- The southern saratoga is a freshwater fish species that is native to northern Australia, particularly the Gulf of Carpentaria and the northern parts of Queensland.
- They have a long, slender body shape and are covered in large, shiny scales that are often greenish-brown in colour.
- The Southern Saratoga is a predatory fish that feeds on insects, crustaceans, small fish, and other aquatic animals.
- Southern Saratoga are sexually dimorphic, with males having a more elongated dorsal fin and a more pointed anal fin.
- During breeding season, males will build nests in shallow water and court females by swimming around them and flashing their fins.
- Females can lay up to 1000 eggs, which are fertilised externally by the male. The eggs hatch in about 48 hours, and the young fish are guarded by the male until they are old enough to fend for themselves.
- The Southern Saratoga is prized by recreational anglers for its large size and challenging fight. They are also sometimes kept in home aquariums, although they require large tanks and specialised care.
- These fish are known to be long-lived, with individuals living up to 20 years in the wild.
Aquarium & Recreational Fishing
Southern Saratoga are a prized catch for recreational anglers due to their challenging fight and tasty flesh. However, they are protected in some areas, so it’s important to follow local regulations and catch-and-release practices to ensure their sustainability. They are also a popular aquarium fish as they are large, aggressive and visually impressive in aquariums. They do require specialised care, so they are best suited for experienced fish keepers.
Species: Scleropages leichardti
Southern Saratoga fish are listed as a “Vulnerable” species by the Australian government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Fish Taste Quality
Southern Saratoga are considered good to eat by many people due to their firm, white flesh and mild flavour.
Taste Rating: 3/5
How to catch
Catch Difficulty: Difficult
Tackle: Running Sinker Rig, Artificial Rig
Bait: Lures, Prawns, Worms, Yabbies, Soft plastics, Live minnow, Insects, Flies
Technique: Keep bait close to structure, Cast lures with a fast retrieve, Cast lures close to structure
Popularity: Highly Targeted
As Aquarium Fish
Care Level: Moderate to difficult
Reef Compatible: No
Minimum Tank Size: 250+ gallons