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Rundown of the Barra Run Off – Top End Fishing Season

How the Fishing Seasons Work Here at the Top End

Everyone knows we get the majority of rain here in the wet season which is during summer. The first monsoon will happen around Boxing Day. From thereon, it will look somewhat like this:

  • January is very wet
  • February stays wet
  • March is when it is starting to drop off a bit
  • April continues to fall
  • May won’t see much rain
  • June, July, August there will be zero rain
  • October we start to see some rain 
  • November will see a bit more rain 
  • December will usually be good for rain 

Barra run off season Darwin

If you look at that pretty curve here, you can see that we are building up to wet season and then we are running off


  • October through to mid-December is our build-up/ 
  • December until mid-Feb is the wet season.
  • From mid-Feb until May is our Barra Run Off.
  • End of May-Sept is our dry season. 

The Build-Up

The dry season is when we usually see you guys for the first time. The weather is nice and is very similar to a southern summer with temperatures with a max of 31degrees during the day and low 20s at night. Sometimes we get nights with under 20s as well. We get a cool south-easterly breeze which is caused by a high-pressure system in the Great Australian Bite which pushes that nice, cool air on the desert. This is a really pleasant time to fish as long as it’s not too windy. 

For this reason, we tend to spend a lot of time during the build-up season fishing in Harbours, Dundee Inshore, and Billabongs. 

It’s a really good time to do ½ day or full-day tours or extended tours.

Mixed fishing for Barra, Reef, Pelgic and Crabs is very popular at that time of the year.

It’s a really great time to come up for a holiday and also check out what else is going on up here, all the waterfalls, Kakadu, jumping crocks, etc.

You can download my Barra Run Off Black Book here with all the information you’ll need to know (and some things you don’t).

Barra Fishing Guide Darwin

As time moves on, during the dry season and we are building up to the wet season, the temperature and humidity increases. Meanwhile, the wind drops and usually goes North/ North-West. The tides will get bigger and the fish activity increases as well. So this is the perfect opportunity for us to target the Barramundi as they come back into the river mouth. There they feed heavily in preparation for spawning. They usually spawn during the high tides and hopefully, we will have enough rain in the build-on systems for the eggs to get flushed up and to begin their life cycle. 

To summarise, this is a great time when the winds drop and they go right back offshore again. The Jewy’s and the Snapper come back into enclose, the Barra’s are coming in to feed and spawn. A 3-5day trip at this time of the year is an excellent choice. 

It’s also when the Million-$-Fish starts which runs right through the end of March. Top End anglers fishing the NT could catch one of… 

  • 6 x red tagged fish worth $1 million each
  • 100 x red tagged fish worth $10,000 each
  • 20 x purple tagged fish worth $2,500 to the angler and $2,500 to a pre-approved charity of the angler’s choice ($5,000 total)

The Wet Season

As we are coming into December and the Xmas time, we are going to enter the wet season. This is the equivalent of a southern summer. The temperature stabilises, humidity increases and fish activity is going through the roof. By late December, early January, the floodplains are usually full. This is when I normally do the majority of my maintenance on my boat and car and get ready for the next major season. Throughout the wet season, all the bait and baby Barra are all breeding up huge numbers of bait which are then spread out through the floodplain system. The frogs, the yabbies, the rainbow fish and boney beam, they are all exploding in numbers. Meanwhile, the baby Barra’s are feeding up there and growing rapidly.  They start off as the size of a grain and their first meal is usually a mosquito larvae. By the end of the wet season, they have been growing really big. 

The wet season is a great time for you guys to come and visit. Just the sheer amount of rain you will encounter is something one must have seen. On days before a cyclone, we can get hundreds and hundreds of millimeters of rain over night. 

Please note, Barefoot Fishing won’t take any bookings during the wet season – from 15th of December until the 20th of February. 


The Barra Run-Off

This is the Barra Fisherman’s dream time of the year. The floodplains have been build up, filled up, they are full  and now they are running off into the main river systems and bringing everything with it. The bait is forced out and the Barra will be waiting for them. That, on the other hand, makes Barra fishing very easy for us. That time of the year, the Barra’s usually congregated around creek mouths, rock bars and in deep holes. That time of the year, Barefoot Fishing Safaris is not offering any day trips during the Barra Run Off Season. We only go for extended tours (3-7 days), down the big rivers as well as mothership stuff. Without a doubt this is one of the best times of year for your Darwin Barra Fishing Charter with Barefoot Fishing Safaris.

It’s also a really beautiful time of the year after the wet season, everything is in flower, the rivers are in flood, the little crocodiles are out and a lot is happening out there. It’s a very special time and is the one that we are looking forward to. Of course, the million $ fish is still active and goes right till the end of March. 

From mid-April to May onwards, we change from river-fishing to the Barra and Bluewater stuff.

If you want any more info on the Barra Run Off or like a visual presentation, shoot us a message HERE or check out my Facebook video.

Barra Fishing Charters Darwin

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