Lakefield national park is a renowned Barramundi fishing location here in FNQ. Lakefield is located 340km North West of Cairns. It’s about a six hour drive from cairns, four hours on sealed road and two hours on dirt road, only suitable for 4WD’s. There are many different water holes and beautiful camping spots throughout the park. Recently a few of us went up for our first time and camped at one of the more popular spots (Kalpowar Crossing). The bonus about camping here is that you can launch a boat off the crossing plus it also has shower and toilet facilities.
We planned a four day round trip to Lakefield and back to Cairns. For years we had heard lots of stories about this place, 50 Barra per day etc, so on the way up we didn’t really know what to expect. Would the fish be firing or not? Before we knew it we were on the dirt road heading through the park. A few days prior to our trip the area had heaps of rain and the road was more a mud pit then a road causing a few trailer dramas but it’s all part of a fishing trip up north. To get to these locations just after the wet all running gear must be in A1 condition and ready to take a hiding.
The fishing: After setting up camp on the first afternoon we dropped the boats in off the causeway and proceeded to head upstream to check out what the waterhole had to offer. After a quick run we noticed it all looked very similar, deep water with lots of structure so we started fishing a sun warmed bank. The fishing wasn’t great but we managed to boat a couple of little Barra hoping plastics down deep off the bottom. It didn’t take long for the winter sun to set, it started to get dark quickly and while this was happening we started admiring the sun set. We then noticed we were being watched by a Crocodile that was roughly 3m in length swimming up the middle of the water hole with it back arched out of the water.
The second day was much better fishing. The water was warmer and had started to clean up in turn the Barra were biting. We started the day with Dec boating a nice fish at 92cm’s and ended the day with eight Barra in about half an hour including two in two casts, All the fish fell too slow rolled plastics close to the bottom.
Overall the fishing for the trip wasn’t great but enough to keep you interested. The camping and the trip in general was great and highly recommend to anyone that hasn’t been to make their way to Lakefield for a few days. From what I’ve heard from older blokes that do a trip every year to the freshwater reaches of Lakefield it can be hot or cold fishing and this trip for us was far from hot fishing wise.
Gear: The gear I used on this particular fishing trip was a Shimano Curado 200I series matched with a Shimano Nano Cranx B/C rod and 20lb Power Pro, This combo has accounted for many different species including some big Barra and is still silky smooth to cast all day at the snags. On this trip it was put through its paces fishing a flooded causeway and having to stop the fish from making their way over the rocks and down the other side. Not once did it feel like I was going to get busted off with its drag and power gear ratio. Get out there today and try one yourself!