Australian Bass (Macquaria novemaculeata) are a small to medium sized, primarily freshwater (but estuarine spawning) native fish found in coastal rivers and streams along the east coast of Australia. They are a member of the Percichthyidae family and, currently, the Macquaria genus. Australian bass are an iconic, highly predatory native fish. They are an important member of the native fish faunas found in east coast river systems and an extremely popular angling species. Australian Bass are closely related and very similar in appearance to Estuary Perch (Macquaria colonorum). Estuary Perch however tend to remain in the estuarine reaches or (occasionally) the extreme lower freshwater reaches.
Australian Bass have a moderately deep, elongated body that is laterally compressed. They have a forked caudal ("tail") fin and angular anal and soft dorsal fins. Their spiny dorsal fin is of medium height, strong and sharp. They have a medium sized mouth and relatively large eyes than can appear dark in low light or red in bright light. The opercula or gill covers on Australian Bass carry extremely sharp flat spines that can cut anglers fingers deeply. Australian Bass vary in colour from gold in clear sandy streams to the more usual bronze or bronze-green colouration in streams with darker substrates and/or some tannin staining to the water. Australian Bass are, overall, a smallish-sized species, averaging in most waters around 0.5 kg and 20–30 cm. A fish of 1 kg or larger is a good specimen. Maximum size appears to be around 2.5 kg and 55 cm in southern waters, and around 3.0 kg and 60–65 cm in northern waters. Typically, Australian bass stocked in man-made impoundments (where they cannot breed) show greater average and maximum sizes than wild river fish.
Fishing for Australian Bass is a summertime affair, undertaken during the warmer months in the freshwater reaches of the rivers they inhabit. Australian Bass are keenly fished for as they are an outstanding sportsfish, extraordinarily fast and powerful for their size. Their extraordinary speed and power is probably due to their significant, strenuous annual migrations for spawning and a life-style that is migratory in general. Australian Bass in their natural river habitats are not to be underestimated; they head straight for the nearest snags (sunken timber) when hooked and light but powerful tackle and stiff drag settings are needed to stop them.
Silver Perch (Bidyanus bidyanus) are a medium sized freshwater fish endemic to the Murray-Darling river system in south-eastern Australia. Their scientific name comes from an aboriginal name for the species — Bidyan — that Major Mitchell recorded on his 1832 expedition. Silver Perch are the only major representative of the Terapontidae family in the southern Murray-Darling system, compared to northern tropical systems where Terapontid species are common. (Another small Terapontid, the Spangled Perch (Leiopotherapon unicolor), does occur sporadically in the northern Murray-Darling Basin.)
Silver Perch are streamlined laterally compressed fish with a spiny dorsal fin of medium height, angular soft dorsal and anal fins and a forked tail. Large specimens become very deep bodied with a large hump behind the head. They also have very small mouths compared to other freshwater species. Silver Perch are common at 1–2 kg in size, but have been recorded as large as 8 kg in the past.
Anglers catch Silver Perch on unweighted baits such as worms, on small spinnerbaits, and soft plastic lures in rapids during migrations, as well as flowing, more moving waters generally. They are a schooling fish and are renowned as being a very fast and strong fighting fish for their size.
Golden Perch, (Macquaria ambigua), is an Australian native freshwater fish, primarily of the Murray-Darling river system. It is not a true perch of the genus Perca.
Golden Perch are medium sized fish, commonly 30–40 cm and 1–2 kg in rivers. Fish from rivers are smaller and somewhat streamlined — fish in man-made impoundments are much deeper-bodied and show much greater average and maximum sizes. In rivers, they have been recorded to 9 kg, in impoundments to 15 kg. Golden perch have an elongated deep body, laterally compressed, with a sizable mouth, small to moderate sized eyes and distinct curve to the forehead and "hump" above the head. The caudal fin, soft dorsal fin and anal fin are rounded. The spiny dorsal fin is short to moderate in length and strong. Golden Perch vary in colour from pale silvery-gold (turbid waters) to deep yellow/gold or bronze-black (very clear waters).
Generally a very good angling species, Golden Perch are fished for Australia-wide. The best baits include small Yabbies and Shrimp, with Yabbies being a favourite. Larger yabbie baits, around 5 - 6cm, can produce great fish. Fish of around 1-5kg are common but 4 or 5 kilogram fish are sometimes encountered. They will grow to around 75cm and 23kg which is the largest ever recorded. If using Yabbies for bait you will generally feel one bite, which will be the fish trying to take the Yabbies claws off, then the fish with come and swallow the Yabbie. Golden Perch can provide an excellent fight because of their large paddle like tail.
Saratoga, Scleropages leichardti, also known as the Spotted Bonytongue, Spotted Saratoga, or Southern Saratoga, is a freshwater bony fish native to Australia. It belongs to the subfamily Osteoglossinae, or arowanas, a primitive group of teleosts. Like all arowanas, it is a carnivorous mouthbrooder. Along with the Gulf Saratoga (S. jardinii), the Saratoga is also known as the Australian arowana (mainly by non-Australian aquarists) and Barramundi, although the latter name is nowadays reserved in Australia for the unrelated Lates calcarifer.
Like all Scleropages, S. leichardti is a long-bodied fish with large scales, large pectoral fins, and small paired barbels on its lower jaw. Each scale on its dark colored body has a red or pink spot; this feature distinguishes it from S. jardinii, which has several reddish spots on each scale in a crescent shape. S. leichardti is a slimmer fish than other Scleropages; a 90 cm (35 in.) fish was weighed at only 4 kg (8.8 lbs.), compared to 17.2 kg (38 lb.) for a S. jardinii of similar length. The depth of its body is 23-25% of its Standard Length, and it has fewer fin rays than S. jardinii.
Saratoga is known as one of Australia’s iconic freshwater sportfish. They are a sub-surface and top water feeder which makes for an exciting spectacle once caught. Their armour plated jaws make it hard for hook penetration which, when combined with their aerobatic abilities, makes them difficult to land. Top water and sub-surface hardbody lures along with spinner baits will give you best results.
Mary River Cod
Mary River Cod Protection Plan
Mary River Cod (Maccullochella mariensis) are a Maccullochella Cod found in the coastal Mary River system of southern Queensland, Australia. Mary River Cod are significant because they are the most northerly of the four Maccullochella Cods found or once found in coastal river systems of eastern Australia.
Mary River Cod are a large fish which have reliably been recorded to at least 27 kilograms in the early years of European settlement. They are very similar in appearance to Murray Cod and Eastern Freshwater Cod. They are a striking looking, deep-bodied fish with dark green or black mottling. Curiously, Mary River Cod have a slightly shorter, thicker caudal peduncle (tail wrist) than the other cod species.
Mary River Cod are an endangered species, they should not be targeted outside selected stocked impoundments. If caught in their wild environment as bycatch, they should immediately be placed back in the water as close as is possible to their catch location. Heavy penalties apply if you are in possession of these endangered fish outside approved stocked impoundments.
Size and Take Limits
Even though most stocked impoundments are put and take fisheries, EMFMInc. encourages catch and release. This ensures the recreational sportfish are available for all to enjoy. If you do wish to take fish for the table ensure you abide by the size and possession limits which are detailed on the Queensland Governments Department of Primary Industry & Fishery website. www.dpi.qld.gov.au