Waroona Dam aka Lake Navarino RIP

 It has been 10 years since I visited Waroona Dam 100 km south of Perth. A once beautiful and pristine agricultural water supply dam, originally famous for its trout but someone threw in a few "Reds" - The rest is history.  Last week my son and I visited with our newly purchased fishing Yak with assorted lures etc and a pair of rods.  Shock, horror and dismay... Apart from the dam being just about empty (probably 10% full with about 5 metres of water in the deepest part, the area "upstream" from the unpowered campsite 1km from where the bitumen ends after crossing the wall has been trashed.

Whilst I have no grudge or feelings about 4WDs and ORVs access to the non speedboat area from Scarp road has been crisscrossed by a myriad of tracks ploughed through the bush by 4WDs, signs knocked over and the entire area, churned up like a battle field in a war zone.  Scarp Road, a designated public access road has deep holes cut out by vehicles over a metre deep at the eastern end of the dam and should not be used by anyone who has not had considerable experience in "offroad driving" especially in a 2WD vehicle.  It is dangerous, in addition to holes, rock formations have been exposed which will rip the tyres of your car, and in places your sump, if you are not extremely careful.

In general the roads that are passable are in very poor condition, having not seen a grader for very long time (That's it they even have them any more!)

The damage to the bushland ajacent to the the SE area of the dam is so bad, the area should not be investigated unless you have a reliable GPS if you leave Scarp Road, which it is easy to do without knowing it as signs etc have been knocked down or removed.  There is now a network of tracks with huge cutaways, holes caused by 4WDs, many of these tracks are impassable to 2WD and many just go nowhere, dead ending or in a circle.  

Reading reports from the files of the Water Authority of WA and the Dept of Parks and Wildlife, this vandalism is rife throughout the SW at "unmanaged" dams. 

I have submitted a report to the appropriate Minister of the WA State Government, through a Parliamentary Secretary, airing my concern that a fatality or serious injury could occur along the upper sections of the Scarp road especially at night and if the drivers have been affected by "substances" the hazard is extreme.  (Let's face it, this is now common at places like this!)  

Taking young children paddling or swimming is not advisable, the waters edge is extremely muddy and soft and presents a life threatening situation.  The very minor disturbance of the water bottom is enough to render clouds of brown silt polluting the water. 

Fish??? We spend a while near the "unpowered camping" area - no sign of any activity nor fish, however the visibility in the water is very poor and lures disappear in just over a metres depth.  All the feeder streams have dried up. 

Conclusion:  For sale one brand new Yak - used once! :-(  Photo - Dream Kayak 3.5M 2.5 person.



 Watch this space.

Image Upload: 

jighead's picture

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Date Joined: 03/02/12


Sun, 2015-10-25 06:50

 I can't believe you made it back alive.

Jackalchub's picture

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 Wonder what his other 7

Fri, 2018-11-02 14:56

 Wonder what his other 7 posts were.. seriously though.. the redneck trail bike riders can get lost 

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Date Joined: 23/10/15


Sun, 2015-10-25 13:00

 I should have taken some photos of the "scenery", but my biggest concern was getting my car and trailer out of this "hell Hole" safely and in one piece.

My wife who comes from overseas got so upset and concerned on a couple of occasions she got out of the car and my son accompanied her, walking ahead whilst I could concentrate on handling the vehicle around a large rock in the middle of a track and again negotiating a huge hole in the middle of Scarp Rd.  The last thing on my mind was taking photos!   I am not sure if my son took any pictures on his mobile.  Will check with him.  The preceeding photo was taken by my wife after we had managed to completely circle the dam and return to just past the dam wall.  On our return back to civilisation, we pulled up on the side of Scarp road and had a snack and a cuppa.  That was not without incident when a trail bike (supposedly banned!) screamed past in a cloud of dust. (35km speed limit here - must be joking!)

Yes, we were lucky to get back without damage nor injury. Its going to be another 10 years B4 we go back there.

PS  My son advises he never took any photos, he was too busy trying the find the way back to Scarp Road with his GPS, which got us out.

Photos by Val.



 Watch this space.

opsrey's picture

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Date Joined: 05/10/07

Try further south.

Sun, 2015-10-25 11:47

 put your kayak in at Pemberton. Great scenery, plenty of big fish (mostly Reddies) and a nice place to visit.

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Date Joined: 23/10/15


Sun, 2015-10-25 12:52

 Yes great place. went down there regularly in the mid 80s with the WAATFA.  Nice swimming hole there too when its 40C in the bag. 


