Gladstone’s best inland fishing spots
What’s a fisherman to do when you’ve got a bad case of seasickness and your buddy with the “big boat” is away on a family trip? Head inland that’s what and Gladstone is the place to do it.
Here are the best inland fishing spots around Gladstone that will make your reel scream louder than Jimmy Barnes.
West of Gladstone along the Dawson Highway you’ll come to a town called Biloela. This is where your fishing adventure begins.
Head down Callide Dam Road and guess where you’ll end up? That’s right, Lake Callide.
You don’t necessarily need a boat here but it never hurts. The banks of the lake stretch on for kilometres and if you don’t mind standing next to a few cows then the fishing spots are endless. The kids will love distracting you from your barra fishing techniques to make jokes about cow poop but that’s half the fun.
Keep an eye out for gentle sloping banks and shallow water fishing, which will be your best bet on a warm day to snag a big silvery barra. If you’re on the windblown side of the lake you’ll increase your chances again as the water becomes more oxygenated and that means hungry, active fish.
If you have a taste for redclaw then you can throw in a couple of pots with a potato as bait. It’s that simple. Sink it in a deep hole and come back later. It’s Lake Callide’s version of takeaway.
Redclaw usually feed at night but we caught heaps during the day as well. It’s good fun showing the kids how to pick them up or scaring the kids by chasing them with one in your hand.
This isn’t to be mistaken with Dawson’s Creek. Where you’ll only find bad acting.
Dawson River is much, much better.
Both towns also host fishing competitions. The Muddy Water Fishing Comp for Moura and Baralaba hosts the Great Saratoga Fishing Classic… two events on the same stretch of river is like a big sign that reads: ‘Get your fish here’.
Saratoga is the species you should focus on. It’s also known as the Dawson River barramundi and is one of Australia’s oldest species. It hasn’t changed in 40 million years, so catching one with your super modern rods and lures should be a cinch, right?
Saratoga naturally eat frogs, boney bream, prawns and crayfish (pretty much anything smaller than it) so make your tackle choices wisely to imitate their favourites.
They can reach over three kilograms on a good day so bring your heavy gear and enjoy the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzizzle.
A boat’s necessary and can be launched from the Baralaba boat ramp. Cruise up and down the river using your sounder to find holes and structure. They might hide jewfish, sleepy cod, perch or bream. Be prepared for anything.
Halfway between Gladstone and Bundaberg is Baffle Creek.
This is where we take a nice long paddle off the beaten estuary to a place where the fish are wilder than a young kid let loose at Disneyland.
Just like young kids, it can be hard to get them to eat their dinner.
We’ll try and help.
Head south along the M1 from Gladstone and turn left towards Miriam Vale, then follow that road until you see the sign for the turnoff to Baffle Creek… then it’s about an hour more, and a few more signs, but the more rugged it gets the bigger the fish get right?
Baffle Creek is Australian for “I didn’t know mangrove jacks grew that big”, bring your A-game because jacks might not be as heavy as a barra or as scary as a shark but when you hook up with one the only comparison we can think of is State of the Origin. Yeah, it’s a war.
Bring your heavy line (30 pound plus) because jacks will run away and hide in the mangroves which snaps your line – no fun, reel hard, reel fast.
You want to cast right up against the mangroves and we mean RIGHT UP AGAINST. “Centimetre perfect” is a phrase you’ll hear the pros use. No pressure.
For lures, it depends on the day – ask a local or experiment but remember, patience is the key.
Want to take a break from the fight? Chuck in a mud crab pot and you’ll be generously rewarded in Baffle Creek. Think of the crabs as spectators to the amazing show you’re putting on for your family as you reel in jack after jack. Now go out there and feed those spectators a nice herring in trap!
Lake Awoonga is everyone’s first choice and that’s why we included it in our 6 places to go fishing on the Southern Great Barrier Reef post. We don’t like to talk too much about the same places twice, so this will be short.
This is the granddaddy of lakes and as local fishing master Darryl Branthwaite says, “The fishing in this lake when the water is warm is something to behold, with one metre-plus barra… mangrove jack over 70cm long and in the upper reaches, the saratoga can be good sport”.
Getting here is simple, just head 30 minutes southwest of Gladstone along State Route 50. This lake is massive and you’re going to need a boat and a winch to reel in the barra. You’ve been warned.