Mary River Cod’s Future
  |  First Published: July 2006

As debate continues to rage over the proposed damming of the Mary River at Traveston Crossing the possibility of habitat destruction is continually raised. I must admit that my first thoughts were ‘you beauty, somewhere else to wet a line close to home’. I wonder if it will be stocked with barra as well?

Since then other thoughts have come to mind, such as the Mary River cod habitat and the other fully protected species in the area lungfish. Cod that have established breeding areas along the snaggy riverbanks will be forced to abandon those as they become too deep and too cold for continued use. Will they breed in the dam? Who knows, but as several informed people have pointed out they do breed successfully in farm dams. Just look at the Gerry Cook cod hatchery at Lake MacDonald. The broodstock are kept in farm dam type ponds, and once successful spawning has occurred the fertilized eggs are collected to be reared in the hatchery proper.

All in all it seems a shame to destroy some of the last remaining natural breeding habitat of an important endangered species. Will the new lake, if it eventuates, be too shallow around the verges for continued breeding? Hundreds of families will be displaced also, including many who have spent their life, and life savings setting up productive rural pursuits of one form or another. Compensation is one thing, but moving and setting up a new life elsewhere is an entirely different matter.

Another endangered species that may suffer if the dam goes ahead is the Mary River turtle. This is the second most endangered turtle species in the country. Will it become number one?


On the home front a few bass are being caught in Lake MacDonald and in the Mary River, which isn’t far from the Noosa district. The possibility of big schools of bass moving into the main body of the lake as the water cools further will mean the possibility of cricket score catches. Trolling extra deep minnow lures through the schools can result in countless hook-ups, generally on smaller 30-35cm fish with the occasional horse amongst them.

Dropping ice jigs into the school and slowly working soft plastics and bibless rattlers will also account for plenty of fish during July. Don’t forget the rules and regulations governing bass which state an I possession limit of two fish over 30cm. Also worth noting is the closure of bass fishing in streams below dams, such as Six Mile Creek below Lake MacDonald. If in doubt you must check with the local authorities.

The chances of saratoga are minimal and hopefully the Mary River cod will be too busy breeding to bother with lures!

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