The Rivers of Cooktown – Endeavour, Annan, Bloomfield and McIvor
The Endeavour River was named by Captain James Cook who in 1770 hauled his damaged boat ‘The Endeavour’ into the river to repair it after it had sprung a leak on the reef. He stayed 7 weeks and made the most of his stay. The Endeavour is the only river to be named by Cook.
The beauty of this river is that today as you sit at the wharf looking across to North Shore and up the river you are seeing the same sight that Jimmy Cook would have seen. There are no developments, no resorts, just a whole lot of nature.
The Endeavour river starts at the port of Cooktown and meanders north past the communities of Marton, Endeavour Valley and beyond. The Endeavour is diverse. Wide at the mouth, progressing northwards it is lined with over 25 species of mangroves; it then branches and changes dramatically to narrow creeks lined with palms and rainforest flora.
Some excellent fishing can be found in the North Arm, casting lures to the numerous snags and fallen giants of the Rainforest that litter the waterway. Barramundi are probably the predominant species, but jacks, fingermark, trevally, barracuda and sharks could show up at any time.
A day spent fishing the North Arm whilst being silently manoeuvred around by electric motor enjoying all of nature’s little jewels is a day you’ll never forget and if the fish are really on it doesn’t get any better. Remember, it’s not just the fishing, it’s where you’re fishing. A commercial fishery would never compare to this. A truly wild and beautiful place.
The Annan is situated 5 minutes south of Cooktown. The Annan is a shorter estuarine system than the Endeavour and subtly different. Barra fishing can be had up and down the river and out into the mouth at Walker Bay where some big saltwater barra can be had both on lures, fly and liveys. Big jacks and fingermark are a common catch plus all your usual queenfish, trevally’s etc.
Fly or lurecast from ‘Gadget’ whilst underway on a silent electric motor in and around the mouth of the Annan and Esk or out into Walker Bay where Dawson and Collishaw reefs lie 3 nautical miles away. Fish the southern end of Walker Bay amongst the mangroves, mud flats, rocky headlands, coral bommies, sand bars and casurina beaches all within 2 km of the river mouth.
A beautiful little river set in the northern end of the wet tropics with a magnificent back drop of spectacular mountains and rainforest.
Good barra, jacks, fingermark, trevally, queenfish and salmon are caught regularly throughout the system, but like most fishing timing is every thing.
Plenty of deep holes, weed beds and snags to explore with lures, fly and live-baits.
Cooktown is 1½ hours drive away making it a great day out.
Lying approximately 20 nautical miles north of Cooktown; up and around Cape Bedford.
The McIvor is a truly unique fishery. Coral reef lye just offshore; flats fishing possibilities abound at the mouth in the right weather. Big sand dunes come down to the river inside the mouth, where lots of fun can be had with queenies and trevally on Poppers.
The river twists its way up through the mangroves passing deep holes and snags, junctions, rock bars etc.
Fishing can be awesome with many methods working well on all your usual estuarine tropical fish. Certainly an area that’s unique and well worth an exploration.