FLATHEAD UPSTREAM: Ballina fisher, Brett Hyde from Ballina Bait and Tackle, says flathead, which is an estuarine species, are being caught as far up the Richmond River as Coraki because of the extended dry weather.
FLATHEAD UPSTREAM: Ballina fisher, Brett Hyde from Ballina Bait and Tackle, says flathead, which is an estuarine species, are being caught as far up the Richmond River as Coraki because of the extended dry weather.

Unusual spot where fishers are catching flathead

FISHERS keen for a feed of flathead can chase the species in places you wouldn’t normally expect, and that’s because of the extended dry spell.

And that’s not just for flatties, but other saltwater species like bream and mud crabs as the salty water has moved upstream.

According to fisher and owner of Ballina Bait and Tackle, Brett Hyde, the estuarine species, which are normally found below the tidal limits around Woodburn, have been caught as far up the Richmond River as Coraki, with reports of them also in the Wilsons River around Wyrallah near Lismore.

That’s more than 50km from the mouth of the Richmond River and well into an area that would usually be freshwater.

Mr Hyde said the lack of rain has meant the salt water has flowed upstream and the estuarine species have moved upstream with it, chasing prawns and other food.

“It’s been such a long, dry spell; we haven’t had a fresh flush,” he said.

“If we didn’t have as much rain as we normally do, these fish would be there all the time.”

He said it’s not just small fish being caught around Coraki.

As far as the flathead go, he said fish within the 40cm to 50cm range, and even through to 60cm, were being landed, which he said were quality eating fish, and well above the 32cm legal minimum size.

Bream also are being caught in numbers beyond Woodburn, along with mud crabs.

However, Mr Hyde reminded anyone chasing mud crabs that crab pots cannot be used above the Woodburn Bridge.

For those who aren’t having any luck in their regular fishing spots, Mr Hyde’s advice was to try somewhere you “wouldn’t normally think to go.”

He said the salt water around places like Coraki was sitting below The Freshwater.


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