SEQ Jungle Perch

All the things about Jungle Perch in South East Queensland you had no idea about..


Did you know that 25 - 100 years ago, jungle perch were quite common all throughout SEQ and northern NSW?

Back in the day, the upper reaches of all our major rivers would consist of crystal clear water that had filtered down through the mountains, hills, natural rainforests and vegetated catchment areas. This natural filtration system provided the right environment for jungle perch to live and breed in nearly all our major rivers and smaller offshoots/creeks that had filtered down from higher ground.

Over time, man kind has cleared mass amounts of vegetation and rain forrest for farmland, housing, towns/cities and roads ect. They've also built man made lakes, weirs, bridges and different types of waterway crossings that create barriers to fish passage. All these things are responsible for the massive decline in jungle perch numbers in SEQ and throughout the country. This has also led to the end of their existence in many of our local creeks and rivers.

Being involved behind the scenes of Sunshine Coast Fishing since 2014 has allowed me keep an eye on all the reported JP captures and slowly join some major pieces of the puzzle together on isolated populations. JP’s are a major indicator of the health of our waterways and the fact they are nearly non existent anymore tells us we need to try and do something about it before it’s too late!

In my attempts to make a difference and get the ball rolling I’ve been lucky enough to connect with Matt Moore from Catchment Solutions. Check out some of the amazing fish passage restoration's his team has recently completed throughout Brisbane. It’s a must watch video!

For the past three years, Catchment Solutions has been part of a project that identified more than 13 000 barriers to fish passage in South East Queensland, across 14 catchments. These movement barriers include weirs, culverts, bridge crossings, walkways, roads and tidal bunds. 

Barriers were prioritised in order to develop potential remediation options that would allow fish to complete their migratory life-cycles, often between estuarine and freshwater environments. A number of sites were then selected for remediation to have fish ladders or ‘fishways’ designed and constructed as part of the project to demonstrate the effectiveness of these types of structures. This video highlights the fishways and the monitoring that occurred following remediation works with outstanding results in fish passage rehabilitation.

This project was co-funded by local councils and Reef Catchments NRM through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. Fishway design and construction was delivered by Catchment Solutions.

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Like myself, Matt Moore has been tracking JP captures over the years and we’d love to use the information on isolated JP populations to approach our local councils and government to get a similar project underway on the Sunshine Coast. Just imagine how much of a difference a project like this could make! Some of our creeks and streams have been cut off/blocked for over 20 years…

Here’s a little success story form one of the restoration projects in the heart of Brisbane. Stewie McGrath caught and released this JP in a heavily populated area where a restoration project had been completed.


Jay Hardgraves hooked this absolutely beautiful JP fishing in the rain one day on the Sunshine Coast! It would be great to know if these fish are successfully breeding or have been trapped by man made obstacles!


Jack Day caught and released this little JP on a lure down at his local creek on the Sunshine Coast! We’d love to find about about more captures on the coast to help us develop a project which could increase local numbers and breeding cycles.


Ryan Drew caught this beast a few years ago on the Sunshine Coast! He’d like to keep the location a secret but information on captures like this could really help Matt Moore and myself to develop a revitalisation project on the species!


A few years ago there was a government funded restocking/breeding program based at Bribie Island which took quite a few years to perfect. It required endless amounts of trial and error to successfully breed JP’s to the stage they could be released back into our freshwater creeks and streams. This is one of the fish Matt caught and was used as breeding stock at the Bribie Island facility..

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This fish was captured in 2008 as part of the Fisheries Breeding program that ran is SEQ. It was sent down to Bribie Island and became one of the broodstock fish.. After many attemps, a small number of fingerlings were raised and then reintroduced into a limited number of creeks between the Gold and Sunshine Coast. The re-introduction locations have been kept pretty quiet. In some cases, the fingerlings were found to in-habit the exact same pool and the exact same boulder as where their mum/dad was captured!

Well known Gold Coast fisherman Mick Horn caught and released this mid 30cm fish somewhere in the Gold Coast hinterland in 2015! Information on captures like this could really help us work out if this fish could've been stocked or part of an unknown population.


This fish was caught a few yers ago in the Mary River by Brett Habener. Apparently he and his mate Andrew seen a few sooty’s feeding in the shallows and one of them was a slightly different colour. When they casted to the fish, this beast beat the sooty’s to the lure and could be the biggest/oldest reported JP capture in SEQ over the last 6 - 10 years.


If you have any type of information that could help us… Reports, sightings, captures, pictures or any information from the NSW border to the Fraser coast, please get in touch with myself directly. All information shared will be kept in complete confidence and only ever shared with the required governing bodies that can help make a difference!

Hope to hear from you guys soon and look forward to giving an update on our progress.


Dean Jackson

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