A crocodile believed to be responsible for the death of a spear fisher in far north Queensland has evaded capture but wildlife authorities predict it won't dodge them for long.
Warren Hughes, 35, disappeared on Saturday after diving from his dinghy off Palmer Point, north of Innisfail.
His body was pulled from waters south of Palmer Point around 8am on Monday.
The avid diver and underwater hockey player suffered injuries consistent with being mauled by a large crocodile, police said.
Wildlife officers had found the "target animal" during a patrol of the Russell River area overnight but didn't catch it, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection's Dr Matt Brien said on Tuesday.
"An attempt to remove it was unsuccessful and wildlife officers followed the crocodile for approximately two hours before it submerged," Dr Brien said.
"But we are confident that this particular animal will not evade capture for long."
It came after wildlife officers believed the same four-metre crocodile, with something in its mouth, charged at their boat on Sunday night when they were searching for Mr Hughes.
Officers have been authorised by the department to use lethal force if necessary.
There are now plans to deploy two traps and do another vessel-based patrol on Tuesday night.
A trap was also set in the Johnstone River on Sunday night after teenager Lee de Paauw was mauled after acting on a dare to swim at night in the croc-infested waters.
It was empty when checked by rangers on Tuesday morning.
But the injured 18-year-old has said he doesn't want the saltie who savaged him to suffer for it.
"I don't want that crocodile harmed. I want it to have a happy life," he told the Nine Network from his hospital bed on Monday.