovering from these events takes time and a significant effort that can and does take months to achieve, then there are the costs that have lots of zero’s in the bill.

I don’t expect access for tourists to be a priority at the moment, the roads are closed and will be damaged, the heavy machines used to repair roads have to wait for the ground to dry a bit, the reasons for patience are numerous and you should be able to figure that out.

There are boats accessing the lower river reaches from Channel Point and Dundee, not easy and not everyone can do that. Driving on a good road, launching from a safe boat ramp and sleeping in air-conditioned comfort is much preferred by tourists.

I have air conditioning and none of the other things, indeed the tourists will be driving around here months before I can.

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by wazdog » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:07 pm

Thanks again for the updated WW.
Nomad, there are 2 chances of us PLEBS getting access to the public boat ramp for ages buddy, there is possibly more rain coming so the only way to access the river will be from the crossing when the roads open, that will only be a short window as its quite difficult to launch and retrieve on the river bed when the river recedes. It will be ok when the river is up on the bitumen on the bend as you enter the river bed. Im sure there will be guys dead keen to fish it and will. Just make sure u have a winch and a damn long cable . The only other way to access is if you are lucky enough to be living at Channel point because if you don't live there the only other way is to fly into channel point and launch from there as the road to channel point is closed too. Dundee if you want to travel quite a distance. PS you better remember that there also a big bridge that will be in the way up until about 11.oomtrs in think.. so be careful travelling at night.

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by wonderwobler » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:26 pm

Talking to others who live on the river the subject of the effect of tides during the flood comes up, some think that the tide has an effect, some don’t.

Watching the ebb and flow of the river both rising and falling there is a distinct pattern of water pulse. At the moment with the river slowly falling it sounds like a beach with waves gently breaking on the shore. Every 15 or so seconds there is a larger pulse of water that I can hear and see as it pushes against the melaleucas, a bit like the every seventh wave pattern surfers experience.

During this flood we also had very large spring tides, it’s widely known that the tide affects the rate of water flow and depth of the non-flooding river, the neap tides drain the river for long periods and produce the shallowest depths while the springs have the opposite effects.

In the scheme of things the river is a small freshwater stream compared to the Timor sea, so it stands to reason that the tides are doing what they do, we just can’t see it happen when the river is this high. With the ability to monitor the river height gauges it becomes apparent that the tide is affecting the flow and height, particularly during the falling river stages. The affect will become visible soon if further widespread rain doesn’t happen. The coming neaps are long and will hasten the drainage.

Meanwhile I had a look around some spots close to home, a hole that I know had 27m of water over it, nothing on the sounder as was expected, that won’t happen until later on when the water is skinnier, and on the right tide, it’s just interesting to check out.

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by wonderwobler » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:43 pm

River height is slowly decreasing, for now. If the monsoon doesn’t return soon the river conditions will quickly change into what we refer to as the start of the river rage. Every man and his dog will want access to the river, regardless of road conditions or launching options.

A day trip from Darwin or Katherine to the river is a 450k + drive, some of that trip on the infamous Dorat Rd. A narrow and uneven surface that many sideswiping accidents have happened on. Speed and refusal to put the left side wheels off the bitumen lest a stone may chip a pretty picture on a boat is a common occurrence, never mind any other vehicles, aside from trucks.

Then it’s all day in the boat, going hard and looking for the hot bite, of course the fish don’t feed all day and the areas that are producing fish vary immensely based on the river height and tidal influence.
In these conditions there often is only a couple of creeks or bank sections at any given time that have feeding fish, and everyone wants to fish those places, after all the preparation and travelling and cost they want to make it worthwhile, regardless of available space.

Frustration sometimes sets in and can be garnished with a sense of entitlement. Witnessing someone else catching fish is not as satisfying as all those fishing programmes on TV would like us to believe. These things can lead to desperation to catch a fish, and create friction amongst others who are there for the same reason.

Fishing is meant to be fun and relaxing, not combat with other anglers, the unwritten rule is don’t spoil someone’s fishing by your actions. If you can’t accept that basic courtesy perhaps some other hobby or pastime would suit you better.

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by Edo » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:30 pm

Well said....

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by NinjaFish » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:33 pm

:applause: Very well said. I've seen that all over the place and general avoid the peak weeks if I can.

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by nomad » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:43 pm

WW you sure hit the nail on the head. Fishing (or lure washing as I callit) is supposed to be fun

What really worries me are those who drive down, fish all day and drive back and expect to not get exhausted.
Nothing wrong with pulling over for a sleep or get others to share the drive

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by wazdog » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:43 pm

ww, we have all experienced other fishos doing the wrong thing mate.

I have been flicking a creek mouth(Elizabeth to be precise) and another boat has just pulled up right in my cast zone, well what do you think I said. Cant repeat it here online, and by the way he told me to turn my music off. well that was it, he copped a mouth full and I left because I was so p...ed off!!!

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by wonderwobler » Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:23 pm

As the river recedes a number of things start to happen.

The logs, sticks and stuff that was pushed into the tree tops of the riparian strip lining the river bank begin to get sucked back into the river flow, some of it gets hung up and becomes a curiosity during the dry season, large trees with other dead trees tangled in branches many meters above the water.

Foam or froth trails created by creeks and drains flowing back into the river always catch my attention, they can travel long distances from their origin in the current, but have led me to some memorable fishing.

White birds are another sign of things to come, they start to hunt the edge scattered out along the river at rock bars, gradually becoming concentrated at creeks and drains, unfortunately they eat frogs so have fallen victim to the toads and are nowhere near as numerous as in the past.

The river will begin to fall next week unless there is some wide spread rain in the catchment. If the rain doesn’t happen the run off fishing will be a fairly short burst.

In the past when the river has fallen after a fairly short flood period any further flooding doesn’t seem to produce the same quality fishing. My guess is that the food source living on the plains and in the creeks only happens once a season and the majority of it flushes out with the first significant drop.

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by wazdog » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:17 pm

Let's hope the rain comes again WW real soon

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by wonderwobler » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:21 pm

Statistics have become common place since the computer and internet era, there seems to be stats for anything you can think of, sometimes I think we were better of not knowing.

According to the current science the river needs to be at least 8m over the crossing to facilitate conditions suitable for the barra life cycle, the longer that river height is maintained the more productive the cycle is.

The following stats are my own observations based on the river gauge station at the police station from December up to today.
• 31 days over 8m
• 26 days over 10m
• 13 days over 12m
• 6 days over 14m

The rain event that caused the flooding of the lower river was much localised, the heavy rain did not fall in the upper catchments of the Fergusson, Edith, Cullen, Flora, King and Katherine rivers that form the greater part of the Daly River catchment.

A little known fact about the river is that 60% of its dry season flow comes from springs fed by the underground aquafers of the Ooloo and Tindal basins.

Make your own conclusions with this trivia, my thoughts are if the proper rain doesn’t return within 10 days or so I’ll be busy on the river…

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Re: Daly River 2018

Post by dannett » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:18 pm

Wonderwobbler you can see this in the satellite images, there is almost no water at the Daly and Katherine river junction but down at Clear creek it is an inland sea. In fact as Theo pointed out, it looks like the river has cut through the bank down near Clear Creek.

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