Australia is renowned for its legendary fishing spots. From cool Southern waters to the Tropical Top End, we’re surrounded by fish-rich coastline. However, ever-changing fish migration patterns make it hard to know where these magical spots are hidden.
Some fishing enthusiasts prefer serene lakes and rivers while others enjoy throwing a line off a pier. With this in mind, we have put together five spots loved by fishers Australia-wide.
1. Cairns, Queensland
If you dream of huge black marlins, North Queensland is the place to be. The Great Barrier Reef north of Cairns has been named the world’s ‘black marlin capital’. Statistics from the International Game Fishing Association show 70% of black marlin caught here exceed 455kg. Wow!
Tropical waters adjacent to the reef and along the continental shelf harbour bait fish, yellow-fin tuna, plankton, barracuda, wahoo, trevally and sailfish. Cast from the shore or cruise mangrove-fringed rivers for barramundi. Many charters are available from Cairns, catering for reef, estuary and fly fishing in addition to live-aboard trips. Cairns has an international airport, making it accessible for travelling anglers. Fishing season runs from September through to December, so we recommend visiting then.
Bordering the world’s largest fringing reef, Exmouth is one of earth’s most diverse fishing locations. Exmouth is a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Perth. Between March and October, Exmouth’s crystal-clear waters are famous for whale sharks and myriad fish species. Cast a line for milkfish, blue bone, queenfish, bonefish, cobia, trevally, mahi mahi and tuna. The continental shelf is a few kilometres from the reef’s edge and is perfect for deep sea fishing.
Cast a line across crystalline flats or prowl Ningaloo lagoon for bonefish. Trolling, fly, lure and bait fishing are all permitted. However, we recommend booking guides well in advance. Ningaloo Marine Park includes several sanctuary zones where fishing is prohibited; check for restrictions before casting a line.
3. Cape York, Queensland
Australia’s northern tip, Cape York, has a reputation for great fishing. Famous for its pristine white sand beaches, deserted islands and fish-rich waters, Cape York is a popular tourist spot. It’s home to marine species including barramundi, cobia, trevally, queenfish, mackerel and cod. Tuna and mangrove jack are also common catches here.
Fish for baby barramundis in billabongs, cast along inshore reefs for coral trout or try your luck chucking a line off the rocky headland. The area is only accessible by 4WD; to avoid a bumpy drive, fly two hours from Cairns into Weipa or Bamaga and stay in a remote fishing lodge. Alternatively, book a boat trip. Whatever your choice, beware of salt-water crocodiles!
Tasmania’s Central Highlands are laced with more than 3,000 lakes; many are perfect for trout fishing. Catching a fish here is a rewarding feeling. Wild brown and rainbow trout are tough catches, even for experienced anglers. Approximately one hour from Launceston, Arthurs Lake (open between August and May) is a prime fishing spot for brown trout.
Mid-autumn is peak fishing season. Highland waters are great for wet fly-fishing, particularly in spring. Tassie’s east coast is also known for ocean fishing. South Esk, Macquarie, and Brumby’s Creek are the most popular rivers surrounding Launceston. Dress in layers -Tassie is known for sudden weather changes.
The Northern Territory’s tropical tip, encompassing Darwin and Kakadu National Park, is also known as the “barra build-up”. Legendary for its barramundi fishing, the Top End is a prime spot to sink a line. We recommend fishing here from October to December. During this period fish school in local billabongs and saltwater estuaries before wet-season.
Between February and May, you’ll find barramundis congregating at river mouths. Prime spots include Mary River at Shady Camp, Daily River and Adelaide River. If you’re fishing by boat we recommend the South and East Alligator River, located in world heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.
During dry-season (May to November), deep-sea and reef fishing are popular. Stay at a fishing lodge, hire a boat or book a guided trip. Regardless of season, watch out for salt-water crocs.
And there you have it – our top five Aussie fishing spots. Are there any amazing spots we’ve missed?
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