Perth, Western Australia

Perth tides
Perth stocked waters
Perth dam levels
WA fishing regulations
WA marine parks

Perth fishing is centred upon the bluewater, with the Swan River offering sheltered estuary fishing.

Perth anglers catch tropical and temperate fish. There is an annual run of blue swimmer crabs and prawns, and some regional dams and rivers are stocked with trout.

Rottnest Island lies offshore and offers shelter and fishing spots for boaters and landbased visitors, while the waters of Cockburn Sound inside Garden Island offer sheltered fishing for trailerboaters.

To the south of Perth is Mandurah, with three rivers flowing into Peel Inlet, the Serpentine to the north, the Murray to the east, and the Harvey to the south.

Bluewater fishing in Perth is very much seasonal, affected by the Leeuwin Current, which pushes warm water south along the coast, keeping the sea at 17C to 25C off Perth.

Around Perth, spanish mackerel and tailor can be caught in consecutive casts, as can pink snapper and queenfish.

Boat-based game anglers catch southern bluefin, striped, big eye and yellowfin tuna, dolphin fish, wahoo, samson fish, kingfish, and black and blue marlin.

Gamefishing is mainly in summer, but the La Nina in 2011 saw the strongest Leeuwin current in living memory and great fishing extended into winter.

This current can push fish usually found in tropical waters right around the south-west coast into the Southern Ocean in summer months.

Big pink snapper are taken off rock groynes after heavy weather.

Herring (called tommy ruffs in South Australia) are often abundant, as are silver trevally (locally called skippy).

Salmon are usually available in surf, and tailor, and the Swan River has plenty of black bream.

WA’s southern coastline, from Perth though to the South Australian border, is home to mainly temperate species such as salmon, mulloway, herring and sand whiting, with pink snapper, samson fish and spotted whiting offshore.

Off much of Perth, coastal beaches have shallow reef nearby, which extends north up the coast to Yanchep, Guilderton, Lancelin, Cervantes, Jurien Bay, Leeman and Port Denison.

The 10km-long Garden Island barrier creates the relatively calm waters of Cockburn Sound where snapper, king george whiting, herring and squid are caught on the sheltered east side, and dhufish, samson, tailor and salmon on the western reefs.

The deeper channels on the east side have snapper and mulloway after dark, and blue swimmer crabs in the shallows. Look for areas of sand and seagrass beds.

Most of Garden Island is Navy land and off limits. Some of the island is a nature reserve, with beach access for boaters.

Carnac Island to the north has seagrass beds on the east side produce squid and herring, with the ocean side producing samson, dhufish and snapper.

Mewstone and Rowboat Rocks to the north-east of Carnac Island hold herring, trevally, king george whiting, samson and tailor.

Big tailor inhabit the white water around the rocks. The local Gravel Patches have snapper, with many boats anchored over these areas each evening.

The snapper sometimes aggregate in big schools. There are several boat ramps that give access to the Sound.

Sea conditions depend on time of year, however the sound remains reasonably safe in all but the strongest winds.

A popular weekend trip for Perth fishos is to drive north to S-Bend Caravan Park, south of Greenough where tailor, samson and even dhufish are caught off the rocks.

A seaworthy bluewater boat is needed to fish Perth’s coastal waters.

Perth waters fall into WA Fisheries’ West Coast Zone and special rules are in place to combat overfishing.

A closed season of October 15 to December 15 applies to the taking or landing of demersal finfish.

If you catch a demersal finfish from a boat or from shore in this area during the closed season you must return it to the water as soon as possible.

This reduction was introduced following research that showed demersal species, like dhufish, pink snapper and baldchin groper, were being overfished.

How to fish Perth

Seasons

Garfish – best in winter.
Herring – Summer sees huge schools. Use berley and small hooks. They bite day and night.
Mackerel – when the water wide of Perth reaches 22C the spanish mackerel may show, usually after Christmas. West End is a good spot. Watch for reports from up the coast as the fish move south.
Bonito – abundant in season. Can be caught land-based at North Mole, Woodman Point and Trigg. Summer, autumn.
Dhufish – usually caught around deeper reefs, but some are caught on shallow reefs and even from shore.
Flathead – usually run into the Swan River about December.
Mahi mahi – WA’s offshore FADs have small fish in early summer, with bigger fish coming later.
Mulloway – best in the Swan in early summer. Try Mosmans and the Narrows, and Scarborough and Mandurah beaches.
Pink snapper – widely available on reefy ground. Be aware of snapper restrictions in Cockburn Sound. Can be caught from many rock groynes during winter storms.
Salmon – autumn and winter.
Samson – from December until March, best in March. Schools of big fish show up. Wrecks are best.
Skippy – winter for bigger fish.
Tailor – all year.
Yellowfin tuna – summer.
Whiting – for large yellowfin whiting, try fishing the Swan River at night at East Fremantle and Claremont.
Squid – try Garden Island, and jetties with night lights.
Crabs – summer and autumn. Mandurah is popular, but before Christmas try deeper parts of the Swan River for bigger crabs.

Plenty of snapper can be caught outside the Cockburn seasonally closed zone, as the fish feed around many local reefs and weedbeds.

Try the reefs between Garden and Carnac Islands, but be aware of the exclusion zone boundary.

The northern suburbs reefs are best after dark. Pink snapper can be caught from Perth rock groynes and jetties, with the best being North Mole at the mouth of the Swan River, and the ASI groyne.

Palm Jetty and Rockingham Jetty are good, as are the two small groynes at City Beach.

In winter, storms bring larger pink snapper in close where they are caught from land-based locations. North Mole and South Mole groynes have an added bonus, with big mulloway that feed in the river mouth after heavy rain.

Night fishing is good for land-based snapper, however sharks and rays are a nuisance.

During and after winter storms, try for tailor and mulloway near the reefs at Triggs, Yanchep, and North Cottesloe and also near the Swanbourne Drain.

