A Comprehensive Guide on Catching Redclaw in Queensland Dams for Beginners!

Awesome Redclaw Bounty

Queensland’s dams offer a hidden gem for beginners in the world of freshwater fishing – the fascinating redclaw. These crustaceans, resembling miniature lobsters, are not only a visual delight but also a delectable addition to your seafood menu. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the techniques, tools, and strategies you need to know when catching redclaw in Queensland dams.

Catching redclaw in Queensland is not only a rewarding pastime but also a fantastic way to connect with nature. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, the excitement of hauling in a vibrant redclaw from the pristine waters of Queensland is an experience worth savouring. So, gear up, follow these tips, and embark on a redclaw catching adventure in the captivating landscapes of the sunshine state.

Understanding the Redclaw Habitat in Queensland Dams

Redclaw are commonly found in dams, rivers, and freshwater creeks throughout Queensland. Popular locations include the Lake Samsonvale, the Tinaroo Dam and Ewen Maddock Dam. Check local regulations and seek permission from landowners if needed. These crustaceans thrive in freshwater bodies with suitable hiding spots and access to vegetation. Setting your pots beside fallen logs or beside a tree in the water and yield good results.

Essential Gear for Redclaw Catching

Redclaw Traps:

Invest in quality redclaw traps or opera house traps. These traps are designed to entice redclaw with bait while preventing their escape, providing an effective and ethical means of catching them. If you are travelling or have only a small area for storage, most Redclaw Traps are collapsible.

Most common Redclaw traps that people use are the “Opera House traps”. Now these are either a fine meshed or coarse mesh trap that is very convenient to store, set up and empty. If left unattended for large periods of time, Redclaw and other species can destroy your net.

Coarse Mess Net
Basic Redclaw Trap

The Fine Mesh Redclaw Trap is also ideas to catch other bait like Shrimps or small Baitfish.

Fine Mesh Opera House Trap
Fine Mesh Opera House Trap

Depending on your budget, you can invest in a quality Redclaw Trap like this 4 entry, collapsible model. Costs more but it will keep on providing you a great meal for years to come.

If you are looking for a Trap or Dilly which is fool proof and simple to use, then either one of these two will be ideal. Simply pick your area, bait it and drop it in!

Essential Accessories:

It is not just the Redclaw Traps that you need when hunting these tasty crustaceans, Floats, Labels and Bait Bag / Clips are essential too. In Queensland if your pot is not tied to structure, you will need a 150mm Float. You will also need a Label on your pot and also where it is secured to structure. If using a float, Name and Address must be visible on the float.

If you are unsure on the legal requirements here in Queensland, this link give you up to date information: https://www.qld.gov.au/recreation/activities/boating-fishing/rec-fishing/rules/equipment

Additional Equipment:

Don’t forget a sturdy bucket to hold your catch and a pair of gloves for handling them safely. They have very powerful claws, steer clear of these or take home a painful memory!

Effective Baiting Techniques:

Lots of it! People have their own thoughts on the best Redclaw bait, which works the best and how much to use in each pot. Truth is as long as you have something in there, it will work. Redclaw love eating vegetable matter so bait like Rock Melon, Lettuce, Paw Paw, Celery and a host of other Vegetables. When choosing your vegetable bait, look for the oldest, close to rotting stuff that you would normally throw in the bin, they love it!

Don’t be shy with experimenting a bit as well, Potato, Pumpkin, Kiwi Fruit and Sweet Potatoes could all be on the menu and allow for a great harvest. If it is on hand, give it a go in at least one of your Redclaw Traps.

Small cans of Oily Cat Food is another popular choice for some people purely for the convenience. Dry dog or cat food secured in the bait pouch is also another great attractant for the not so picky Redclaw as well.

Setting Your Traps:

Begin by identifying suitable locations within the dam. Look for areas with submerged structures, vegetation, and adequate water depth. Redclaw prefer hiding spots, so these locations are prime spots for setting your traps.

Submerge your redclaw traps in the chosen locations, Remember, sometimes hard to get to places are ideal trap placement locations for redclaw. Ensure they are securely anchored to the bottom. Following local guidelines on trap usage is essential, as regulations may vary (Link above).

Redclaw Habitat
Redclaw Habitat

Patience is the Key!

After setting your traps, give the redclaw time to discover the bait. It might take a few hours for them to be lured in. Use this time to relax, enjoy the scenery, and anticipate the excitement of a catch. Take this time to wet a line, a meal of Redclaw is always complimented with fresh Bass, Yellow Belly or Spangled Perch.

Handling Redclaw

When handling redclaw, wear gloves to avoid pinches. Grasp the Redclaw from behind, avoiding their claws. Be gentle, as redclaw can be fragile. Once you have sorted your catch into groups, “Keepers” and “Non Keeper”, releasing the “Non Keepers” unharmed is essential for maintaining the population.

There are Regulations in place for different regions regarding “Release or No Release” of your catch. Certain regions require you to release unharmed, the unwanted catch and females with Berries (Egg bearing Females). Other regions require you to keep your entire catch including Berried Females and undersized Redclaw.

The link below will hopefully reduce the confusion regarding returning or keeping your catch.


Redclaw Feast
Redclaw Feast

Safety Considerations and Conclusion

Always prioritize safety when engaging in any fishing activity. Be aware of your surroundings, use appropriate equipment, and follow local guidelines. By combining the right gear, baiting techniques, and a patient approach, beginners can embark on a redclaw-catching adventure in Queensland dams with confidence.

In conclusion, catching redclaw in Queensland dams is not just about the thrill of the catch; it’s a holistic experience that connects you with nature. Use this guide to enhance your redclaw-catching skills and contribute to the sustainable enjoyment of this unique crustacean adventure in the picturesque dams of Queensland. Happy fishing!


    • Hi Ken,
      Catching Redclaw does not need a license however if you were also fishing in a dam or lake which requires a SIP yes you would.
      Just Redclawing, no.

      Great question, thank you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *