Sport fishing


Ian Middleton, Ok Tedi Development Foundation’s CEO and a keen fisherman, describes the unique pleasure of sports fishing in Papua New Guinea’s remote Western Province.

The Western Province of Papua New Guinea is amongst the last few pristine wildernesses on this earth, a diverse habitat comprising unique flora and fauna species, many endemic to the nation.

This includes one of the toughest fighting fish known to swim, the Niugini Black Bass, recently recognised by the International Game Fish Association as the Papuan Black Snapper. Cohabitating with the world’s largest population of barramundi, as well as an abundance of saratoga and tarpon makes the Western Province a fishing paradise and a must-visit location for adventurous sport and fly fishermen alike.

Growing to over 20 kilos, with a healthy dose of attitude and aggressively feeding from within snaggy habitats, the Niugini Black Bass commonly destroys rods, reels and endless tackle: it’s an iconic species on the ‘must catch’ list of many a discerning fisherman. While the bass is busy fighting deep and pulling your arms off, you are equally likely to have a large barramundi of up to 30 kilos come exploding through the water surface with mouth open, gills flared and head shaking in an attempt to throw your lure. These spectacular large-scaled silver fish provide the perfect contrast to the dark brown marauding bass.

Additionally, the angler gets to fish from crystal clear tea-coloured tributaries, off-river water bodies and spectacular lakes that feed into the mighty Fly River, all teeming with an unrivalled diversity of life that includes deer, tree kangaroos, the bird of paradise, magpie geese, eagles and every water bird imaginable, not to mention tall hardwood stands, spectacular ferns and an astounding variety of orchids.

This article first published in PNG’s Western Province 2012

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