Fishing in Kakadu National Park

Fishing in Kakadu National Park

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 11/20/2019

Reading time: 3 mins

Any lover of fish and fishing should be sure to book themselves a trip to Kakadu National Park!

With a diverse ecosystem and a range of water conditions, Kakadu is home to an array of fish species. Most famous is barramundi, which can reach lengths of over 90cm!

The best places to fish for barramundi are the billabongs on Kakadu’s floodplains. Here you’ll find boat ramps assisting you in getting on the water, and a large population of fish to catch.

The South Alligator produces a high number of barramundi during the wet season. Besides the fish’s incredible size (and delicious taste) barramundi have some rather unique physical traits. The fish spend their lives changing between sexes and spawning as both male and female. Living as males in fresh waters for their first four years, they undergo physical changes that turns them into female’s at approximately six years old. To do this, they require saltwater and will migrate out of freshwater to make the change. Research has recently seen large female fish, over 1m long, holding up to 20 million eggs spawning. These egg-heavy fish are a major contributor to the strong population of barramundi in Kakadu.

Though there may be fish abundant, please do not become greedy! In fact, there are certain rules and regulations put in place to ensure that Kakadu is not over fished.

Kakadu Rules and Regulations

Commercial fishing is banned in Kakadu, however recreational fishing is more than welcomed. There are a few rules you must abide by, however.

The only fishing equipment that may be used is rod or handline with a single hook or lure. Live bait cannot be used, and you may not use nets or set lines. A small landing net can be in possession, but it can only be used to land fish. Traps, nets, and pots are strictly prohibited within park waters.

There are also restrictions of the fish you can take home with you. An individual may not be in possession of more than three barramundi under 90cm long. If you have four people on your boat, you can leave with up to 12 fish. For barramundi that measure longer than 90cm there is a limit of one per boating vessel, regardless of how many people are on board. It is also best to clean your fish once you’ve left the water area, as it is illegal to clean fish within 50m of a waterway.

Kakadu Crabs

Any fishing or seafood lover will have heard of Top End Mud Crab. The Territory delicacy is popular amongst locals and tourists; however, you won’t be finding any in Kakadu. All crabs are protected in Kakadu National Park and it is illegal to be in possession of them or remove them from waterways. If you’re more of a crabber than a fisher, head back to Darwin for some fantastic crabbing opportunities.

Fishing in Kakadu National Park is truly unlike any other fishing experience. Enjoy your picturesque surroundings and get ready for the adrenaline rush of pulling a mammoth 5kg fish out from the water.

Related article: A – Z of Kakadu

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.