Herring, gar, squid, skippy, salmon, and tailor are also plentiful around the groynes at times, so there is often something else to catch when snapper are not around.

Bait, lures & tackle

Mulloway are best targeted with livebait. Squid are readily available and make good bait, being particularly effective as fresh or live bait for mulloway and kingfish.

Of the packet baits, prawns, bluebait, whitebait and pilchards work well on juvenile salmon, herring, bream and snapper.

Pilchards presented on ganged hooks work well for surf salmon.

Herring fillets make great snapper bait.

Paternoster rigs are standard fare when beach and boat fishing in SA, using light star sinkers and small long-shank hooks.

For black bream, running sinker or weightless rigs work well. Gar and herring are often targeted using float-fishing methods, and floats can be useful when rock fishing for sweep.

Lures: Small soft plastics and minnows work well on black bream, with chrome slices the best casting lure for salmon, snook and silver trevally.

Squid jigs are a must in the tackle box, and large baited jigs work well on big SA squid.

Weather & tides

Perth’s tides are fairly small. The region is well known for its powerful sea breeze, dubbed “The Doctor”.

Special features

Perth’s clear blue waters and mix of tropical and temperate species is quite special.

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Email us any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

Some external videos filmed around Perth are featured below.

Swan River fishing

Jigging Perth dhufish

Perth snapper fishing

Perth whiting and flathead fishing

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Sydney, NSW

Fish Sydney with Fishabout Tours.

Sydney tides
Sydney offshore artificial reef
John Dunphy artificial reef
Botany Bay artificial reef
NSW stocked waters
Sydney dam levels
NSW dam levels
NSW fishing regulations
NSW marine parks

Sydney has outstanding fishing. Within a short drive of the CBD are Port Hacking and the Georges River, the Botany Bay Recreational Fishing Haven, scenic Sydney Harbour, Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River, and various freshwater fishing locations.

At least 53 fishable species are available.

Southern species form the bulk of the catch but tropical fish stray into Sydney waters, including mangrove jacks, giant trevally, giant herring, estuary cod and spangled emperor.

There are both trout and native bass in the hills. Offshore and estuarine artificial reefs have been installed.

Sydney has spectacular estuaries, with protected deepwater bays and flooded valleys like Cowan Waters and Middle Harbour, as well as mangrove-lined, sandbank-studded waters in the upper Hawkesbury, Lane Cove, Parramatta and Georges Rivers.

Some of the best land-based gamefishing spots in Australia lie between Sydney and Jervis Bay to the south and Forster-Tuncurry to the north, just a couple of hours drive either way.

The platforms to the north include classics such as The Ovens, South Avoca, Wybung, Tomaree, Seal Rocks and Charlotte Head.

Northern bluefin tuna are the mainstay, with black marlin, spanish mackerel and yellowtail kingfish as well.

Other rock fishing areas include Sydney’s Royal National Park, Middle Head and the Kiama Blowholes.

All are an easy daytrip.

There is no shortage of scenic rock fishing for drummer, luderick, bream, tailor, jewfish, salmon, bonito and snapper.

For freshwater fishos, the Coxs and Wollondilly Rivers and rivers and dams near Lithgow, Oberon and Orange are the better trout spots.

To the south are Burrinjuck and Wyangala dams, offering trout, yellowbelly and murray cod.

Barrington Tops to the north is a rugged, scenic area with lots of small trout.

Glenbawn Dam, three hours north of Sydney, has huge yellowbelly.

The Hawkesbury has some huge bass.

How to fish Sydney

Seasons

In the more open areas such as Broken Bay and lower Sydney Harbour, summer sees an influx of baitfish which attracts pelagic fish.

In all but the worst weather, kingfish, bonito, salmon, tailor, frigate mackerel, striped and mack tuna are available to anglers in small boats.

NSW surf beaches are some of the best in the country and Sydney is no exception.

Sydney’s northern suburbs have great beaches like Whale, Curl Curl, Narrabeen, and Palm.

In winter tailor are caught, with occasional salmon and silver trevally.

Things really start to pick up off the beaches in about November and continue through to May.

With the warmer northern currents whiting, bream, flathead and jewfish bite.

Using worms and pipis for bait, classic catches can be made.

Big jewfish are quite common, but fresh or live bait is required to catch them.

Sydney’s generally moderate weather means offshore grounds are accessible for all but a few weeks of the year.

There is usually trouble-free offshore access through deep river and harbour entrances.

Offshore options are divided into three categories – out to the 30m grounds, then the middle 30m to 100m grounds, and wide from 100m to the Continental Shelf.

The closer reefs require skill to produce the goods but the river and harbour heads, islands and bommies and the flathead drifts produce well.

Trolling or baitfishing the headlands, particularly in summer, works well.

Species commonly caught include kingfish, bonito, tailor and bream.

The more recognised middle grounds, at roughly between 4km and 6km offshore, include Broken Bay wide, The Whale, Long Reef Wide, The Peak and the 4 and 6 mile.

It is these middle grounds that the more serious bottom fishers catch kingfish, snapper, morwong, trevally, jewfish, dory and jackets, to name a few.

Pelagic fish include yellowfin tuna, dolphin fish, wahoo, sharks and marlin.

The wide grounds require a serious boat.

Spots include the Peak Wide, Outer Long Reef and Broken Bay wide between 6km and 12km out, and the Shelf and Browns Mountain at 25km to 35km wide.

These are the domain of big game fish including blue black and striped marlin, big yellowfin tuna and sharks including tigers, makos, whalers and whites.

Albacore and striped tuna are common in this area.

The wide grounds inside the shelf offer superb bottom fishing, but conditions must be right because of the depths where blue-eye trevalla, hapuku, bass groper, gemfish and deep sea perch live.

Use modern thin lines, heavy leads and winches.

Tides & weather

Tides, currents and barometric pressure are the considerations for offshore trips.

The best tide is between the run up and two hours after the high.