 Watch this space.

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Date Joined: 17/06/10

What a tragity

Sun, 2015-10-25 12:04

Tragically a once good area has been lost by the sounds of things. This used to be a great spot to do a bit of quiet relaxing and a bit of fishing.
Bloody mindless fools that do not see anything beautiful, just bush to flatten with the 4x4 .

Posts: 53

Date Joined: 18/03/12

Sad to read...

Sun, 2015-10-25 17:39

Saddened to read your account of vandalism and abuse at Lake Navarino, Dave.  I lived in Waroona back in '68 and '69... and fished the dam and nearby brooks several nights a week... and most weekends.  Jeez, I just realised that's nearly a half-century ago!

Back then there were no redfin.  Rainbows were mostly around a half kilo, but my PB was just over a kilo. I was spooled once, but suspect it was a snagged tortoise, as it just stayed deep and ran me out of line... .  I did hear that a three-kilo trout was discovered in a grate, but never saw anything that size during my two-year posting.

Must get down that way again, now I've brought my fly-fishing gear back from Canada.  Thanks for writing to the Minister on behalf of Aussie freshwater enthusiasts... .


Swompa's picture

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 They'll probably close the

Sun, 2015-10-25 19:04

 They'll probably close the gates and not let anyone in.



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Date Joined: 23/10/15

Comments all noted

Mon, 2015-10-26 18:11

 Hi Guys:  Thanks for comments.  Once I get any feedback from the appropriate Minister or the Water Authority I will post and update here.   But wheels do turn very slowly within the Political scene :)

Meanwhile we are going to enjoy the Canning Regional Park, locally, this weekend, I understand there are some worthwhile fish to be found between the Riverton Bridge and Kent Street Weir. 



 Watch this space.

devhay's picture

Posts: 318

Date Joined: 27/10/14

 Theres a few nice spots up

Tue, 2015-10-27 08:53

 Theres a few nice spots up through there, especially if you're on a kayak! 


Drinking Tins & Chasing Fins

lachieH's picture

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Wed, 2015-11-04 19:12



Fishing the swan for bream, it's just an obsession

LittleAndy's picture

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 Waroona Great place easy to

Mon, 2015-10-26 21:10

 Waroona Great place easy to get in & out must have A 4x4 tho & Do well on the redfin & You shouldnt Go scarp road go the main entance thats takes you to the camping Grounds 

little johnny's picture

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Date Joined: 04/12/11

Good fun for young guys

Mon, 2015-10-26 21:30

 Scarp road. Very very old way in. Fished there for 35 years my old man use to take me there. Still go there with my kids Full of Redfin . Some big ones at that. Odd trout. Scarp road is very ruff. Big wash aways and ruts mostly caused by natural elements.  Young guys in winter take this way in rather than main entrance. Call it a challenge . Better that than going to night clubs. Go to Brunswick . You would freak. 99 percent stick to tracks. I can see your point but scarp bad way in . Has been for a very  very long time.

Jackfrost80's picture

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I went there with my 4y old

Tue, 2015-10-27 10:20

I went there with my 4y old this time last year and had no problem getting my dinghy down to the water and caught a bunch of reddies. Camped in the resort and had a great time and planning on going again very soon.


If catching wrasse is cool, consider me Miles Davis

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Date Joined: 03/12/13

Its a shadow of what it was

Wed, 2015-10-28 20:54

Its a shadow of what it was back in the 70's and 80's but is still a nice place to go. The fertility of the dam has crashed and with it the food supply for the fish. Back in the good old days the banks were covered in lush pastures but now its a gravel pit. I can see the same thing happening to Harvey as time goes by, the lush pasture is already declining in some areas. Needs a good dose of fertiliser over the paddocks to keep them healthy.

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Date Joined: 23/10/15

Update December:

Fri, 2015-12-11 21:24

Hi I eventually received a reply from a Minister of the WA State Legislature which basically told me what I already knew that the Policing of the Dams is carried out by various Governmental Agencies etc.  But no indication the State Government was really interested, nor that any further action would be forthcoming.

So I wrote to the Divisional HQ of the Department of Parks and Wildlife, (DPAW) with whom I have had very good relationships over the years since they were originally known as CALM (Conservation and Land Management, when I was an active member of the RAOU.( Now known as Birds Australia).  I have recently received a very nice reply from the District Manager saying ATM the department is extremely busy committed to Bush Fire prevention and Management, however as soon as possible they will carry out an inspection of "Lake Navarino" (Waroona Dam) and instigate a works program to rectify any issues they find.  He thanked me for bringing this to his attention. 

