January means holidays for most people, which means time to explore new areas and try some new things.
The Coral Coast region is home to some magnificent water ways including Baffle Creek, Kolan River, Burnett River and Elliott River just to name a few. And after our record wet in 2010 all these systems have had good flushes and should be ready to fire up.
If you’re visiting our area over the break and want to explore some new ground, ensure you visit Baffle Creek. It is serviced by two public launch areas on the southern side of the river at the mouth in the town of Winfield and then further up river a third at the old ferry crossing at Rosedale.
The ramp at Winfield can be very slippery at low tide so be careful but it does give most size trailer boats access to the mouth of the river. The mouth is a vast expanse of sand flats that, at low tide, can be difficult to navigate in larger boats although there is still deep water around to fish.
The ferry crossing is on Ferry Road funnily enough and may look hard to launch at, but it is a great ramp to use and gives you access to the middle reaches of the Baffle and the area where Oyster Creek joins the Baffle. In this section of the river you need to be aware of the rock bars that appear not only on the edges of the creek but also unannounced in the middle of the creek.
To get a better understanding of the system jump on Google Maps and have a look: you will be impressed. There is limited camping available along the Baffle but you can camp down under the oaks at the mouth of the creek you just have to ferry everything there in your boat as there is no vehicle access.
The Kolan is a popular spot over the break mainly because of the services available with a caravan park right on the water, a pub just down the road and good fishing and crabbing in the river.
The mouth has nice sand flats that are home to whiting, bream and flathead and there are also some good structures that hold mangrove jack, queenfish and trevally. The river is fairly short thanks to a weir on it, but you can explore a couple of creeks that shoot off that hold jacks, cod and the odd barra. Again check out Google Maps as this will give you a good handle on this surprise packet river.
For the visitor the Burnett is our main river that travels through town to the coast. It only has about 9km of salt before it too hits one of its many weirs.
There are two main and a couple of secondary boat ramps to use to get on the river. The first is at the mouth and this is a big modern ramp and can handle the rush that the river gets in holiday times and good weather. You get instant access to the mouth of the river and this is where the action is a lot of the time. At the mouth you get pelagic fish travelling in chasing the schools of bait that frequent the river and it can be action stations. My tip is to get in early before all the boat traffic which can effect the fishing.
The other main ramp is in the town reach and this puts you in the top end of the available salt which is well protected if the wind gets up.
A beautiful sight is the Elliott. With clean water, white sand and protected water it really is a nice place to be.
There is a caravan park at the mouth of the Elliott which is a stone’s throw from the ocean and a ramp that can only be used on high water in good weather. The main ramp is at Riverview just upstream and this drops you into a deep bend that’s just a short run from the mouth. The fishing can be sporadic but you expect that in such a clean system with dirtier water making it easier for predators to hunt.
Night fishing for big whiting and jacks works well as does trolling the many sand flats for flathead. When you Google this one you will be impressed. It’s well worth a look.Reads: 2321