Too much current makes anchoring and sinking baits difficult.

Bottom fish bite better on a high barometer or just before a major front.

Summer months are best for offshore reef and surface fish.

There’s a slight fall in species in winter, namely jewfish, tarwhine and teraglin, but they are replaced with dory and trevally.

Winter is best for deep species like hapuku and blue-eye trevalla.

Many surface species move on in winter with the exception of yellowfin and albacore, which peak at this time, along with mako and blue sharks.

Like anywhere, freshwater fishing quality may be seasonal, depending on rainfall.

Bait & tackle

The huge variety of fishing around Syndey means that gear requirements vary greatly.

For most bread and buter fishing, a 6kg spinning outfit will land most fish.

Finer tackle may be required in some areas.

Sydney fish are well educated in some areas and the freshest bait should always be used, or live bait.

Chrome slice work well on salmon, tailor, tuna and kingfish.

Flathead respond well to soft plastic lures and mulloway can be caught on bibbed minnows and soft plastics.

Check before collecting bait as there are restrictions on collecting invertebrates in some areas.

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Email us any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

Some external videos filmed around Sydney are featured below.

Sydney fishing

Catching Sydney makos

Catching Sydney groper

A Sydney jetty tuna

Catching Hawkesbury River mulloway

Catching Sydney bream

Catching Sydney LB squid

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Melbourne, Victoria

Melbourne (Williamstown) tides
Victorian stocked fishing spots
Port Phillip fishing spots
Western Port fishing spots
Hopkins River fishing spots
Melbourne dam levels
VIC fishing regulations
VIC marine parks


Most fishing in Victoria is in Melbourne’s two large, shallow enclosed bays, Port Phillip and Western Port. But the city also has nearby stocked waters, and surf and rock fishing within easy reach.

Melbourne’s two giant bays are mainly sandy, with seagrass beds.

There is good boat and landbased fishing to be had within these bays, with boat ramps and jetties throughout.

Artificial reefs have been installed, and in recent times shellfish reef restoration projects have begun.

Pink snapper, spotted and sand whiting, yellow-eye mullet, black bream, luderick, garfish, flounder, flathead, salmon, silver trevally, estuary perch and squid are the main catch.

In the surf, salmon prevail, with gummy and school sharks, mulloway, pink snapper and tailor adding excitement.

Gummy and school sharks are highly regarded as table fare.

Mulloway and snapper move in close after storms, and mulloway are targeted when rain flushes estuaries and creeks.

Offshore, pink snapper, flathead and kingfish are the prime targets, with bluefin tuna, albacore and striped tuna also available.

Mako and thresher sharks are caught by dedicated anglers.

Fit fishos will find good rock fishing along the state’s rugged coastline within an easy day trip of the city.

A highlight is the southern rock lobster, found along reefy foreshores out to about 100m deep.

Despite increasing fishing pressure, Victorian fishing has improved in recent times.

Snapper are often abundant around Melbourne, and big tuna have made a comeback in the state’s west.

Kingfish are usually in good numbers.

Inland around Melbourne are many lakes and streams with both native fish and trout. See our Victorian fishing map for details.

Regular fish stocking of freshwater locations is undertaken, and the state is considering stocking of some marine waters.

Significant rivers fished by Melbourne anglers include include the Ovens, Goulburn, Patterson, King, Loddon, Barwon, Rubicon, Snowy, Yarra, Mitta, Hopkins, Merri and Kiewa.

Lakes that fish well include Bullen Merri, Burrumbeet, Eildon, Eppalock, Hume, Mulwala and Purrumbete.

A recreational fishing licence is required to fish.

Gear and bag restrictions apply, including a maximum of two hooks. Set lines, mesh nets, cast nets, snares and mussel rakes are banned.

How to fish Melbourne

Seasons

In Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay, juvenile salmon bite all year, while bream are best from June to November.

Flathead, garfish and spotted whiting are best in the bay in summer, with whiting biting through to April.

Silver trevally and snapper are best from October to May.

Mullet are from April to October.

Kingfish are best in summer.

Squid can be caught all year, but are usually best from June to October.

Mulloway bite well around Melbourne in winter.

Bait, lures & tackle

Pilchards, bluebait, prawns and squid are popular baits.

For pink snapper, fish fillets or small whole fish work well.

For those who make the effort, local bait such as worms and bass yabbies, can make all the difference.

Lure fishing is popular, especially for salmon and kingfish, where chrome slices are a good all-round lure.

Bream and estuary perch are often targeted with small minnow lures and soft plastics.

Paternoster rigs are popular for bait fishing.

In Victoria’s estuaries, with small tides and often clear water, a light-tackle approach is crucial.

The fishing is easier in estuaries when the water dirties.

Weather

Victoria’s climate varies widely, despite the state’s small size.

It is semi-arid temperate with hot summers in the north-west, and temperate and cool along the coast.

The Great Dividing Range produces a cooler, mountain climate in state’s centre.

Winters along the coast are mild.

Victoria is the second wettest state after Tasmania.

The Victorian Alps in the north-east are the coldest part of Victoria.

Rainfall increases from south to north, with more rain at high altitude.

Rain is heaviest in the Otway Ranges and Gippsland in southern Victoria, and in the mountainous north-east.

Rain falls most frequently in winter, but bouts of summer rain are heavier.

At Melbourne Airport the mean wind speed is between 20km/h and 24km/h through the year, with April, May and June being calmest and August and September the windiest.

Melbourne winds tend to blow northerly in winter, and southerly in summer.

Easterlies are rare.

Winter fronts bring gales, while summer brings strong afternoon sea breezes.

Victoria’s tidal range is small, being near 1m at Portland and under 2m at the NSW border.

Special features

Some Victorian fishermen target the seasonal elephant shark run in Western Port between March and May.

The unusual and very large seven gill shark frequents both of Melbourne’s bays.

The volcanic crater that is Lake Purrumbete produces unusually high growth rates in trout, and is also stocked with chinook salmon, as is Lake Bullen Merri.

