Swoffa - Saltwater Flyfishing Australia saltwater fly fishing australia
Australia's best flyfishing
Milkfish chanos chanos
aka: Milky

 Photo: © Jono Shales

Milkfish are in a complete league of their own. Period.

These things are basically an oversized mullet on a double dose of steroids, armed with one of the most out of proportion tails of all fish.

Amazingly challenging to target with a fly, but not impossible by any standards. Their diet consists of microscopic organisms, surface scum, little bits of weed and a whole soup of tiny marine organisms. They feed both on the surface and sub-surface but it's the surface feeding behavior that gives away a school's position.



They are by no means aggressive feeders and most of the time swim around at a fixed pace with their mouths open scooping in invisible food. But don't be deceived by this feeding behaviour because one thing the milkfish has as it's main defence from predators, is the most unbelievable speed and agility when they need it.

The challenge is to get one to eat your fly and it's this single element that makes them so challengingly attractive, putting this fish very high, if not number one, on many Aussie swoffers hitlist.




Distribution: Northern half of Australia
Size: 2 - 10kg, big specimens around 14kg.

Tackle and methods for Milkfish

What tackle to use
8 - 10 wt outfits. 300 m of backing as a minimum, large diameter fly reel, 10 - 12ft leader length, tapering to fluoro tippets of 14 - 20lb.

What flies to use
Shrimp fly; Bread fly; Scum or Weed fly; Salty BMS; Small Clousers

Fishing strategy
The hardest part is getting the fish to eat your fly and in some parts of the country some anglers use bread berley and cast bread fly imitations into where the fish are feeding, however this is not everyone's approach. They eat algae scum and small marine organisms so a more 'purist' yet challenging approach would be tiny flies to match the hatch.

Milkfish are not carnivorous predators and don't chase down their prey, rather they Bread berley and bread fly is a popular method. A lot of progress has been made sight-fishing fishing to active schools in very warm water using small shrimp flies.

Luck, persistence, patience, the correct conditions, feeding fish and weather all play a part in being able to target them.

Target Milkfish in the following locations:

Target Milkfish with the following guides:

Carpentaria Seafaris

Exmouth Fly Fishing

Fish Philliskirk

One Tree Beach
Links to more information

share on facebook
send to a friend   |   contact us   |   © June, 2024
terms of use  |  our technology partners:   idfk   |  jono shales