Sooty Grunter

Fish Species Of North Queensland

Sooty Grunter¬†–¬†Hephaestus fuliginosus

The Sooty Grunter is found in the upper fresh water reaches of our tropical rivers and are usually very active feeders in the clearing waters following heavy rain fall. They hit hard and provide great entertainment for light tackle sports fishing enthusiasts.

They will take small lures, poppers and flies, with a three kilo spinning outfit being ideal. You will find them in back eddies and the edge of deeper holes, under overhanging timber or foliage, and out in the middle of the shallows sitting behind any type of structure.

They are also partial to a bit of red meat hooked and drifted into the river snags by the current, using as little weight as possible.


This fish has been successfully stocked in Lake Tinaroo on the Atherton Tableland, with spectacular growth rates achieved as a result of the enormous amount of natural food occurring in the lake.

Fish of over nine pounds have destroyed many an unsuspecting anglers pride, crash diving on any small lure cast around the drowned tree tops and burying the angler in a split second.

World record fish have come from this impoundment. Most river caught fish however, are in the two to three pound range.

The “Sooty” is quite edible and makes a great camping meal.


Estuarine Crocodiles inhabit these waters. Caution must be taken when fishing in all our coastal areas, rivers and streams. Crocodile attacks are rare, but they do occur, caution and vigilance is the key. Crocodiles have been spotted way out to sea, and miles upstream in fresh water, so always be on the lookout.

This little Croc was spotted around 40km upstream from the river mouth.

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