The waters of Australia’s Northern Territory are abundant with sport fish and reef fish such as giant trevally, red emperor and Spanish mackerel but it’s the barramundi fishing that is a magnet for serious anglers. In the Northern Territory, you’ll find barramundi lurking in tidal rivers, estuaries and freshwater billabongs. They are big (the average is about one metre long) and can be a challenge to hook.
If you’ve never picked up a fishing rod there’s a big incentive to give Barramundi fishing a try. There’s a A$1 million barramundi swimming around out there. The million dollar fish and another 75 barramundi worth A$10,000 were tagged and released as part of a tourism campaign that started on started on October 1, 2015.
There’s still time to join the Million Dollar Fish competition and catch yourself a fortune. The competition ends on February 29, 2016. At last count six of these expensive fish were caught and there are still 71 swimming around.
So if you’ve ever thought about going Barramundi fishing, the Northern Territory is the place. Here are our top barramundi fishing spots in the Northern Territory to get you going.
Once you’ve arrived in Darwin, you don’t need to go far to land a Barra. Just ask Liam Hale, who was the first to reel in one of those $10,000 ones in the Million Dollar Fish competition.
Darwin Harbour is one of the best places to go barramundi fishing during the wet season, which is normally not the best time of year to fish. You’ll find the in the estuaries around Darwin Harbour or the mangroves and tidal creeks of Shoal Bay and Bynoe Harbour.
One of the Northern Territory’s top spots is about 250 km from Darwin. Daly River is the spot where you’re likely to catch a big one. 10 kg is not uncommon and some can weigh as much as 20 kg.
The Barra Classic and Barra Nationals Fishing Competitions are held here.
Several operators have fishing tours to Daly River, including Barra Mania, Obsession Fishing and Daly River Barramundi Charters. Daly River Barra Resort has direct access to the river and accommodation in air-conditioned units as well as caravan and camping sites.
3-The Roper River
The Roper River is in the Katharine region and flows from Elsey National Park to the Gulf of Carpentaria. It has some of the Northern Territory’s best barramundi run-off fishing.
You can charter the Iron Lady on the (you fly to the river by sea plane) Roper River and catch barra with the help of the on board fishing guides, who know all the top spots
A remote and pristine wilderness area, Arnhemland is an aboriginal reserve where you can expect to catch lots of barramundi. Arnhemland’s tidal rivers, mangrove-lined estuaries and coastal waters offer some of the best fishing experiences in the country.
It’s also the place to go for a luxury fishing experience.
Arnhemland Barramundi Nature Lodge has been recently refurbished. The lodge has 12 air-conditioned Safari Suites (opening 1 March 2016) and the lodge provides access to six Arnhemland rivers as well as lagoons and creeks.
5-Kakadu National Park
You need to fish with a licenced guide in World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Take a day tour or a longer fishing tour on the South Alligator River in Kakadu National Park with River and Reef, Kakadu Fishing Tours or FishTheTopEnd. Yellow Water Fishing Tours has day fishing tours suitable for families and the Yellow Water Cruise is worth doing too.
There are four major river systems – the Wildman River, the West Alligator River, the South Alligator River and the East Alligator River.
The Mary River is a 225km river in the Mary River region. The most popular fishing spot in Mary River is Shady Camp, which has boat ramps and picnic areas. Northern Territory Fisheries Research monitors the barramundi population in the Mary River system to ensure that barramundi fishing is sustainable for the future.
Kakadu National Park is also famous for its crocodile tours and there are beautiful billabongs, birds and has one of the most diverse eco systems in the world.
Discover Northern Territory
There are three seasons to choose from when planning a fishing trip in the Northern Territory.
The dry season (May to September) is a great time to visit for barramundi in big tidal rivers, freshwater, coastal mangrove estuaries and creeks. The build up to the wet season (between October and December) is hot and humid but is also a good time to fish in the saltwater estuaries.
Avoid the wet season (January to March) but the after mid-March the conditions are perfect for barramundi. It’s called the runoff and is a busy time for local anglers so it can be a bit crowded.