13 Dec 2019 | Fishing

Best Katherine Fishing Spots

Best Katherine Fishing Spots image

It’s no secret our team here at Rod and Rifle Tackle World are mad fishos. We love getting out on the water, enjoying time with family and friends, and hoping to snag the next big Barramundi.

Katherine is home to a number of fish-rich waterways and is a must visit spot on any NT fishing trip. If you’re new to fishing in Katherine, here are our recommendations for top local fishing spots in the area.

  • Knotts Crossing
  • Donkey Camp
  • Low Level ("Lowey")
  • Galloping Jacks (Crystal Rapids)

Always be croc-wise

Katherine waterways are a great place to fish, and the local crocodiles think so too. Whether you’re fishing from a boat or off the bank, always be conscious that you’re likely sharing the water with some of the largest and fiercest predators in the NT; saltwater crocodiles.

Knotts Crossing

Once the site of the original Katherine township and busy (relatively) primary river crossing, Knotts Crossing is now a great area for easy-to-access fishing in Katherine.

From the crossing, have a look at the water depth and decide whether to head up or down stream. Fish can be found all year round, but in the dry seasons you sometimes have to venture a little further to find deeper pools.

Fishing Knotts Crossing

Knotts Crossing fishes best just after the wet season. The weir (old crossing) can produce plenty of big Barramundi on both the top and bottom side if the water is running over. If the water is running flat then the river is a bit too high, but don’t give up straight away – the river can drop rapidly over just a few hours and you may find yourself in a perfect spot in no time.

Donkey Camp

Spanning across the Katherine River, the Donkey Camp weir is a great place to catch a Barramundi if you’re feeling a little adventurous.

Upstream from Knotts Crossing, driving towards Nitmiluk and turning left at the white “Pandanus Farm” sign, you’ll find Donkey Camp.

If you’re fishing on foot be very careful walking out onto the weir (about a foot wide walkway that usually has water running over it) and cast down stream.

Be aware that large crocodiles have been pulled from this area.

Fishing Donkey Camp

The best height to fish Donkey Camp is when you can only just walk out on the weir without being washed away (get those monkey toes gripping). Our tip is to use socks, which help grip to the slimy wall.

At the right height, lots of Barra congregate here as they hunt for bait fish that have just been washed over the wall. Look for any fast flowing areas of water and you’ll find Barra right next to them – waiting to ambush their prey.

For best results, use shallow running lures as these will avoid the mesh covered rock wall just below the weir and stop you from getting snagged. Believe us, you don’t want to enter the water here to unhook a snagged lure (crocs).

If you’re struggling with the surface lures switch over to a small hard body or small soft plastic alternative.

Low Level Recreation Area (“Lowey” to the locals)

Accessed from Zimin Drive, Low Level Recreation Area is a top land-based fishing spot. The river includes shallow and deeper sections (depending on the time of year). From the recreation area car park head down onto the sandy banks and pick your spot.

Our tip, head down stream from the carpark. If others are enjoying the area, find a quiet spot down river from the main area. There are plenty of deeper pools to drop a line in.

Fishing Lowey

Fishing Lowey is very similar to Knotts Crossing. If the water is at the right height you’ll find Barra stalking bait fish that get washed over the weir. Again, if the water is flat over the weir you need to try a different spot.

Be careful in this area as it’s an active road crossing. Always stay off the road and use the designated path on the side of the bridge.

Galloping Jacks (Crystal Rapids)

If you’ve got a 4WD or AWD vehicle you might want to venture down to Galloping Jacks. Most visitors to the area will end up at Crystal Rapids but if you keep driving down Cossack Road, past the Crystal Rapids gate, you’ll find another gate that enters into the lesser-known Galloping Jacks.

The track is pretty easy going in a car with a bit of clearance and grunt if you stick to the top of the river. You can drive down to the river banks, but the track gets a bit steep and sandy. Go as far as you’re comfortable with and walk the rest of the way.

Galloping Jacks is a great spot because it produces fish all year round (we’ve been down in the middle of the dry season and still found fish).

Fishing Galloping Jacks

The rocky and narrow areas of the Katherine River at Galloping Jacks attract small bait fish. That means the Barra are not far behind.

During the wet season, when the river is more swollen than usual, look for faster flowing water that slows into deeper pools or areas that have a large back eddy beside them. This is where you’ll find the Barra.

Use small hard bodies and soft plastics. If you don’t hook one soon, keep changing your lure as this ensures you cover all sorts of colours and sizes that may attract fish.

During the dry season you’ll need to look a bit harder for the deeper water. Both up and down stream you may find deeper areas with some structure that could be holding Barra.

Venturing Further

Beyond these four local spots, Katherine can serve as your “home base” for larger fishing trips into some of the NT’s best fishing areas. Top spots accessible from Katherine are:

  • Victoria River region (west of Katherine)
  • Daly River (north-west of Katherine)
  • Kakadu (north-east of Katherine)
  • Roper River and Borroloola region (south-east of Katherine)

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