When we returned to one of our favourite mussel spots, we discovered the water levels had risen thanks to all the recent downpours.
We dug around at the edges for a good 15 minutes not finding any mussels. In the end, we went deeper in with the water up to our necks and found them buried in the mud.
We had our work cut out for us this trip, finding mussels with our feet and carefully picking them up with our feet, or diving down to scrabble around in the mud until we ran out of air! Mussels are always worth it though!
So you are probably wondering where to hunt freshwater mussels. I won't give away too much as that detracts from the pleasure of hunter-gatherer adventures. However, here are some signs to look out for.
Freshwater mussels can be found along the edges of rivers, billabongs, and lakes around Far North Queensland. They like soft sandy soil or mud to burrow in. One particular prolific Queensland variety - Velesunio ambiguous, is found in bodies of still water like dams and billabongs.
Broken shells can be half buried or muddy so look closely.
It is also handy to have a bucket of clean freshwater at hand to store the mussels in until you cook them. This is also known as purging – see how to purge freshwater mussels.
As a nudge in the right direction, two places in Far North Queensland where you can find freshwater mussels are the Cattana Wetlands in Cairns, and the Tinaroo Dam up on the Tablelands. Mind you, there are crocodiles in the wetlands so don't go traipsing in the water's edge looking for mussels!