Outback Queensland may not come to mind when you’re planning your next fishing trip, but we can assure you there’s some reel hot spots here.
With warm weather all year round, you can keep your stubbies on and leave the gumboots, waders and beanie at home.
Cast your eyes over these top five fishing spots to make sure your fish is served fresh, not frozen during your Outback Queensland travels.
1. Lake Callide
Set up for a day at Lake Callide, a freshwater fisherman’s playground that’s a short 15 minute drive from Biloela.
Expect to share the banks with local cattle who graze in this picturesque pasture, otherwise take your tinnie out to make the most of the dam’s 1,240 hectares.
Fishing rewards come in the way of barramundi, cod and golden perch, or otherwise known as yellowbelly.
For those who came unprepared for the abundance of the local delicacy – red claw – you can hire gear from the lake kiosk.
If the fish are biting, stay lakeside at Lake Callide Retreat, who offer affordable self-contained accommodation, cabins and powered sites overlooking the lake, ideal for fishing fanatics.
Of course if you’re out of crab pot-luck, hire a stand up paddle board or kayak to enjoy some family fun.
2. The Dawson River
Location: Cracow, Moura and Theodore
The Sandstone Wonders region is known for more than just its rocky escarpments. The Dawson River has a reputation of its own – for really big fish.
It turns out dinosaurs aren’t the only ancient creatures in the Outback, Southern Saratoga are a true icon of this river and one of Australia’s oldest marine species.
Play your tackle choices wisely and imitate their favourite food groups like frogs, boney bream, prawns and crayfish. ‘Toga, as they are affectionately known, grow up to 3kg and readily take the bait in these waters. Barra, cod, black bream, eel and banded grunter are also ready to hook if you miss out on the coveted catch.
Be sure to quench your fishing thirst at the Theodore Hotel, Queensland’s only community owned pub – now, that’s town spirit!
Make the ultimate boys trip and swap bait for bikes by timing your trip with the Theodore Trail Ride in June.
3. The Thomson River
It’s no surprise the fishing is good in Longreach – the fact the town is named after its river is good indication.
We recommend chartering your own course in a tinnie and exploring the inland river, which flows into the legendary Lake Eyre.
The preferred target of many central-west locals is yellowbelly – and good news for keen anglers, they strike year-round making a guaranteed bag limit. The native species grows to more than 20kg, so bring your heavy gear and enjoy the challenge!
If you’re mad-keen for more, time your visit with Longreach Recreational Fishing Club’s Yellowbelly Classic, which is held in the last weekend in August.
Take a break from the lines and enjoy and an afternoon outback sunset river cruise with Outback Aussie Tours or Outback Pioneers. Or, if you’re after more action, the river is one of the best spots to try your hand (or should we say foot) at barefoot water skiing. The water is soft like silk – so it’s not too hard on your tootsies.
4. The Warrego River
Forget going coastal for seriously good fishing action, the banks of the Warrego River in Charleville punches above its weight.
The Warrego is the northernmost tributary of the Darling River and is also one of the few places where silver perch breed naturally.
With a catchment area of about 65,000km, the Warrego contains cod, spangled perch, yellowbelly, jew and black bream across six local hot spots.
Fishing favourites include Bakers Bend and Dillalah, with accommodating grassy banks and shady gum trees, spots where you can combine your love for boating, camping and fishing.
To pick up on the local tips and traps, drop in to the Charleville Visitor Information Centre for a local fishing guide.
5. Lake Moondarra
Location: Mount Isa
Lake Moondarra, meaning ‘plenty of rain and thunder’, has 22 different freshwater species to catch.
Nestled just outside Queensland’s cowboy capital, you can hook archer fish, barra, catfish, sleepy cod, sooty grunter and long tom.
Although a great spot year round for anglers, mark your diary for the last weekend of October when Lake Moondarra hosts its own annual three-day fishing classic with bragging rights and prize money up for grabs.
Make sure to snag the one-off opportunity to camp lake-side during the competition weekend. Don’t forget to fire up the lakeside barbeques to enjoy your fresh catch.
This may be no jewel-sea within our sunburnt country but make sure to catch the lake in all her sparkling water glory by scaling the lakes best vantage point.
Are you willing to share your secret fishing spots with us? Tell us in the comments!