Many Victorian estuaries have estuary perch, a fish that looks like Australian bass. They sometimes respond well to baits and lures on ultralight gear, but are notoriously fickle.

Squid, snapper and spotted whiting are Victorian staples.

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Email us any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

Some external videos filmed around Melbourne are featured below.

Gummy sharks

Port Phillip flathead

Docklands LB snapper

iFish at Port Phillip

Port Phillip snapper

Melbourne landbased YouTube page

Melbourne pike fishing

Fishing the warmies

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Adelaide, South Australia

Adelaide (Outer Harbour) tides
SA fishing regulations
SA marine parks
SA stocked dams
SA dam water levels
River Murray maps
River Murray conditions reports

Adelaide is the capital city of Australia’s driest state, but there is plenty of good fishing to be had in the metro area and beyond.

The state is known for safe family fishing, with many long jetties and low-energy beaches and rock platforms within the relatively sheltered St Vincent and Spencer Gulfs.

The two gulfs form a substantial portion of the state’s coast and offer boaters protection from the daunting Southern Ocean outside.

The state’s dryness means there is limited freshwater fishing. The state was a late starter with allowing fishing in dams.

Some regional reservoirs have been opened to fishing, with more planned.

The Murray River provides good fishing for yellowbelly (callop), redfin, carp and cod.

The Murray empties into the sea at the Coorong mouth, 80km south-east of Adelaide, a famous mulloway haunt when floodwater flows.

SA’s gulf waters are sandy and shallow, with seagrass beds.

The proliferation of long jetties is a special feature, both near the city and at coastal townships around the gulfs.

Most jetties were built to load ships, and some still serve this purpose. Others are now used solely for fishing.

Towns with a good jetty invariably attract more holiday-makers.

Adelaide itself has several metro jetties that can fish well, as well as the productive Port River system, including the harbour entrance rock walls.

West Lakes is saltwater and a good spot to target large black bream.

Kangaroo Island is a popular fishing holiday and boating destination, with the southerly half of the island facing the Southern Ocean, and the north coast more sheltered. It has beach, creek and rock fishing.

Boating facilities in SA are generally excellent, with protected, all-tide dual-lane ramps and caravan parks at most coastal towns.

Adelaide fishermen looking for a good day trip generally head south as the coast north of the city is shallow and drab.

Beaches and rock platforms immediately south of Adelaide are quite sheltered, but the southern side of Adelaide’s Fleurieu Peninsula has the more exposed Waitpinga and Parsons surf beaches that fish well for salmon, mulloway and occasional tailor.

Victor Harbour is a popular daytrip, with good fishing off the Granite Island causeway and Screwpile Jetty, and at Port Elliot.

Port Noarlunga’s Onkaparinga River has black bream. Rapid Bay has a good fishing jetty, also within day trip distance of Adelaide.

Weekend or longer trips from Adelaide may be spent heading around the top of the gulfs to various York Peninsula destinations, or the Eyre Peninsula’s Port Lincoln.

Further afield, the state’s west has coastal waters that are as wild and pristine as a fisho could ask for.

Parts of the state’s west coast are remote and some spots require a 4WD for beach access.

The east coast through to Robe and Port Macdonnell is home to bluefin tuna and crayfish for those who have suitable boats.

South Australia is blessed with abundant bread and butter fish, many of which are caught from the jetties.

The top SA species are spotted and yellowfin whiting, tommy ruff, pink snapper, salmon, yellow-eye mullet, black bream, squid, blue crabs and garfish.

Yellowtail kingfish, samsonfish and bluefin tuna are the main sportfish, along with thresher, mako and whaler sharks.

Large squid are common throughout the gulfs, as is the world’s largest cuttlefish species, which spawns en masse near Whyalla.

Other popular species are red mullet (goatfish), leatherjackets, sand flathead and silver trevally.

Snook, a relative of northern barracuda, are common and a popular target.

Barracoutta are of interest to some fishos and grow large in SA waters.

The dusky morwong is often seen by divers but rarely takes baits and is poor eating.

Offshore reefs produce mainly blue morwong, pink snapper, harlequin fish, blue groper, big leatherjackets and samsonfish.

Warm waters from Western Australia’s Leeuwin Current sometimes pass the state in summer and bring surprise catches of tropical species.

Crayfish are common mostly outside the gulfs, and blue swimmer and two-spot sand crabs thrive within the gulfs, with smaller populations in inlets along the ocean coast.

The Murray River has yellowbelly, silver perch, redfin, tench, cod and carp.

Yabbies are common in most SA streams.

Trout are found in the upper Torrens and Onkaparinga Rivers, with a few in other streams.

Fish stocking has not taken off in SA like other states, although there are some small impoundments available, such as Warren Reservoir.

The lower Torrens River in Adelaide has plenty of large carp.

There is a large network of marine parks and some small aquatic sanctuary areas. Be sure to know where they are before fishing, see the links below.

How to fish Adelaide

Seasons

Winter is usually best for spotted (king george) whiting and coincides with good boating weather, but ‘KGs’ show up all year.

Winter is good for mulloway near Adelaide, while the west coast beaches fish well in summer.

Black bream bite well in winter, as do yellow-eye mullet, which move in very close along beaches at this time.

The gulf blue crab run is in summer, with the biggest crabs usually taken in March.

Salmon are winter fish on the surf beaches, but juvenile salmon (dubbed salmon trout in SA) bite all year.

West coast beaches produce big salmon all year. Squid are best in summer in clear water.

Snapper are best in spring and summer. Snapper come in close when the water is dirty after a storm.

Bluefin tuna appear off western SA before Christmas, reaching Port Lincoln about late February, and the eastern SA coast around March, depending on currents.

Early season brings the biggest fish, along with albacore.

Bait, lures & tackle

Cockles (pipis) are a popular bait in SA.

