Where is the Lodge?
Located on the far north coast of Australia’s Northern Territory, Arnhem Land is the largest and most-remote Aboriginal land reserve in the country. The Lodge is located on the coast near the Aboriginal community of Maningrida, which is approximately 300km (a 60 minute flight) to the north east of Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory.
Arnhem Land is held under the unique title of inalienable Aboriginal freehold land and was declared in the 1930s.
Established in the 1950s, Maningrida is located at the mouth of the Liverpool River which flows into the Arafura Sea on the north coast of Australia.
The Arnhem Land Barramundi Nature Lodge is situated on an escarpment 20 minutes inland from Maningrida.
Road access to the Lodge from Darwin is limited due to seasonal flooding and poor road conditions. Therefore Lodge guests are transferred to and from Maningrida via regional carrier, Airnorth, in accordance with its daily scheduled flights.
There is also a private airstrip at the Lodge itself for those who may wish to charter a light aircraft.
What is the environment like?
The landscape ranges from rugged sandstone plateau and escarpment to the south, down the catchment through to gently-undulating lowland plains to extensive floodplains and coastal environments. Apart from the township of Maningrida, the landscape remains in a pristine natural state with no development or agricultural activities present.
Eucalyptus open forest is the dominant vegetation habitat of the region, comprising almost 40% of the area.
Around the estuarine areas of Maningrida are some 34 mangrove species, mainly occurring as a fringe immediately adjacent to the Liverpool River mouth.
What is the weather like and how does it impact on the fishing?
Maningrida is in the wet/dry tropics which has distinctive wet and dry seasons. The summer is the wet season with almost all of the rain falling from December to February.
The period known as the “Run-off” occurs straight after the wet season, commencing in March and carrying through to at least the end of April. Days are still quite humid and hot, with occasional storms, but these conditions suit the barramundi which can bite like mad wherever there is wet season freshwater run-off. This period also coincides with generally calm seas, facilitating exceptional offshore bluewater sportfishing
The “Dry Season” from May to September is characterised by no rain, warm sunny days and cool overnight temperatures. Barramundi don’t bite as well during these cooler months, but good fishing is still possible. Bluewater sportfishing is excellent during the dry season, but can be hampered by easterly trade winds.
October to December is the “Build-up” when both temperature and humidity start to rise again as the “Dry” transitions to the “Wet” which generally commences in earnest late December. The Build-up is when the barramundi begin to feed voraciously after the cooler dry season months. It is spawning time and barramundi often congregate in large numbers. Once again too, calm seas are a feature of this time of year as the easterly trade winds have finished. Thus bluewater sportfishing can be amazing and readily accessed.