Fishing the Lakes and Rivers

Freshwater fishing opportunities are plentiful in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Australia's North West - home to some of the country’s largest rivers and a massive network of creeks and mangroves.

Freshwater or brackish fish including sooty grunters, silver cobbler, mangrove jack and fingermark can be found in the tidal creeks, lakes and rivers of the Kimberley and Pilbara regions. Hire a boat or just fish from the river banks. Check out size and catch limits at the local visitor centre.

Barramundi Fishing

Chasing the elusive Barramundi, or ‘Barra’, is a huge and thrilling challenge. Growing up to a massive two meters, ‘Barra’ are lazy predators - ambush feeders lurking around river mouths, submerged snags and rocky outcrops. The can be caught year-round, but odds are better during the warmer weather, when they swim upstream to spawn.

The waters around Dampier, Barred or Willie Creek, Broome Jetty and the Fitzroy River's deep pools are filled with Barra, as are the Lower Ord, Pentecost and Dunham Rivers around Kununurra.  If you’re a novice it’s best to use live bait.


The huge tidal range of up to 11 metres creates fantastic creek and river fishing for Barramundi, Mangrove Jack, Fingermark or just hunt for mud crabs.

Fishing Licences and Tours

You’ll need to get a licence from Fisheries or the local Post Office to use a throw-net to catch live bait. Alternatively, search for fishing charters and join an organised fishing tour.

Fish for the Future

Australia’s North West has a pristine marine environment and an abundance of great fishing experiences. To help keep it that way, please follow the principles of Fish for the Future.

Fishing Safety Tips

  • Take extra fuel, water, tools, basic spare parts and a first aid kit.
  • Tell someone where you're going and when you expect to return.
  • Always stay with your vehicle or boat if something goes wrong.
  • If you intend to venture off road, make sure your vehicle and trailer and suitable for the terrain and that you carry the necessary recovery and safety equipment.
  • Carry an EPIRB or satellite phone, life jackets and sufficient food and water for those on board.
    Be wary of saltwater crocodiles.
  • Clean fish away from camp and boat ramps, camp away from the water's edge and do not provoke crocodiles in any way.
  • Be wary of box jellyfish and Irukandji, which inhabit northwest waters. The sting can cause extreme pain and can be life threatening. Always have vinegar in the boat for stings and seek medical advice if stung.
  • Check tide charts before you head out - it's easy for boats to become stranded at low tow tide or to get caught out by the incoming tide if creek fishing.

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