These are found in the sand of some surf beaches. Tubeworms are collected in muddly flats areas, and are a prime bait.

Worms found in rotting seaweed, a common feature of SA beaches, are good for whiting.

Maggots (gents) are commonly used for garfish – they are bred in rotting meat, then purged in wheat bran.

Mulloway are best targeted with livebait.

Squid are readily available in SA and make good bait, being particularly effective as fresh or live bait for mulloway and kingfish.

Of the packet baits, prawns, bluebait, whitebait and pilchards work well on juvenile salmon, tommy ruffs, bream and snapper.

Pilchards presented on ganged hooks work well for surf salmon.

Tommy ruff fillets make great snapper bait.

A local species of shellfish called razorfish is a good whiting bait. It is found on tidal flats.

Paternoster rigs are standard fare when beach and boat fishing in SA, using light star sinkers and small long-shank hooks.

For black bream, running sinker or weightless rigs work well. Gar and tommy ruffs are often targeted using float-fishing methods, and floats can be useful when rock fishing for sweep.

Lures: Small soft plastics and minnows work well on black bream, with chrome slices the best casting lure for salmon, snook and silver trevally.

Squid jigs are a must in the tackle box, and large baited jigs work well on big SA squid.

Weather & tides

Autumn and winter provide the most stable weather, with more wind in spring and summer.

Sea breezes blow hard in the warm months as the land heats up, and temperatures can sore above 40C for days at a time.

April, May and June are the best boating months, although storm fronts come through in winter, bringing gale-force winds.

Keep an eye on the weather forecasts.

In the Southern Ocean a big swell often occurs, and boaters must beware breaking waves over reefs. Most of the state has a tidal range to about 2m, but this increases to almost 4m in the upper reaches of the two gulfs as the water mass is pushed up into a smaller area.

Adelaide’s tides are small, and the gulfs have a tidal quirk called “dodge tides” – an extended period of little movement when fishing is usually poor.

Port Lincoln has a localised tidal quirk of a one-tide day.

The state’s small tidal range makes boating easier.

Special features

South Aussies (Croweaters) like to “dab” for garfish in the shallows at night.

A spotlight is used to stun the fish, which are caught (dabbed) with a handnet.

Another popular pastime is “raking” blue crabs in the shallows in summer.

Crabs are caught from jetties and boats with baited drop nets.

Flounder are found throughout the state in sheltered tidal shallows, and are speared at night with a light.

The local yellow-eye mullet is one of the few mullet species that scoff meat baits, and curried raw mince meat was a favoured bait for many years.

Crayfish are caught on the state’s oceanic coast, and the southern cray species are among the tastiest in the world.

South Australia is home to the great white shark, which give small boats a nudge from time to time.

The cownose ray, locally called eagle ray, is a fighting fish that often jumps when hooked, unlike the giant smooth stingrays that are also common.

Gummy and school sharks are popular, but less popular are fiddler rays, shovelnose sharks and port jackson sharks (doggies).

Elephant fish are caught in SA waters, and on rare occasions dolphin fish have made their way into the upper gulfs.

Big blue groper are caught in the more remote rocky areas.

In recent times there have been restriction on snapper fishing, because of declining stocks.

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Email us any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

Some external videos filmed around Adelaide and SA are featured below.

Kayak fishing off Seacliff

Fishing Parsons Beach

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WAqT6gtNjY

Fishing Deep Creek, Blowhole Beach

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmvM5de1VmE

Fishing Warren Reservoir

Clear water SA bream

Adelaide metro carp, Torrens River

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Darwin, Northern Territory

Darwin tides
NT fishing regulations
Kenbi Land Claim no-go areas map
Recent NT rainfall – important for run-off fishing
NT Million Dollar Fish promotion
NT fishing regulations

As capital cities go, few could offer a fisherman more than Darwin.

Gill netting and commercial crabbing was banned more than a decade ago, and barramundi and other sportfish are abundant.

There is a large area of sheltered water suitable for small boats.

At the time of writing you didn’t need a boat licence, boat registration or a fishing licence.

Darwin Harbour’s three main arms offer sheltered waters and many tidal creeks and flats that are ideal for chasing fish in small boats.

There are several artificial reefs, as well as World War II wrecks and cyclone wrecks.

Natural reef is abundant, although the best of this is in the shipping lane, where anchoring is not permitted. Drift fishing or spotlocking with an electric motor is the alternative, as long as skippers move long before a ship draws near.

The main species targeted are barramundi and mud crabs, but common species include blue and threadfin salmon, golden snapper, goldspot cod, various trevally, jacks, queenfish, jewfish, tricky snapper, Indon snapper (redfish), various mackerel and longtail and mackerel tuna.

Whiting, bream and flathead are about, but with so many more exciting fish to chase, are rarely targeted.

Though the gas industry is visible from the city, most of Darwin’s vast mangrove-lined harbour is undeveloped and in good condition.

Darwin is within day-trip distance of iconic barramundi waters such as the Daly River, Corroboree Billabong, Shady Camp and Kakadu National Park.

Bynoe Harbour is an undeveloped “sister harbour” south-west of Darwin, with excellent fishing.

Shoal Bay, near Darwin’s northern suburbs, is a barramundi and crabbing hotspot with a large wetland.

Dundee Beach and Mandorah can also be done as a day trip, and a ferry service operates to Mandorah.

A popular pastime in Darwin during the wet season is driving to flooded culverts or bridges where barramundi will be found.

Darwin has a stocked impoundment at Manton Dam. Small lakes at the satellite city of Palmerston are also stocked with barramundi.

Darwin has active fishing clubs that hold a range of competitions.

The annual Million Dollar Fish promotions sees 100 or so tagged barramundi released across the Top End, each worth $10,000, and plenty of these are caught in the harbour. There is also a $1m prize. The MDF event usually runs from October to February, although it varies.

The most detailed fishing maps of the river, including rockbars, are available in the North Australian FISH FINDER book, which was compiled by longtime Sunday Territorian fishing writer Matt Flynn.

