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Lakefield National Park open to fishing and camping
  |  First Published: June 2016



Cape York will be flooded with tourists during June and July as these months are much cooler for visiting and camping. Lots of festivities are held in and around Cooktown during these times. If you are planning on visiting Cooktown, then make sure you jump on Cook Shire’s website to check the dates for fun celebrations and time your visit to coincide.

Cooktown’s fishing adventures are mostly restricted to the rivers at this time of year due to the strong southeast trade winds. The estuaries will be clear (unless we have late seasonal rain which can happen) and cool. This means plenty of croc sightings will happen as they try to warm themselves in the midday sun.

Clear water usually has big trevally and queenfish chasing the bait right up into the brackish waters. Lots of surface action usually occurs here and it can be a bucket load of fun to throw small poppers into the marauding fish and watch them chase down poppers. Grunter is another common species to try for at this time of year. Try the deeper holes on the clear days and up on the sand flats during a making tide on either overcast days or at night. Grunter can spook easily so stealth fishing is the key. Estuary cod will also be biting, try around the snags for a few and you may even catch a barra using this technique. The barra will be in the estuaries and can still be caught during times of cooler water. Try flicking up on the flats where the water may have warmed a little from the sun or shallower areas with structure.

Currently, the estuaries have been a bit slow. Both Endeavour River Sports Fishing Club and Mossman’s Sports Fishing Club met up in the Bloomfield for a social fishing trip. A lot of lines were soaked in the Bloomfield River that weekend using a massive array of fishing techniques, but the results were minimal. However, the Bloomfield camping grounds were well set up to host the event with an excellent camp kitchen, hot showers, flushing toilets and you could even take your dog. The Bloomfield River fishing is reasonably protected from the trade winds also.

Elim Beach will be a popular place for camping because it will be out of the trade winds. The June/July school holidays will have campers flooding into this area with quads and boats. It’s an easy drive into Eddie’s Campground at Elim, which also provides showers and toilets. If you choose to camp at this location with a boat, then try to plan your trip around the times of a midday high tide. This will result in easy access to and from your camp base by boat throughout the day. If you have a quad, go for a blatt down the beach and check out the beautiful coloured sands or head east over the dune tracks to another beach, which can fish well in the gutters if it’s not too windy (4x4 can access these places too). Please be respectful of the other campers in the area while riding your bike.

Lakefield National Park (LNP) is open (Central and South end of the park only). There has been a long waiting period for all those who are keen for a little more adventurous fishing. The barramundi will be in all the waterholes throughout the park. Flicking lures for barra while walking the banks is the most common technique. Another is to use small tinnies that allows you to cover more of the waterholes with ease. Whichever method you use, remember to be croc wise because some big crocs call the LNP home. While the trade winds blow, a lot of Cooktowner’s hit the park.

From Cooktown, you can fish some Lakefield destinations and still make it home for dinner. However, the real experience is when you’re out camping in the bush under the brightest stars with cold beers and catching fish throughout the day. Remember, don’t destroy what you came to enjoy. Complaints are made more and more often about the state people are leaving their camps in – this will only result in more locked gates and limited access.

• If you’d like any current information while you’re visiting Cooktown’s region or more information about a particular place in the neighbourhood to fish, then simply like my Facebook page, Stacky’s Fishing Adventures or send me a message.

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