Dusky Flathead are a popular food species for all fishers as well as a popular target for sports fishers.

  • Overview


    Crystal Bowl GBR is aiming to examine 3 core measures across a wide range of species in the region:

    • Fishing experience (how many fish per trip)
    • Quality of the fish (size of fish)
    • Community attitudes (number of legal sized fish kept or released)


    Fishing Experience

    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported a catch rate of 0.1 fish/fisher/day in 2017
    • Local Sportfishers data pending
    • Cairns ranked 13th in the state for Dusky Flathead Catch Rates
    • Not a targeted commercial species


    Quality of the Fish

    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported the average size of flathead caught in 2017 was 507mm, which is an increase from 472mm in 2016
    • Cairns ranked 8th in the State for size of Flathead (based on Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys - based on min 100 fish reported)


    Community Attitudes

    • 53% of legal sized flathead caught in 2017 were released
    • 82% of fish reported in 2017 were caught by locals 
    • Cairns ranked 13th in the state in 2017 for the number of Dusky Flathead released
    • The larger average size indicates pressure on the species is lower


  • Assessment

    Limited catch data

    Dusky Flathead are reported as an incidental catch and not targetted by commercials. No assessment can be made on available data but we advise moderation and taking only what is needed for immediate consumption.

  • Forecast


    Not enough data is available to make a forecast.


  • Qld FIsheries Boat Ramp Surveys - General Fishers

    Monitoring of Recreational Catch by Qld Fisheries

    Queensland Fisheries monitors boat ramps up and down the coast as a part of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy. Fishers in Cairns regularly report catching Flathead with slightly more than half of all legal size fish being kept. Monitoring began in 2017 and continues in 2018.

    • Dusky Flathead was not commonly reported in 2017, ranked 30th in Cairns in 2017
    • An average length of 507mm wasmeasured in 2017
    • Fishers reported an overall catch rate of 0.01 fish/fisher/day
    • 53% of fish reported in 2017 were released
    • 82% of fish reported in 2017 were caught by locals
    • The peak period for Dusky Flathead catches was during July in 2017


    Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys monitoring dashboard


  • Sportfishers

    Dusky Flathead as a Sports Species

    Dusky Flathead are prized by Sportsfishers because they are an agressive species that respond to a wide variety of lures. Other species provide greater challenge, thus sportfishers tend to invest more time in the other species but when conditions are not ideal or a feed is desired, Flathead is an attractive option.

    • Local Sportfishers reported a catch rate of 1.6 fish/fisher/day in 2016


    A detailed snapshot of catch data by local Sportfishers and Suntaggers is available:

    Local Sportfishers and Suntaggers


  • Commercial Fishing

    Commercial Fishing Catch

    Dusky Flathead are not targeted by commercial fishers in Cairns and are caught as by catch. 

  • Monitoring

    Monitoring of Flathead

    Data for this assessment has been sourced from:

    • Bureau of Meteorology
    • Local Sportfishers
    • Queensland Fisheries


    Here are links to all the monitoring pages for Dusky Flathead:

  • Fishing Area

    Area Assessed

    Flathead are caught mostly in the Rivers around Cairns. The area assessed for commercial Flathead catches includes grids H16 and H17, although they are not commonly targeted or reported.