How to fish Darwin

Harbour fishing is all about the tides, which alternate in roughly a two-week cycle between large tides of up to 8m movement, to neap tides of almost no movement.

The bigger tides require careful trip planning, as most boat ramps are high and dry at low tide, as are many of the harbour’s reefs and rockbars.

Fishing and crabbing can be good on big tides, but the water is usually turbid, and the currents are strong.

Neap tides provide clearer water, and longer windows of bottom fishing in deep water when the current ebbs.

Barramundi are generally caught as mud drains empty when the tide flows out.

Drain fishing is generally best with low tides of 1.5m or less.

Neap tides provide sight-fishing opportunities among the mangroves.

High-tide fishing is problematic as most estuary fish move into the mangrove forests to feed.

The harbour arms and many creeks have rockbars which hold jacks, cod and golden snapper.

Big jewfish are caught on wrecks at the turn of the tide, as well as natural reef areas extending out to Charles Point.

Off Lee Point, big spanish mackerel are usually easy to find from May onwards, along with longtail tuna.

Lee Point is home to arguably the best artificial reef system, with three sites, each consisting of several large components.

Queenfish and trevally are where you find them around Darwin, but usually are best around current rips off rock walls and headlands.

Some parts of the harbour are off limits, use the Northern Land Council’s Kenbi Land Claim map here to understand where you can and can’t fish.

Landbased fishing can be had off Stokes Hill Wharf, Mandorah Wharf, various rock walls, and around Mindil Beach, Lee Point, East Point, Nightcliff and Buffalo Creek.

Keep in mind that crocodiles can show up anywhere.

Local bait that can be harvested are sardines and herring, which live around the wharves and in creeks, and can be caught with tiny jigs or cast net. Small prawns are available during and after the wet season.

Small mullet are also easy enough to find in the creeks, with mainly whiting along the beaches.

Small torpedo squid can be caught under wharf lights, along with the oiccasional larger tiger squid.

Trolling and casting lures works in the harbour arms, using around 15kg braided lines and well-made Australian lures such as Reidys and Classics and soft plastics and vibes such as Vibelicious. Leaders of around 40kg are needed.

Many imported lures are not strong enough for barramundi.

Barramundi are caught all year but the best time in the harbour is the Build-up, from September until the wet season breaks.

The harbour has no run-off creeks, but nearby Shoal Bay does have wetland and some run-off fishing during the wet season.

Pelagic fish are best in the dry season, with golden snapper and jewfish good in April and May.

Mud crabs are caught almost all year, but tend to be most full in the dry season.

Mud crabs may leave creeks after heavy rain as they don’t like fresh water.

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Some external videos filmed on the Daly River are featured below.

Darwin pelagic fish

Darwin landbased fishing

Fishing Mandorah wharf

Lee Point mackerel

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Dundee Beach, Northern Territory

Native Point (Dundee Beach) tides
Recent NT rainfall – important for run-off fishing
NT Million Dollar Fish promotion
NT fishing regulations

Dundee Beach public ramp is the gateway to the NT’s Fog Bay, which includes numerous coastal rock patches, shallow reefs, and offshore grounds, as well as the Finniss and “Little Finniss” Rivers.

This area is of interest because it offers a range of fishing in a compact area, and it is possible in a single day to catch both sailfish and barramundi.

The bay is popular because it can be fished on bigger tides than the waters off Darwin, as Fog Bay is less impacted by tidal currents, and there is wider spread of species.

Well wide of the ramp, about 70km out, are grounds that hold large red emperor and nannygai. Pelagic fish are found throughout.

To the south are the Finniss River and “Little Finniss River” and the Peron Islands. To the north is the entrance to Bynoe Harbour.

For landbased fishermen, the coastal rocks produce large barramundi, blue salmon, goldspot cod, golden snapper, jacks, trevally and queenfish.

Sailfish are a major fishery in the bay, with multiple hookups possible, but the fishing quality changes each year, presumably with the local bait cycle.

Of interest is the presence of micro marlin in the bay, suggesting a spawning ground is not far away.

The Dundee Beach lodge has cabins and camping and retail.

The arms of Bynoe Harbour and the freshwater section of the Finniss River extend behind Fog Bay, with two public boat ramps servicing the Mackenzie and Milne Inlet arms, and a single ramp on the freshwater Finniss at Hardcastle Rd, with accommodation nearby at Sandpalms Resort.

The most detailed fishing maps of this area are in the North Australian FISH FINDER book.

How to fish Dundee Beach

Sailfish are caught all year but are often best shortly after the wet season and into the Build-up, which are also periods with calmer weather.

The usual techniques work on sailfish, but rig for smaller fish as the sails are rarely huge. That said, black marlin to 150kg are hooked regularly.

Spanish, grey and spotted mackerel are commonly caught in the bay, as well as longtail and mackerel tuna. Just look for the seabirds.

Landbased fishing is done at the top of the tide, with calm mornings required for success with barramundi.

Trolling the coastal rocks to the north of the ramp through to Bynoe Harbour also produces good sport, again at high tide.

During the wet season and just after the Finniss River produces good barramundi fishing, usually by trolling the deep rockbars. The upper river is closed to boaters, but the nearby “Little Finniss” is all open.

Mud crabs are usually easy to find.

The dry season is the most comfortable weather temperature-wise but has south-east winds.

Those with small boats can fish close to the shore on the many shallow reefs.

Bigger tides are generally better in Fog Bay, but clearer water is had on neaps. For this reason, the Finniss River often fishes best on or just after neaps.

Big jewfish are caught on the shallow reef near the boat ramp, but most crews target the shoals further out for coral trout, tricky snapper, golden snapper and the like.

Reef fish are often caught on flat rubble on the widest grounds, so keep a sharp eye on your sounder. One of the proven wide spots is the gas pipeline.

