Cressbrook Dam structures lure fish and fishers

Published Wednesday, 16 February, 2022 at 02:06 PM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

Purpose-designed fish attracting structures in Toowoomba’s Cressbrook Dam have done their job, successfully luring both fish and fishers, according to a new report.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the Department of Agriculture and
Fisheries (DAF) report showed the structures had improved the habitat for fish and made impoundments more appealing to recreational fishers.

“Cressbrook Dam’s fish attracting structures have been a real winner for recreational fishers,” Mr Furner said.

“Habitat helps make fish happen and data from my department’s report shows that Australian bass, golden perch and fish numbers throughout the chain increased at all sites where structures were installed.

“And surveys conducted at boat ramps revealed anglers caught more fish and enjoyed fishing at Cressbrook Dam more after the structures were installed, leading to more frequent visits to the dam.

“The results confirm fish attractors are a viable new tool which can be used to create fishing hotspots outside closed zones and near launching points, improving access for anglers whether they be in boats, kayaks or on the shore.”

Mr Furner said 615 fish attracting structures had been installed at Cressbrook Dam since 2019 in an Australian-first project to assess the impact of such structures on recreational fishing in impoundments.

The study, in partnership with Toowoomba Regional Council, Toowoomba and District Fish Stocking Association, and the Australian Government’s Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), compared the effectiveness of three different styles of fish attractors – timber, synthetic and surface suspended.

“The fish attracting structures are modular and light-weight, and are relatively cheap and easy for community groups such as fishing and stocking clubs to construct and deploy,” Mr Furner said.

“My department has also released a best-practice guide for fish stocking groups and fisheries managers who wish to instal fish attracting structures in Australian impoundments, which can be downloaded from the DAF website.”

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio said the Habitat Enhancement Research Project had been an exciting, collaborative project with Council contributing $30,000 each year for three years.

“The project was a win for our region and provided a real opportunity to significantly improve the fish habitat of Lake Cressbrook ,” Mayor Antonio said.

“This Australian-first project was a benefit for local anglers and has provided extra incentive for visitors to travel to our region, stay in our towns and enjoy some recreational fishing.”

Toowoomba and District Fish Stocking Association president Peter Taylor said the project had been a great success both for local anglers and for attracting visiting anglers and their families to the region.

“Cressbrook Dam was clear felled which means there was zero natural habitat available for the stocked fish,” Mr Taylor said.

“An increase in catch numbers and evidence of good numbers of fish using the installed habitat shows the hours of work put in by volunteers from the stocking association to build the habitat was well worth the effort.

“However, it would not have been possible without the financial contributions from the State Government, Toowoomba Regional Council and the Toowoomba and District Fish Stocking Association.”

Mr Furner said the fish attractors were part of a $1.3M program to improve recreational angling in Queensland’s impoundments and promote regional tourism.

“The Habitat Enhancement Research Program is a series of three projects funded by contributions from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the FRDC, local councils and local angling and fish stocking groups,” Mr Furner said.

“Fish attracting structures have also been installed in Mount Morgan Dam No 7 near Rockhampton and Mackay’s Kinchant Dam, which

“Cressbrook Dam and Kinchant Dam, are two of the 63 stocked impoundments which form Queensland’s Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIPS).

“Recreational anglers wishing to fish in a SIPS dam require a permit to fish with a line.

“The release of the best practice guide will allow many more dams in the scheme to take advantage of fish attracting structures in the future.”

The Freshwater fish attracting structures (FAS): Evaluating a new tool to improve fishing quality and access to fisheries resources in Australian impoundments report, and best practice guide are available at   

Media contact:           Ron Goodman            0427 781 920

Images for download:

Please credit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

211216_CD FAS_01 - Hardwood timber fish attracting structures deployed in Cressbrook Dam

211216_CD FAS_02 - Bait species around a suspended fish attracting structure in Cressbrook Dam

211216_CD FAS_03 - Fish attracting structures being deployed into Cressbrook Dam