Fishing for Barramundi in the Northern Territory

It’s not hard to understand why anglers are so enthusiastic about fishing for barramundi, and why it’s considered to be one of the leading Australian sportfish and the most popular target of anglers in the Northern Territory. The fighting characteristics of this feisty species make for exciting sport, and as a bonus the fish itself has a reputation as a delicious table fish if caught in salt water and tidal rivers.

Barramundi can be caught all year round and if you’re travelling to the Northern Territory it is well worth taking some time to discover the best times and places to ensure you have the best angling experience.

The life cycle of this species leads it to inhabit a wide range of aquatic environments, in creeks, rivers and estuaries.  The fish matures in upstream areas of freshwater streams and moves downstream for spawning in coastal waters and estuaries.  Streams that have large catchments, a low continuous flow of water and warm water temperatures are ideal habitats for Barramundi, and they prefer to seek cover under mangrove roots, submerged logs, rock ledges and other underwater structures.


While live bait such as mullet and prawns appeals to these fish, and they are also often taken with heavy fly gear, medium sized minnow fishing lures in bright bronze or gold metallic colours are probably the most successful way to entice Barramundi out from heavy cover.

For trolling and casting for Barramundi with medium weight baits and lures, the most popular fishing reels are bait caster fishing reels.  When you’re fishing in billabongs and estuary flats, especially in windy conditions, you’ll find that smaller, lighter lures are more suitable; for casting light lures, spinning reels are ideal.

Whatever style of reel you choose, it will be fully tested when you hook an aggressive Barramundi, so it’s best to go for a high quality salt water grade reel and have it serviced regularly to prolong its life. Shimano T curve Power Spin with Saragosa 3000 Fishing Reel Combo is recommended by the Fishing Tackle Shop as an ideal heavy duty setup if you’re targeting Barramundi.

The Northern Territory seasons govern the style of Barramundi fishing.  During the wet season between January and March and the post-wet period from March to May, most anglers fish by casting from boats anchored in waterways. During the dry season, between June and September, fresh water lagoons and rivers become accessible to anglers.  At this time of year, when temperatures are cooler, Barramundi tend to stay in deep water. From October to December, during the run-up to the wet season, Barramundi become more active as water temperatures rise and fishing in freshwater lagoons and in salt water estuarine waterways can be very productive.

In tidal rivers, Barramundi tend to bite better towards the end of run-out tide while an hour or two either side of a low tide are good times to attract Barramundi in estuaries and salt water creeks.  And when you hook a Barramundi, be prepared for an exciting battle of wits and strength with a worthy opponent.  Shop Now for barramundi fishing tackle