The South Alligator River lies within Kakadu National Park, on the Top End’s Arnhem Highway.
The river has a sealed boat ramp next to the highway into tidal water.
The ramp is subject to strong currents and at times can have a mudbar that restricts access.
Barramundi are by far the main target and almost all barramundi fishing in the tidal river is done during and just after the wet season when floodplain run-off is flowing.
Boaters go upstream or downstream from the ramp depending on flood conditions.
In the dry season the river forms waterholes in the upper section around Cooinda, many of which can be reached by track and have camping areas.
Cartopper dinghies are generally used in the waterholes, with limited landbased fishing available, keeping in mind large crocodiles are common in all Kakadu waterways.
Yellow Water is one of the better known freshwater locations.
Downstream, outside the river mouth, there is shallow reef around Field Island with large golden snapper and jewfish.
Fishing the South Alligator River is quite complex because of huge tides and sandbars, and the best fishing spots are in a few small areas.
There are detailed fishing spot maps for this river with rockbar micro-charts in the North Australian FISH FINDER book.
Every year the river’s wetlands fill with monsoonal floodwaters and fish life becomes supercharged through the bait cycle.
The wet season and shortly after is the best time to fish the tidal waters, concentrating efforts where bait has collected, especially where clear or green floodwater is flowing into the turbid tidal water.
The freshwater locations are fishable only in the dry season when tracks have dried out.
Wet season fishing requires a boat, although there is a good chance of catching barramundi by casting around flooded culverts, however crocodiles are common and extreme caution is required when fishing from land as saltwaters crocodiles will attack people.
Accommodation near Kakadu is at Corroboree Park Tavern on the Arnhem Highway.
Darwin also has a range of accommodation options.
South Alligator River mouth tides
East Alligator River mouth tides
Note that the river mouth high tides occur almost three hours earlier than at the upstream ramps
East Alligator Cahills Crossing tides
NT tidal variations
Latest Kakadu access report
Kakadu fishing rules
Recent NT rainfall – important for run-off fishing
NT Million Dollar Fish promotion
NT fishing regulations
North Australian FISH FINDER fishing map book
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