Record 2017 rain means NT barra bonanza

Australian satellite image Feb 7, 2017

Australian satellite image Feb 7, 2017

The Year 2017 will be a bumper barramundi fishing year for the Top End.

Rainfall records have already fallen around Darwin.

Falls of up to 290mm were recorded around Darwin at the end of January and in early February, and the famous Daly River went up to 13m.

As I write, a low pressure system looks set to track west across Top End river catchments that are already flooded.

The relationship between big wet seasons and big barramundi catches is well proven by barra competition results.

Heavy rain works for barramundi on the short and long term, bringing the fish into the rivers, where bait builds up as the wet season progresses.

The longer the rain falls, the more bait there is. This includes small fish, frogs, tadpoles, cherabin and insects.

Flooding allows newly spawned barra to spread out and survive away from their bigger cannibal cousins, which means barra stocks tend to increase after big rain years.

A big wet season also helps retain barra in rivers, with good stocks of fish remaining well into the dry season, before they once again head downstream and along the coast.

The fishing starts as soon as the rivers start falling, but is usually best from the end of February until April/May, depending how long the rain falls.

Given that the La Nina never happened and another El Nino is looking like a possibility, this rain is lucky indeed!