Meanwhile until such works are carried out, I do recommend that anyone planning on visiting the dam to exercise extreme caution especially at the "head" of the dam and that portion of Scarp Road. Access is easily made near the "unpowered camp site" however caution needs to be taken due to the soft edges of the waterline, which is extremely low. 

Noted comment about the use of fertiliser.   I think that is one of the last things one should apply in the proximity of water supplies as it does cause extreme toxicity and algal blooms in many of our waterways, especially  in agricultural and metropolitan water run-offs.  That has been the main cause of the failure of the fishing scene in the Swan and Canning Rivers.  

The only way to repair natural bushland is to keep human activity away from the damaged areas.  Unfortunately the natural bush will degrade from periods of draught and that is something we cannot control other than to quarantine the affected areas.  But I do agree that fishing stocks have declined, but the main cause is due to lack of water in the dams which has left most dams mere shadows of what they were 10 to 15 years ago, resulting in Perth Metro now relying on bore and desalination plants to meet the ever increasing demand.

Fish require deep water holes that are not affected by surface temperatures, when dams dry out the water temperature rises and the oxygenation falls, as a result the whole ecological system breaks down.  However one has to also remember that these dams were not built for the purpose of providing fishing scenes for the general public.  The dams that supply water for domestic use are still maintained under a very strict regime.  Dams that supply water for agricultural purposes have a far lower quality control and access restrictions.  A certain amount of the content of all dams is also released to maintain a low salinity level which can rise during the summer months, this can greatly deplete the volume of water in many of the smaller dams. 

If anything further comes to hand I will post it, as and when it comes to hand.

May I wish all our readers a safe and Happy Christmas and Tight Lines for 2016

Dave Perth. 


 Watch this space.

Posts: 40

Date Joined: 10/02/14

keep trying.

Fri, 2015-12-11 14:15

that kayak can be used elsewhere, dont sell it just because of one lake. no one has mentioned harvey dam. you could have a go fishing there? kayak on wellington dam? swan river? so many places. id love to have one. was thinking of buying inflatable for xmas but need something that wife, dog, baby can fit on and cant afford it.


i understand what you are saying bout disrespect. unfortunately even australia is becoming smaller. more people = those places which were enjoyed by a few start to attract the ones that never used to go and have no respect. so many times seen drunk bogans throwing empty bottles in bush and driving like maniacs. not all 4wd people are like that. just a few rotten apples. wanted to say something once to a group of them but my wife stopped me and said what do you think 2 cars full of drunk idiots will say/do to you. unfortunately she was right. wouldve got my head kicked in for doing the right thing.


Give me a fish and I will eat for a day, teach me to fish and I will starve to death.

Posts: 8

Date Joined: 23/10/15

Re: Keep trying

Fri, 2015-12-11 21:20

 Don't worry the Yak is gonna be used as much as possible, even if its just paddling up the Canning River here.  That is a beaut place and the local Shire has really made efforts to enhance it and keep it that way.  Its not often you can step out of a shopping centre and walk a 100 metres to find yourself in pristine bushland and river.  Have just invested in a Watersnake 24lb electric motor and making a bracket for it..  Yeh... There always has to be a certain element in society that has the propensity to destroy things, unfortunately those people do not have any interest in preserving our heritage.  I certainly agree its better to observe than get your head kicked in, "Caution is the better part of Valour" 

Put away a little bit each week its surprising how quickly you can build up a few dollars.  Both myself and my son are pensioners.  I have been on DSP for 26 years (now aged pension) and my son has been on DSP for 15 years, but between us we found the funds.

The one featured in the pictures above is the "Dream Kayaks" fishing Kayak and was reduced from $1280 to $829 recently -  They are located in QLD, but have warehouse storage outlets in other cities including Perth. So we went 50/50 shares in getting it. The motor is recommended for this model,  I already have a 40Ahr deep cell Gel battery we use for camping which is charged with a small solar panel. The Yak weighs in at 45 kg and rated at 2.5 people (Up to 200Kg max load) 



 Watch this space.

backlash's picture

Posts: 244

Date Joined: 12/10/10

Waroona Trout Fishing

Fri, 2018-11-02 13:03

 just found this on youtube