Top 10 Fishing Spots in Australia
Australia is legendary for its fantastic fishing. Thousands of kilometres of fish-rich coastline rim the country, from the cool waters of the south to the tropical Top End and the world's largest fringing and barrier reefs. Flats fishing, rock fishing, and beach fishing, are all popular pursuits whether you fish with bait, spin a lure, or cast a fly. Game fishing is also excellent. Marlin, sailfish, mahi mahi, and tuna swim the blue waters along the coast. Away from the coast, pristine lakes, mighty rivers, and mountain streams draw freshwater anglers. In this article we will be going through the 10 top rated fishing locations in all of Australia!
1. Cairns, Queensland
If it's your dream to catch a huge black marlin, as well as just about any other Pacific game fish species you can name, this is the place to come. According to International Game Fishing Association records, up to 70 percent of all "granders" (black marlin exceeding 1,000 lbs) are caught in these waters each year.
The tropical waters adjacent to the reef and along the continental shelf are incredibly rich in bait fish and plankton and also attract species such as yellowfin tuna, Spanish mackerel, mahi mahi (dorado), barracuda, trevally, wahoo, and sailfish.
2. The top end, Northern Territory
Encompassing Darwin and Kakadu National Park, the tropical northernmost tip of the Northern Territory or "Top End," as it's called, is legendary for its fantastic barramundi fishing. The best times to fish here are during the barra build-up, from October through December, when the fish school in the local billabongs and saltwater estuaries before monsoonal rains inundate the region, and the barra run-off, from February through May, when the barramundi tend to congregate at the river mouths. Prime fishing spots in the Top End include the Daly River, the Mary River at Shady Camp, and the Adelaide River.
3. Cape York, Queensland
Cape York offers anglers the ultimate Aussie fishing adventure. Accessible only by 4WD, the remote far north tip of Australia is famous for its pristine beaches; uninhabited islands; and fish-rich tidal estuaries, lagoons, and rivers. During the wet season, the roads here become impassable, but from May through December, a stream of thrill-seeking travellers venture north into this wild and remote region, where indigenous people have lived off the land for thousands of years.
To avoid the rough multi-day drive, you can fly into Bamaga or Weipa in less than two hours from Cairns and stay in a remote fishing lodge or book a liveaboard boat trip. However, for many anglers, the 4WD journey is part of the adventure. Always check local conditions before heading out and beware of saltwater crocodiles.
4. Exmouth, Western Australia
Bordering World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef, the world's largest fringing reef, Exmouth is one of the most diverse fishing destinations on the planet. The crystal clear waters surrounding this remote town, near the tip of Western Australia's North West Cape, are famous for the hundreds of whale sharks that swim here from March through October, but they are also home to a dazzling diversity of other fish.
Fly fishing, trolling, bait fishing, and lure fishing are all possible here, and guides should be booked well in advance. Exmouth is a two-and-a half-hour flight from Perth. Note that the Ningaloo Marine Park encompasses sanctuary zones where fishing is prohibited. Check before you head out.
5. Central Highlands, Tasmania
Laced with more than 3,000 lakes, the Central Highland of Tasmania is one of the top spots for trout fishing in Australia. Hooking one of these fish can be rewarding, as the wild brown trout and rainbow trout here are known to be a tough match, even for experienced anglers.
The prime time for fishing is in the early southern-hemisphere summer through mid-fall. Tasmania also has excellent ocean fishing, especially along the east coast near towns such as St. Helens.
6. Hervey Bay, Queensland
About 300 kilometers north of Brisbane in Queensland, Hervey (pronounced "Harvey") Bay is famous for its fantastic fishing with crystal clear subtropical waters and diverse species of gamefish. In particular, the area is famous for its beautiful golden trevally, which cruise the crystalline flats, but you can also cast for different kinds of tuna, giant trevally, cobia, sailfish, and marlin (striped, blue, and black). For those seeking to catch a meal, tuna, whiting, tailor, flathead, and snapper are found in these waters, and beach fishing for bream is also popular. Thanks to the protection of nearby islands, humpback whales often calve in these waters during winter.
7. Port Stephens, New South Wales
The resort area of Port Stephens, about two-and-a-half-hours' drive north of Sydney, is a fishing hotspot and is known in particular for its fantastic game fishing. In February and March, the region hosts the southern hemisphere's largest game fishing tournament, the NSW Interclub Tournament, with record catches of Australian billfish species. Local guides also offer big game fly fishing.
8. Port Lincoln, South Australia
About 650 kilometers from Adelaide, Port Lincoln claims to be the seafood capital of Australia, so it's no surprise it's one of the best fishing destinations in South Australia. The town lies along the lower Eyre Peninsula on the shore of Boston Bay, where the cold nutrient-rich waters of the Great South Australian Coastal Upwelling System mingle with the waters of the Great Australian Bight and Spencer Gulf, resulting in fertile fishing grounds. In particular, the area is known for southern bluefin tuna.
You can cruise the blue waters by boat or cast a line off the beach. Jetty fishing and rock fishing along the rugged coastline are also popular pursuits. Frequently caught species here include snapper, salmon, snook, whiting, garfish, and squid. Prime time for tuna is late summer and autumn, while kingfish swim these waters in late spring and summer.
9. Gippsland, Victoria
For diversity of habitat, it's hard to beat Gippsland as one of Victoria's favorite fishing destinations. A few hours' drive east of Melbourne, Gippsland offers pristine coastal lakes; estuaries; rivers; and long, empty beaches such as Ninety Mile Beach. In this region, along the southern coast of Australia, you can cast a line in a clear mountain stream for brown and rainbow trout; fish one of the rivers or lakes for redfin, eel, carp, and Australian bass; or cast in the coastal waters for species such as King George whiting, silver trevally, bream, Australian salmon, gummy sharks, and snapper.
10. Lake Jindabyne, New South Wales
Snuggled in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, a five-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney, Lake Jindabyne is one of the best trout-fishing lakes in Australia. The lake sits at 930 meters and is fed by the Thredbo, Snowy, and Eucumbene rivers. Anglers can catch brown, brook, and rainbow trout here as well as Atlantic salmon, and all types of fishing are permitted, inducing bait, spinning, trolling, and fly fishing.
Fish early or late in the day for the best results. In the township of Jindabyne, anglers can organize boat charter and rental, hire guides, and rent fishing equipment. If you're planning to visit during the popular winter season, from June through October, book accommodation well in advance. In addition to the lakes, the region's streams and rivers also offer excellent fishing - especially the Thredbo River, but check for seasonal closures before you go.