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Top Fishing Charters in Port Douglas

Fishing in Port Douglas

Avid anglers will never grow tired of fishing Port Douglas. Luxurious beach resorts, the Daintree Rainforest, and the Great Barrier Reef make this town a top tourist destination in Queensland. It is also home to some of Australia's most diverse fishing opportunities, where fishermen of all types are sure to land the catch of a lifetime.

Known For

Port Douglas fishing will have you spoiled for choice. With the Outer Great Barrier Reef roughly 20 miles away, Port Douglas is home to the best reef fishing in Australia. The continental shelf sits just a few miles further, giving this destination its reputation for some of the country’s best game fishing, as well. Many Port Douglas fishing charters allow visitors to experience the benefits of these features first hand.

Port Douglas reef tours and charters give you a chance to bring home large and delicious table fish straight from the Barrier Reef. Coral Trout, Red Emperor, Nannygai, Trevally, Spanish Mackerel, and other species can be caught on a full day of fishing. Dickson Inlet is especially well known as a launching point for reef fishing trips.

The avid sport fisherman will also delight in the many game fishing charters Port Douglas has to offer. These waters are home to the world’s most productive Black Marlin fishing grounds, where one can find plenty of 1,000 lb+ “granders.” Fishing Port Douglas for these trophies is best from late September through the end of December. Throughout much of the year you can also target Wahoo, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, and Giant Trevally.

For a Port Douglas fishing charter that keeps you closer to shore, local rivers and estuaries provide excellent opportunities year round. Daintree River, Muddy Creek, Dickson Inlet, and Mowbray River are popular places where one can target as many as 75 different species. These include Barramundi, Tarpon, Permit, Threadfin Salmon, Queenfish, Mangrove Jack, and Fingermark, to name a few. A Port Douglas boat hire gives visitors the chance to cast lines in these waters while enjoying beautiful natural surroundings and wildlife viewing.

Rules & Regulations

A fishing license is not required for recreational fishing in Queensland. Size and bag limits do apply to some species, and these may vary depending on the season. Some areas are also closed to fishing during certain periods to protect the reproductive cycle of local species.

Always be aware of local regulations regarding where you can and cannot cast lines, whether on land or by boat. Anglers are advised to be wary of crocodiles when fishing from land or inshore. To avoid attracting these predators, fishermen are asked not to fillet fish on the waterfront.

Types of Fishing

Port Douglas fishing techniques are as varied as the species and opportunities awaiting here. Whether fishing with live bait, dead bait, or lures, anglers will find many techniques to be effective.

Game fishing includes both light and heavy tackle, depending on the target species and the preference of the fisherman. While fishing for small Black Marlin, Wahoo, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, and Tuna, one might troll lures or baits with light tackle. Meanwhile, heavy tackle is preferred for large Black Marlin as well as big Wahoo and Dogtooth Tuna. Top water lures such as poppers are especially effective when targeting Giant Trevally and Queenfish.

Bottom fishing (or “bottom bouncing”) the reefs is typically done with a medium-heavy handline (60-100lb) or rods. The main species targeted with this technique are Coral Trout, Red Emperor, and Nannygai.

For anglers who do not want to spend a full day on the water, land based fishing is still an exciting way to tackle some hard fighting species. Shipwreck Wharf,  Marina Road Wall, Rex Smeal Park, and Southern Four Mile Beach are a few places that locals recommend for targeting Flathead, Grunter, Bream, and perhaps even a Barramundi.

Port Douglas
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Port Douglas Fishing Seasons

Game fishing is strong at this time of year. Come catch Tuna, Wahoo, Giant Trevally, and more. You can expect heavy rains, with the possibility of cyclones.

The wet season continues. You can still enjoy great game fishing for Giant Trevally. On the reefs you are likely to catch Coral Trout, Red Emperor, Spanish Mackerel, Nannygai.

The peak season for game fishing is winding down, but the reefs and rivers still provide plenty of opportunities. You can fish inshore for Barramundi, Queenfish, Fingermark, and more.

At this time of year you can still enjoy great success fishing the reefs, rivers, and estuaries. The rainy season has ended and temperatures average between 59°F (15°C) and 77°F (25°C).

May is the break between peak seasons. Reef fishing will start to heat up soon; until then you are still likely to catch Nannygai, Coral Trout, and Red Emperor in addition to all inshore species.

Reef fishing and inshore fishing are picking up momentum, with Queenfish and Trevally biting more frequently. Sailfish, Tuna, and Trevally are starting to appear more often offshore. 

Reef fishing is in full swing, with very high chances of catching Coral Trout, Nannygai, Red Emperor, and Mackerel. The water is a stable 75 °F (23.7 °C).

The long-awaited game fishing season is back! While fishing offshore you are likely to catch Sailfish, Tuna, and Giant Trevally. Reef fishing continues to be fruitful.

The Black Marlin breeding season has begun, and every major game fish is biting! This marks the beginning of the best time for fishing in Port Douglas, with pleasant weather and lots of fish.

Now is the time to get out on the water, with every species biting vigorously in the rivers, reefs, and offshore! The average temperature is between  68°F (20°C) and 95°F (35°C).

Reef fishing may not yield as much as usual, but game fishing and inshore fishing still provide plenty of opportunities. The build up to wet season is beginning.

Inshore and offshore fishing are still in peak season. You can catch anything from Sailfish, Marlin, and Giant Trevally to Barramundi. Be sure to get in on the action while the weather is still decent! 

Port Douglas Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Port Douglas

"June fishing trip"

Craig Cook fished with Hook Up Fishing Charters on June 9, 2018

Book a charter and talk to locals about desired fishing species and locations.

"May fishing trip"

Mark Hooley fished with Port Douglas Sportfishing on May 22, 2018

Check the weather/ wind dependant to get to reef in a small boat.

"Half day trip with Matt "

Graham Cockshutt fished with Port Douglas Sportfishing on March 16, 2018

Be aware it’s hot, don’t just imagine you can chuck in and catch as there are a lot of variables the skipper can’t control.

"Something fishy going on"

Jeremy Redmond fished with Norseman Reef Fishing Charters on October 3, 2017

Fish around for the best deals and ask locals opinions on operators

Top Targeted Species in Port Douglas

Coral Trout

Trevally (Giant)

Spanish Mackerel (Narrow-barred)

Marlin (Black)

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