Glenlyon Dam Tourist Park’s south Queensland location makes it the perfect base for some premier inland fishing.

Story and photos John Denman

It’s not often that a caravan park is created to service a particular recreational need, but that’s precisely the case with Glenlyon Dam Tourist Park. Located 70 kilometres west of Tenterfield, NSW, just over the Queensland border, the park has been attracting anglers since Brian and Debbie Dare started it in January 1988. “There was an awful lot of work to be done then, and it’s still going today,” Debbie says.
The park has 10 comfortable cabins, with most facing the waters of Glenlyon Dam, and showers and toilets are just a short walk away. There are also 90 camp sites, half of which are powered, and Debbie takes the compatibility of her guests into account when allocating them. “You never put a bunch of young blokes next to a family if it can be avoided,” she says. “We get a lot of group bookings too, so you need to place people where they’ll be happiest and enjoy their stay.”
The location of the sites has also been carefully considered. “We have set out our sites so that there is plenty of room around the tent or caravan,” Debbie says. “Because a lot of our clients come here with boats, they need that bit of extra space, so our sites are bigger than the specifications laid down by the shire.”
To further assist visitors, all bookings are done by phone. “If you physically talk to a person you know that everything is understood,” Debbie says. “It’s a lot more personal than email.”

The location of the park, near the Queensland/New South Wales border, means that there are similar numbers of visitors from both states. People from further afield usually make the trip because they’ve heard that Glenlyon Dam is a premier spot for inland fishing. The dam is a stocked impoundment, which means that it’s man-made and the fish are put in as fingerlings. This task is undertaken by 14 hardworking members of the Glenlyon Dam Fish Restocking Group, who ensure there are always fish to be hooked. Since this costs money, anyone wanting to fish will need a Stocked Impoundment Permit, available from the kiosk.
All fishing at Glenlyon is recreational, and the main species are yellowbelly (or golden perch) and Murray cod, with plenty of silver perch and catfish sharing the water. Fishing is done using both bait and lures, and limits are imposed by Queensland regulations (information is available at the kiosk). Visitors don’t need to own a boat – or have a boat licence, for that matter – as the park offers three 3.6-metre tinnies with four-horsepower motors. Premium, unleaded and diesel fuel, and two-stroke oil are available on site. In addition, the kiosk is full of suitable fishing tackle, including fresh worms for bait as well as traps to get shrimp. “We’ll even tell first-timers how to go about putting a trap in and what to do with the catch,” Debbie says.
The ongoing drought means that the dam is, at the time of going to print, at 14.5 percent capacity, although Debbie and Brian have seen it at as low as 2.2pc. “It’s hard to believe, but we were still catching fish even at 2.2pc,” Brian says.
For those thinking about taking a fishing trip here, it’s important to book ahead. Peak times are in the warmer months because that’s when the yellowbelly are most active. “They just don’t bite as well in the colder months,” Brian says. “Anyway, it gets pretty cold out there on the water in winter.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #52

Outback Magazine: Apr/may 2007