5 Top-Rated Fishing Destinations in Australia

WORDS: Diana Smith PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

Australia is one of the best countries in the world for rewarding fishing. Its long and fish-rich coastline includes everything from tropical to cool waters, making saltwater fishing particularly enjoyable. But with mighty rivers, pristine lakes, and stunning mountain streams, freshwater fishing is equally as exciting here. Clearly, Australia is brimming with excellent fishing opportunities, but some destinations are still more popular among avid anglers than others. With that in mind, here are the top fishing locations you shouldn’t miss when visiting the country:

Cairns, Queensland

If your goal is to catch a large black marlin or any other local gamefish species, North Queensland is the best possible place. The area from Cairns along the Great Barrier Reef, in particular, is often called the world’s black marlin capital. Fishing here can be quite exhilarating, with a significant percentage of all “granders” being caught in these waters.

The tropical region next to the reef is also rich in plankton and bait fish, even attracting interesting species like the Spanish mackerel, yellowfin tuna, barracuda, mahi-mahi (dorado), sailfish, and trevally. With an international airport and various charteroptions available from Cairns, this is a convenient and attractive fishing spot for anglers from all around the world.

Exmouth, Western Australia

Bordering Ningaloo Reef, the largest fringing reef in the world, Exmouth is among the best and most diverse fishing spots on the planet. This remote town is surrounded by crystal-clear waters famous for the whale sharks that inhabit them from March to October. But there’s a stunning array of different marine life you can experience here.

You can catch species such as bonefish, milkfish, queenfish, blue bone, permit, cobia, and many more. With the continental shelf lying only a couple of kilometers from the reef, there are some incredible deep-sea fishing opportunities as well. Just keep in mind that the Ningaloo Marine Park includes some protected sanctuary zones, too.

Montague Island, NSW

Montague Island and the close reefs represent another unique fishing opportunity you simply must experience. Here, you can catch bonito, kingfish, morwongs, gummy sharks, snapper, and plenty of other reef species, whether you decide to fish in the morning or afternoon. All you have to do is find private fishing charters in Narooma and head for this nearby island.

If you’re not an experienced angler, keep in mind that you can still have an unforgettable fishing experience around Montague Island. The best charters will provide gear, supplies, and passionate local fishermen to guide you on this incredible journey, thus being an ideal option for worldwide travelers.

The Top End, Northern Territory

Northern Territory’s tropical tip, also known as Top End, is famous for excellent barramundi fishing. The best time to cast here is from October to December, during the barra build-up when the fish school in the saltwater estuaries and billabongs. The barra run-off period from February to May is also a good time to catch barramundi congregating in local river mouths.

There are a number of brilliant places to fish in the Top End, from the Daly and Mary rivers to the stunning Kakadu National Park. But barramundi isn’t the only attraction here; deep sea and reef fishing are also possible in the dry season and when the seas are calm. You can hire a boat and fish independently, stay at a fishing lodge, book a guided trip, or even go heli-fishing.

Central Highlands, Tasmania

Adorned with over 3,000 lakes, Tasmania’s Central Highland is a wonderful destination for trout fishing. Catching these fish can be quite rewarding, since the local wild brown and rainbow trout are known for being a tough match. Arthurs Lake and Great Lake tend to be the most popular spots when they’re open.

Tasmania also provides Great Ocean fishing opportunities, particularly in the areas around St. Helens. The rivers surrounding Launceston are another favorite, with the Tyenna River being the most popular for fly fishing. Before heading out, always check to ensure the lake or river is open, and remember to dress in layers to overcome the quickly changing local weather.

Covering a vast surface and diverse land, it’s no wonder Australia offers so many unique fishing opportunities. The destinations mentioned above are just some of the top spots any angler might enjoy.