Fishing the Burnett River

The Burnett River at Bundaberg has been a fantastic fishery for many years and has changed quite a bit in that time. I can remember bait fishing as a child with the family, and very seldom did we come home without a feed of fish. The amount of good quality whiting and flathead we caught drifting behind the hospital just up from the Tallon Bridge was amazing.

Since the floods early last year the river has bounced back and for some reason the quality, size and species of the fish being caught lately in all parts of the river is just amazing. To say it’s the best fishing we’ve ever had would not be an understatement.

Both bait and lure fishermen have had some top sessions, with some massive flathead, blue and threadfin salmon up to a metre being caught recently, as well as barra and other pelagic species like queenfish and mackerel chasing the load of bait fish right throughout this magic river.

Some of the hot spots in the Burnett have been Austoft Rocks around low tides, which has seen some nice mangrove jack and cod caught using both live and fillet baits, and soft and hard body lures being cast close to the rocky outcrop that lines the bank up that way.

The three bridges and the town reach have been very popular, and guys putting in the hours at night are reporting catching a lot better class of fish than during the day. Large barra, salmon and grunter are testing anglers gear to its limits and using whole mullet lightly weighted at night has been doing the damage.

Kirby’s Wall and Strathdees have both seen some nice flathead and summer whiting in the shallows, and grunter and salmon in the deeper channels. Down around the port the lure fishermen have been doing well using 30g vibe-style lures, and targeting jewies, salmon and grunter during the first hour of the run-in tide is always very productive.

Around the mouth of the Burnett has been a hive of activity mainly with pelagics. Large schools of mackerel and queenfish are schooled up just off our coastline. Trolled hard-body and metal spoon lures are a great way to locate the mackerel. Once located, try casting metal flasher lures and retrieving them at high speed – this usually does the trick.

A mate of mine, Matt Manly fished the Burnett this week and landed a 52cm mangrove jack using a Lucky Craft lure. The Burnett has always been one of my favourite river systems to fish and with the action I’ve had lately, I can’t see that changing any time soon.

Fish with confidence,
Dale Smith