The Reel Women Classic competition is held out of Dundee Beach each year, as well as various club billfish competitions.

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Some external videos filmed in the Shady Camp region are featured below.

Dundee Beach barramundi fishing

Dundee Beach fishing

Dundee Beach sailfish

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Shady Camp, Northern Territory

Chambers Bay (below Shady Camp) tides
Recent NT rainfall – important for run-off fishing
NT Million Dollar Fish promotion
NT fishing regulations

The Top End’s Arnhem Highway is Australia’s barramundi highway, taking fishermen to some of the nation’s best barramundi fishing spots, and Shady Camp heads the list.

Shady Camp itself is a good fishing spot, but the location is more of an access point for other places.

The good fishing is associated with the vast, fertile Mary River wetlands, which extended through to Kakadu National Park.

Shady Camp is a camping area next to a barrage that separates fresh and tidal water in Sampan Creek, which is actually the lower Mary River, which leads upstream to Corroboree Billabong and Hardies Lagoon.

There are boat ramps immediately above and below the barrage.

Landbased fishing is popular at the barrage but big crocodiles are ever-present and it is something of a miracle that fishermen are not taken.

The saltwater ramp is tide-affected, drying at low tide, with a short window of launching unless wet season floodwater is present.

The wet season and shortly after is the best time to fish Shady Camp, with the unsealed road usually holding up well to vehicular traffic, except in the wettest years.

Spots accessed by boat from Shady Camp include Sampan Creek, Tommycut Creek, Marsh Creek, Love Creek, Carmor Creek, Thrings Creek, Point Stuart, Wildman River and Shady Jew Reef.

All the creeks are fished for barramundi during the wet season when the flow is running from feeder creeks into the bigger creeks, or directly into the sea from coastal creeks.

There is some scope to chase Build-up barramundi in warm, calm weather during neap tides, when the water clears enough for lure fishing.

This area falls under the Mary River Management Zone and special rules apply. The barrage itself has a single-hook rule.

The most detailed fishing maps of this area are in the North Australian FISH FINDER book.

How to fish Shady Camp

The barrage itself fishes best at the top of big tides and 120cm fish are a real chance.

Night fishing works well but the crocodile danger is real.

During the dry season there is good fishing in the freshwater section for barramundi and saratoga, with at least two trollable rockbars.

Large tides breech the barrage and can produce bursts of good fishing at this time.

Floodwater turns the area into an inland sea when barramundi spread out far and wide.

The fishing starts as the river falls after flooding.

Barramundi congregate at coastal floodplain creek mouths and wherever bait is located.

During flooding it is best to fish far downstream where Sampan and Tommycut Creeks drop below the banks.

Once floods subside there is a period of greenwater flow which provides good fishing, and tides will then usually decide when the fish come on.

The small coastal creeks tend to fish best from the top of the tide down, on the biggest tides, and when floodwater is still present. Fish over 1m are regularly caught.

Small earth barrages on the various wetland creeks can fish when they breech from monsoonal rain.

Trolling works at the Sampan and Tommycut Creek mouths, and casting works at the smaller creek mouths.

Use at least 15kg braided line and well-made Australian lures such as Reidys and Classics and soft plastics and vibes such as Vibelicious. Leaders of around 40kg are needed.

Many imported lures are not strong enough for barramundi.

Big threadfin salmon are super-abundant along this coastline and are almopst a nuisance when chasing barramundi.

The waterways here are mostly free of rockbars, although there are rocks around Point Stuart, and in front of Carmor Creek.

Shady Camp is busy at the best fishing times, and week days are always a good time to fish.

The area has many crocodiles and sharks, so take care when landing or releasing fish.

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Some external videos filmed in the Shady Camp region are featured below.

Shady Camp fishing

Shady Camp barrage barramundi

Shady Camp run-off barramundi

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Daly River, Northern Territory

Daly River mouth (Anson Bay) tides
Daly River and tributary water levels
NT Million Dollar Fish promotion
NT fishing regulations

The Northern Territory’s Daly River is Australia’s premier barramundi fishing spot, hosting the NT’s two most prestigious fishing competitions each year.

There are many rivers that can produce great barramundi fishing, but the Daly’s combination of wilderness, accessibility, shaded banks, large floodplains, numerous feeder creeks, and good fish stocks, are not matched elsewhere.

The Daly and Katherine Rivers may be considered as one, forming the NT’s longest waterway.

Most fishing however takes place below the road crossing and bridge located near the Daly River community. The crossing marks the end of the tidal water, although there is fine sport to be had in some of the freshwater sections.

The Daly flows through the north-western Northern Territory, with the the King, Flora and Edith Rivers being major tributaries, finally entering the sea at Anson Bay, where the Ferguson River also flows into the Daly.

The river drains a 59,000sqkm catchment. It is navigable for about 115km above its mouth. The river marks the eastern boundary of Aboriginal Reserve that extends to the Fitzmaurice River.

The tidal river changes each year, depending on the strength of the wet season. A poor wet season will see sediment build up, with more sandbars and shallows to negotiate, with a strong wet season usually having the opposite effect, although often producing a new range of submerged logs that can catch propellers.

During the dry season there are tourist parks below the main crossing that cater for fishermen. Most of these parks have their own launch sites. There is also a public ramp that can be used on most tides, depending on the annual sediment load in the river.

The most detailed fishing maps of the river, including rockbars, are available in the North Australian FISH FINDER book.

How to fish the Daly

The river fishes best after a long, strong wet season.

The monsoon usually hits from December to April, and the subsequent flooding fires up the bait cycle, which draws barramundi in from the coast and lower river to the upper reaches.

A big Wet also releases barramundi from landlocked waterholes upstream.

Most years bring enough rain for good fishing, but occasionally a supercharged wet season will create truly superb fishing.

The connection between big Wets and fishing quality is well demonstrated in local competition results.

Timing is important, as the river fishes poorly when floodwater is rising, as barramundi spread out across floodplains.

