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Best Places To Fish in Queensland

With over 6,000 kilometers of shoreline, the Great Barrier Reef and numerous lakes and rivers feeding into the ocean, there are dozens of good Queensland fishing spots. We’ve picked out some of the best fishing locations this state has to offer, whether you’re interested in casting, trolling or snorkel fishing.

What You Should Know Before You Go

QLD fisheries doesn’t just stock waterways with fish; it also regulates fishing across the state. Be sure to check its website to see the current catch limits and closures. It also offers the QLD Fishing app, which can help you identify your catch and keep up to date with current fishing rules.

Official maps use a color-coded system to identify the legal status of water areas. There are four colors you should look out for when navigating:

  • Pink -- Do not enter.
  • Green -- Marine national park land. Fishing is allowed with a permit.
  • Yellow -- No trolling area. Only limited line fishing with one handheld rod and hook per person is allowed.
  • Light blue -- All fishing is allowed.

These zones are bordered by landmarks, so they should be easy to identify when you’re in the water. You may see white triangle buoys, which indicate no-anchoring zones. If you need to secure your boat, look for blue cone buoys, which are public moorings. Outside of these areas, avoid anchoring in coral wherever possible. It can take years for the reef to recover from damage caused by anchor strikes.

Shallow-water areas are common near the coast due to the reef. A jack plate is a must-have for navigating these waters, while power poles make it easy to anchor your boat.

Wellington Point

If you’re looking for good fishing spots in Brisbane, it’s hard to beat Wellington Point fishing. While casting from the long wooden jetty is popular, this peninsula also has several boat ramps, letting you launch close to the area in which you want to fish. Snapper, whiting and bream are common catches off the coast, while tiger squid, arrow squid and pike eels can be found farther out from the shoreline. The canals around Raby Bay and the mouth of the Logan River are the most popular fishing spots in this area.

Mission Beach

This Cassowary Coast beach is next to the Hull River and the Great Barrier Reef, letting you choose between river fishing and shallow-water ocean fishing. It’s also conveniently located between Cairns and Townsville, making it an easy stop if you’re working your way up the coast. There are four boat ramps along the coast next to Camoo.

There is a wide range of fish in the area, but the most popular are barramundi, jackfish and coral trout. Want to try snorkel fishing? There are plenty of crayfish to be found in shallow reef areas.

Access to all parts of the Great Barrier Reef is regulated, but this area in particular has several ecologically sensitive areas. Before you head out for some Mission Beach fishing, be sure to check area maps so you can be sure you’re staying away from closed areas.

Cairns

The gateway to the tropics and the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns has a reputation for offering some of the best fishing in Australia. This area has a large inshore net-free zone that’s perfect for recreational fishing. There are two types of Cairns fishing spots. Stick to the coast and you’ll find marlin, sailfish, wahoo and tuna. Get out into the reef and you’ll find coral trout, black marlin and both large- and small-mouth nannygai, among other species.

Net-free zones around Machans Beach offer great opportunities for sports fishers. The mouth of Barron River is a great spot for fishing barramundi and salmon.

Lake Maraboon

Created in 1972 with the completion of the Fairbairn Dam across the Nogoa River, Lake Maraboon is Queensland’s second largest lake. Despite its size, this lake has an average depth of just 9 meters. Maraboon is about 20 km east of Emerald.

Queensland fisheries stock this lake with cod, crayfish, perch and bass. This is one of the few places you’ll find Murray cod in this state, and the stock of Fitzroy yellowbelly draws in anglers from all over. However, the most popular catch by far is red claw crayfish.

The only public boat launch site on the lake is Lake Maraboon Holiday Park, near the dam wall. Fishing is not allowed 200 meters upstream or 400 meters downstream of the Fairbairn Dam, so you’ll need to move away from the ramp before you start fishing. The Nogoa River and Sheep Station Creek arms are full of weeds, timber and channels, drawing in all types of fish.

Fitzroy (Tunuba) River

This is the largest river that empties out onto the eastern coast of Australia. The floodplain is filled with lagoons and waterholes, making it a great habitat for all kinds of fish. This river is famous for having the biggest barramundi in the country and loads of King threadfin. It’s also a great place for saratoga and giant trevally. Fish activity is highest at the mouth of the river after floods. It’s easy to move back and forth between fresh and saltwater areas around Rockhampton, giving you a range of fishing options.

Fishing is open year-round, but barra can only be caught between February and October.