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Fishing around dams and weirs

There’s nothing better than dropping a line in the water, but fishing comes with responsibilities. Remember to read the signs and beware of the hazards around dams and weirs. If you’re trespassing in restricted areas, you’re breaking the law.

There are plenty of lakes and waterways where you are allowed to fish and enjoy the outdoors. Use the information and guides on this page to plan ahead and play it safe.

Campaign message: Drop Your Line, Don't Drop Your Mate

Fishing safety around dams and weirs

Just like the weather, water conditions can change very quickly. Water around dams and weirs might look still and safe but water can be released suddenly with little or no warning.

Refer to the signs on site for further guidance on permitted recreational activities and the designated distance from dam and weir walls and download our safety brochure for further tips on staying safe when visiting a SunWater dam.

For more information:

  • SunWater – 13 15 89
  • Report illegal fishing activities – 1800 017 116
  • Emergencies 000

When enjoying our dams and weirs remember:

  • Read the signs — they contain important information about water, recreational activities, potential hazards, blue-green algae levels and no go zones
  • Stay aware of your surroundings — fast flowing water can be released suddenly from a dam, or weir outlet and can knock you off your feet and pin you underwater
  • Beware of hazards — beware of hidden dangers such as logs, pipes and rocks under the water surface and watch out for uneven and slippery ground. Submerged hazards can be exposed at different water levels
  • Get your permit — check what activities are allowed and obtain an appropriate permit if fishing in stocked impoundments.

In the Spotlight: Fairbairn Dam (Lake Maraboon)

Fairbairn Dam (Lake Maraboon)

SunWater’s Fairbairn Dam, near Emerald is popular spot for anglers. The dam has a boat ramp, picnic area, BBQs and Lake Maraboon Holiday Park nearby. It is stocked with a variety of fish including Redclaw Crayfish.

Map showing facilities at Fairbairn Dam

To view the full map, download the Fairbairn Dam visitor brochure.

Tips for catching Redclaw Crayfish:

Best fishing times: September to April
Size limit: None
Take and permission limit: 40 (females carrying eggs or young must be returned to the water within their natural range)

Use opera house traps in water depths up to 6m. Entrances to traps must be rigid and smaller than 10cm in diameter. Bait the traps with dog biscuits, fish (fresh or canned), fruit or partially cooked vegetables. The disposal of Redclaw crayfish remains in the rubbish bins around the dam is not permitted. Boating and fishing is not permitted within 200m upstream of the dam wall — refer to map provided.

Fast Fact

Why do we have closed waters?

Closed waters prevent people from fishing in certain areas and these may be:

  • where a population of endangered or threatened species lives
  • where fish congregate during or before spawning
  • where fish may aggregate or get trapped near artificial barriers and be susceptible to overfishing
  • to separate incompatible uses (e.g. fishing from a bathing area)
  • to enable successful migration of fish through fishways.

Fishing on or near dam and weir walls is unsafe and illegal. Visit the Fisheries website for more recreational fishing rules and regulations in Queensland, including size, take and possession limits.