When the river drops, the fishing starts as barramundi congregate at floodplain creek mouths and wherever bait is located.

When the river is flooded, it is usually best to fish far downstream where it drops below the banks.

Once floods subside there is a period of greenwater flow which provides good fishing, and tides usually decide when the fish come on.

Trolling and casting works, using around 15kg braided lines and well-made Australian lures such as Reidys and Classics and soft plastics and vibes such as Vibelicious. Leaders of around 40kg are needed.

Many imported lures are not strong enough for barramundi.

Barramundi are in the river all year but many fish will leave for the coast once the greenwater flow stops and bait levels drop.

Sonar is invaluable for finding fish, but also look for bait. Birds often loiter near bait congregations.

The Daly produces occasional jacks but not enough to warrant targeting them. At the mouth, threadfin salmon are abundant.

Giant freshwater prawns are common in the Daly freshwater and special regulations apply to catching them. They work well as bait, as do live mullet.

When the river is low there are rockbars and tree stumps that can catch unwary boaters.

There is also a sandbar at Browns Creek that can be an obstruction at low tide, although there is usually a small channel around it.

The river is busy at the best fishing times, and week days are always a good time to fish.

The Daly has many crocodiles and sharks, so take care when landing or releasing fish.

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Some external videos filmed on the Daly River are featured below.

Daly River iFish

120cm Daly River barramundi

133cm Daly River barramundi

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Kinchant Dam, Mackay

Queensland dam water levels
Queensland stocked impoundment permits

Kinchant is one of three stocked dams in the Mackay region.

Though a relatively small dam, it is famous for the huge barramundi it produces, and is the first dam to have artificial reefs installed, in June 2019.

The dam was built on the Pioneer River in 1977, 30km west of Mackay.

The impoundment covers 920ha and has an average depth of just 7m.

It holds big barramundi, sleepy cod, sooty grunter, eel-tail catfish, fork-tail catfish, spangled perch and mouth almighty.

Barramundi were introduced in 2000 and have done exceptionally well, with huge, fat fish caught.

Stocking of barra and sooty grunter is by the Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association.

In 2017/18, 4660 barramundi were stocked. A total of 146,000 barramundi have been stocked.

There are no restrictions on vessel types.

Watersports are popular on Kinchant Dam so it pays to avoid weekends for serious fishing trips.

Accommodation is at Kinchant Waters campground, with self-contained cabins, van and tent sites.

There are toilets, barbecues, picnic tables, shelters, lookout, cafe, licensed bar and restaurant and a pool table.

There are also trails for walking and mountain-biking.

How to fish Kinchant Dam

Kinchant Dam artificial reef co-ordinates
Try trolling or jigging over the structures shown in these GPS co-ordinates

Until the artificial reefs were installed (GPS marks pictured above), Kinchant had famously little structure.

There are fishable weedbeds, shoreline and a long rock wall.

Use sonar to find and fish the new reefs, which can be jigged or trolled.

Also fish weedy points and weedbeds, baitfish balls, and barramundi.

Look for feeding birds.

Barra fishing can be had all year at Kinchant, but warmer weather is best.

Kinchant fish are educated and smaller lures tend to work best. Night fishing can be effective.

Always position yourself quietly with an electric motor or oars in this shallow waterway.

As there is little snaggable structure, lighter tackle may be used, but some barra hooked will be huge, and may be lost anyway.

Mackay’s two other major stocked dams, Teemburra and Eungella, are perhaps more scenic, but Kinchant produces some of the biggest fish.

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Some external videos filmed on Kinchant Dam are featured below.

Kinchant drone footage

Kinchant AFC series fishing

Kinchant barra off the bank

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Australia’s biggest barramundi

A Tinaroo barramundi. Pic courtesy Tackle World Cairns
A Tinaroo barramundi. Pic courtesy Tackle World Cairns

Australia’s biggest barramundi are caught in Queensland’s stocked impoundments, but NT and WA wild waterways also produce 120cm+ fish regularly.

A history of line-class records show that Queensland’s Tinaroo, Monduran, Kinchant and Peter Faust dams produce most of the big barra.

Lake Awoonga also has a history of trophy fish.

Keep in mind that each dam is affected by floods and droughts, with big barra leaving dams when the walls breech, unless barrier nets are installed.

Here’s a few line-class records over the years …

23.7kg 117.5cm Lake Tinaroo 21 September 2011 Mark Hope
25.2kg 116cm Lake Tinaroo 24 August 2011 Mark Hope
29kg 132cm Lake Tinaroo 2 September 2014 Mark Hope
40.7kg 136cm Lake Tinaroo 28 July 2012 Mark Hope*
28.3kg 127.5cm Lake Tinaroo 7 January 2012 Mark Hope
29.85kg 127cm Lake Tinaroo 15 October 2000 Noel Ritchie
30.8kg 126cm Lake Tinaroo 4 September 2014 Jason Kuchel
41.5kg 135cm Kinchant Dam 14 October 2011 Willem Reichard
44.64kg 134cm Lake Monduran 21 December 2011 Denis Harrold
27.6kg 121.5cm Lake Tinaroo 2 September 2012 Mark Hope

In the NT, proven big-fish waters are the Daly, Mary, Adelaide and all Kakadu rivers.

Strangely enough, the NT’s stocked Manton Dam rarely produces fish over a metre.

In WA, the Ord and Fitzroy Rivers produce many big wild barramundi.

The Ord’s Lake Kununurra is stocked and produces fat 120cm fish.

For a shot at trophy wild barramundi in Queensland, the Fitzroy River is the logical choice.

Also, try Gladstone’s Boyne River after the Lake Awoonga dam wall has breeched, as escaped fish spread throughout the river and into Gladstone Harbour.

See the Monduran monster here.

*Note that the biggest Tinaroo fish listed above was caught in winter, and Tinaroo is a high-country impoundment. While warm to hot weather is always best for barramundi, they can be caught in cool weather.

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