Sure, there are some top fishing spots, but the real watering holes are the trio of pubs along this quiet waterway on the border of New South Wales and Queensland.

Story By John Dunn

The stretch of water around Yetman provides the best cod and yellowbelly in the entire Murray-Darling system,” claims Fred Moore, president of the local fishing club. “We’re proud of our river.”
Club members regularly assemble along the banks of the meandering Macintyre River in far north New South Wales, and appropriately they meet at Yetman’s Cod Fish Hotel Motel. There’s not much else in Yetman these days, but the fish still bite and for many that’s really all that matters. “All our funds go into propagation to ensure the fish numbers stay high,” Fred says.
The Cod Fish Hotel Motel is known far and wide among fishermen and women as the place to come when rods and lines are being assembled. It also supplies trophies for the big event of the year, an annual Easter fishing competition, which draws hopefuls from far away.
Certainly, there are great fishing spots along the slow-flowing Macintyre, full of catfish, cod and yellowbelly. But just as importantly, and perhaps more so for many, are the Macintyre’s trio of hotels, which sit near the riverbank, acting as thirst-quenchers for hard-working stockmen, patient fishermen, tourists and the townsfolk of the border towns.
The Macintyre, one of the headwaters of the Murray-Darling system, meanders through south-west Queensland and the north of New South Wales, forming the division between the two states along some of its course. From the Northern Tablelands west of Guyra, NSW, it heads north-west and incorporates the Dumaresq River before eventually becoming the Barwon. Named after Peter Macintyre, a Scot who came to Australia in 1825 and opened squatting runs on the Liverpool Plains, its course winds through diverse agricultural country every bit as varied as the three hotels that stand close to its wooded banks: the Victoria in Goondiwindi, the Wobbly Boot in Boggabilla and the Cod Fish in Yetman.
The Cod Fish has the most direct link to the river because of its fishing tradition. For thousands of years, the local Bigambul people used the river for plentiful and easily obtained food. Then, once the original hotel was built in 1866, it became a popular base for visiting anglers so they didn’t have far to go to the river’s shady banks.
“It’s good to have the fishermen here,” says Ann McMillan who now runs the hotel where she has worked for the last 18 years. “It’s been tough for them in recent years because of the drought, but at the moment conditions are good. We get clubs and groups and we look after them well.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #74

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2011