Where to fish
Lake Kununurra can be fished like most freshwater impoundments and waterways with hard body lures, soft plastics, vibes and topwater lures such as poppers and fizzers.
In the daytime cast your lures at sunken branches and structures and in the evening try fishing the more open waters.
Discovery Caravan Park
The section of water from the PumpHouse Restaurant to the inlet at Discovery Caravan Park is very fishy! There are a few large trees sitting about 15m from the shoreline, with plenty of timber also along the shore. A range of weighted soft plastics fished near this structure is an effective method, which has proved successful for many fishers. However, if this fails to tempt a barra, fear not – a fan of casts made from the casting deck with a diving minnow is an equally as successful alternative. It's important to note, don’t ‘strike’ when your lure hits the timber – stay diligent so you can decipher what’s a hit from a fish and your lure knocking a log! If you do find your lure amid the structure, drop your rod tip and let the lure float up then retreat from the snag and continue your slow and twitchy retrieve.
Lily Creek Lagoon
Lily Creek Lagoon is a shallow weedy lagoon scattered with timber above and below the surface. A marked channel takes you from the fantastic boat ramp at Celebrity Tree Park through to Lake Kununurra. Kimberleyland Waterfront Holiday Park is located along the lagoon’s shoreline, with its picturesque grassy banks hosting the Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking Group’s community fish releases. Fishing is relatively difficult at Lily Creek Lagoon from anything bigger than a kayak or canoe given there is plenty of timber and shallow weed beds. A very shallow diving minnow or surface lure are best suited in these waters. This area has a maximum speed of five knots, so please be aware of the other lake users and minimise your boat’s wake.
Once you’re out of the channel of Lily Creek Lagoon, you’ll be greeted by a mighty landmark – the stunning Thethebeleng, also known as Elephant Rock. Below Elephant Rock is the Kununurra Race Club’s picturesque water-side racecourse, with the water along the track providing plenty of sunken timber to slowly troll along for a barra. Towards Elephant rock there are a series of rock bars and deeper pockets of water. These pockets regularly hold fish, as does the stretch of water leading into the expansive Emu Creek lagoon behind Elephant Rock. A spread of minnows slow trolled will locate the fish in this run. Emu Creek lagoon is a heavily weeded shallow system, much like that of Lily Creek Lagoon, and is best accessed by smaller vessels, including canoes and SUPs. There’s a sandy track that leads from the Old Darwin Road which allows access to these backwaters. It’s an amazing place to explore in the early morning, while the sun is glowing on Elephant Rock’s red surface.
Running mid-river, upstream, from Elephant Rock there is a series of sunken trees in 8m to 10m of water. Be cautious as a few of these come within a 1m of the surface. These trees are scattered over a few hundred metres of water and Barramundi are fairly regularly found in the current at the base of these trees. The most successful way to get these fish to eat is by cranking and pausing 150mm to 180mm deep diving minnows like the Halco Scorpion 150mm Crazy Deep through the timber. A suggested retrieve is to make a long cast beside the identified timber, sweep the rod back with the tip low to the water and crank the reel a few turns. Beginning the retrieve like this quickly rips the lure down to its deepest running depth. Pause the retrieve allowing the lure to suspend or slowly float back up, make a long sweep of the rod, wind up the slack, pause and repeat. Vertical jigging soft vibes through this area works too. I wish you luck extracting these fish from their homes…a GT approach to extracting the fish from the structure increases your chances. Have the boat driver ready with the motor on and use the boat to pull the fish to clear water.
Crossing Falls is a small rural estate adjacent to the Packsaddle Pump Station. It’s a 15-minute drive east of town along the Victoria Highway, turning off the Crossing Falls Road. There is a small gravel and mud boat ramp there suitable for small to medium size boats and room for a few cars and trailers. Within a few hundred metres of the ramp, you have access to the creek upstream of the ramp and the various rock bars in that area. Use your sounder to search for fish along the timber-lined edges and deeper rock bars.
Munthanma Aboriginal Community is about 1km upstream of Crossing Falls. Along the community’s shoreline, there are a series of snags and sunken trees. This area has produced some great fish but the weed when trolling can be a hindrance. The 4km to 5km of shoreline heading upstream from here feature shallow weed beds. There is a lot of water between structure along this stretch. Immediately begin sounding as you get to the gorge country. On the right-hand side the towering red cliffs make way for more gently slopes and these shorelines are littered with sunken timber. Run a spread of diving minnows as you run past these snags.
Spillway Creek – this is a very consistent spot when it comes to landing a barra! And, we’re talking some of the bigger ones found in the lake, too – with members of the Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking Group catching fish to 1.2m here! The fast water found downstream of the Spillway’s mouth is considered by many locals as the most consistent spot for catching barramundi on Lake Kununurra. During the wet season, fishing the colour change at the mouth of Spillway Creek is a fantastic option. In dry season, the gentler current pushes water over the shallow weed bed and into the rubbly bottomed fast water section of the main lake. This 500m stretch holds fish throughout. The downstream rock bar protrudes into the current and the deep eddy behind is worth a few casts with a heavily weighted soft plastic. The most effective method to fish this section is to sit 10m off the shoreline and make long casts upstream of the boat. Allow the soft plastic to sink and retrieve keeping the lure close to the riverbed. Using an electric motor will allow you to nudge up the river slowly and fan your casts to either side of the river as you go. Molix pre-rigged shads in 140mm or 185mm size are dynamite through this section of the lake. A paused retrieve with a slow roll back to the boat will entice the bites. If you do find fish holding in this section of water, keep persisting with your casts. If they haven’t eaten your offering yet, before giving up completely, look elsewhere for fish and come back in an hour or two.
Farther past Spillway Creek, Jump Rock is the next landmark and its scenery is simply spectacular! This area boasts some of the deepest sections of the lake – and there’s plenty of rod-bending action to be had dropping a soft vibe to the resident catfish lurking in the depths. However, it's not just catties – there are certainly BIG barramundi holding in the currents and eddies through this section. Deep diving 150mm minnows slowly trolled through here will entice bites. The lake’s shorelines flatten out upstream from Jump Rock and so does the structure. The houseboat’s mooring and Sandy Beach are the next two obvious landmarks before the lake begins to wind through weed beds and sunken timber. If you are travelling through this section for the first time pull back the speed a bit and cruise through the next 5km. Pelican Rock is a solitary rock mid-river and its worth a few casts around. Just upstream, Coolimon Creek holds fish at the mouth. It narrows up after 500m or so.
Lake Kununurra is renowned for its fast water fishing and Carlton Gorge is where the actions starts! This point of the river is about 30km from town and boasts stunning scenery, with the towering rocks sloping down to the waterline. Although your surroundings here are picturesque, it’s important not to be lowered into a false sense of security – especially if you haven’t spent a lot of time on the lake – because this fast-running river needs to be approached with caution, if you’re heading upstream. From Carlton Gorge, it is about 20km or so to the base of the Argyle Dam wall. The overhanging fig trees of this fast-flowing section offer brilliant fishing for the sporty sooty grunter. Barramundi can be hard to target in such fast-flowing water. Consistent and accurate casts into the eddies behind structure are your best chance.