This week we visit Ross River
Weir - Townsville, North Queensland
RIVER WEIR FACT SHEET
The efforts of
the Twin Cities Fish Stocking Society, who in recent
years have introduced in excess of 100 000 barramundi
fingerlings into the freshwater reaches of the Ross
River, have been instrumental in restoring and promoting
one of the regions most valuable fisheries.
Society secretary Dr Keith Harveyson attributes
the success of the Ross River barramundi fishery and the
immediate local fishery to a small army of volunteers
who, in association with the Queensland Department of
Primary Industries, realised something had to be done to
reinstate what was obviously a resource in sharp
“The introduction of hatchery raised
fish to Ross River, under the guidance of DPI, has
certainly reversed a trend where not more than fifteen
years ago the capture of more than one barramundi by a
recreational angler was big news. Now similar catches
are regarded as merely incidental as some anglers often
attain their maximum bag limits,” Dr Harveyson
“The beauty of stocking the Ross River is
that flooding waters during the wet (season) allow
mature fish to escape the weirs giving them the
opportunity to mix with wild stock and breed. This in
turn benefits a much greater area.”
Gleeson and Black Weirs are now renowned for yielding
world record class barramundi for recreational anglers
targeting the species.
Fish to and exceeding the
maximum legal size for the species or approximately 24
kilograms are regularly encountered.
These Ross River
weirs are easily accessible with many anglers choosing
to fish close to the weir walls where big fish are often
Boating access is a little more
difficult, although a canoe or small tinny manhandled
into the weirs is often well worth the effort.
These anglers often choose to troll large
shallow running lures along the vast weed banks and
lillypad beds that line a good majority of the rivers
This is where big barramundi hunt.
Many others prefer to offer the fish live bait,
which are usually caught in either live bait traps or
with baits presented on fine lines and small hooks.
Banded grunter, spangled perch and mouth
almighty are all superb baits and easily caught with
offerings of prawn, red meat, fish flesh or bread.
A small amount of bread utilised as berley will
attract these species from considerable distance.
Speed restrictions apply on much of the weir
waters, which come under the authority of NQ Water Inc.
Recent recreational zoning of Black Weir still
permits fishing. Four zones divide the weir into
specific recreational activity areas.
Zone A, B
and C all cater for high speed motorised pursuits like
ski and jet ski activities and this area extends from
the Black Weir to a boundary immediately downstream of
Thereon, to the Ross River Dam
wall, passive recreational activity under six knots is
While fishing is
allowed in all zones, anglers must give way to all
vessels undertaking their recreational activities in
zones A, B and C.
Aplin Weir is approached via
either O’Reilly Street or Burt Street in Mundingburra or
Fairlight Crescent off River Park Drive in Annandale.
Gleeson Weir can be accessed by taking Arinya
Street off Ross River Road in Cranbrook while Black Weir
offers good options for landbased anglers when
approached from grounds adjacent the Weir School in
Kirwan, also on Ross River Road.
Loam Island and
Apex Park off Upper Ross River Road also offers
excellent access to Black Weir.
separates the salt water reaches of the lower Ross from
the remainder of the river, which was originally the
domestic water supply for the city.
It is here
many anglers choose to fish – especially during the wet
season when barramundi line up below the weir wall to
feast on tarpon, banded grunter, freshwater herring and
a variety of other food sources that are washed over.
Fishing here can be hazardous during heavy
flows. Fishing off any of the weir spillways is
prohibited and is policed by NQ Water