Fishing and Camping Guide to Northern Territory
Chapter 9: The Daly River
By Dick Eussen
The area above the Daly River Crossing has excellent fishing most of the year. Hayward Creek, Chilling Creek, the rock bars and deep pools separated by swift flowing rapid-like water are home to barra and large sooty grunter.
Chilling Creek is about 8 km upstream from the crossing and a popular spot for either luring or bait fishing with cherabin, spangled perch, sooty grunter or mullet. While my preference is fishing with lures, the ready availability of cherabin makes live bait fishing an attractive option. Hang cherabin about a metre under a float and let it drift into the snags for best results – and hang on tight.
Hayward Creek is about 11 km further from the crossing and has good fishing in its navigational reach. Metre-plus barra have come from both creeks and the river pools. The big rock hole about 500 m above the crossing is a renowned big barra hole, while the crossing has given up its share of fish, especially if you dare to drop live bait into the culverts under the causeway.
This is beautiful country with the river and creeks surrounded by fringing monsoon gallery rainforest that shade the water giving it a cooling effect during the heat of the day. While the barra may not match the number of big fish caught downstream, they are plentiful and along with the sooty grunter will keep you entertained all day. In fact this is my favorite fishing spot on the Daly.
Wildlife of the Daly River area.
There has been many species of birds identified within the Daly River area including uncommon species such as the Yellow throated minor (white rump) the Green winged pygmy goose and the Roufus banded honey eater.
There are many more species to add to the list.
Many different types of reptiles could be found within the Daly River area include Saltwater and freshwater crocodiles, 6 species of turtles including the rare Pig nose turtle, up to 30 species of skinks, 11 species of Dragons, 15 species of Geckos, 10 species of Goannas, 4 species of Legless lizards and up to 30 species of snakes.
Native mammals that could be found within the Daly River area include Antilopine kangaroo, Agile wallaby, Short ear rock wallaby, Black wallaroo, Northern quoll, Golden bandicoot, Sugar glider, Possums, Echidna, Little red flying fox, Dingo, Black footed tree rat, Water rat and numbers of other small nocturnal mammals.
There are a number of introduced mammals that include Water buffalo, pigs, cattle, horses and donkeys that are feral in the area.