How to catch Arowana in Singapore

What is an Arowana?

Arowana is an elusive fish that resides in the reservoirs of Singapore. Originating from the freshwater lakes and rivers around Southeast Asia, Arowana was introduced to the reservoirs of Singapore and has since grown in population.

These fish are popular aquarium fish, with some specimens being sold for up to $30000 per fish. Furthermore, it also holds special cultural significance in areas influenced by Chinese culture. These fish are thought to be a symbol of good luck and prosperity to families who kept them.

Arowana is easily identifiable by the large scales on their body and their bony jaws with two short whiskers at the front. Generally, Arowana tends to be nocturnal feeders and hunt for small prey like insects, frogs and smaller fish at night.

Types of Arowana

There are over 10 species of Arowana in Singapore currently. Singapore is currently home to a few species of Asian Arowana, with the most common being the Green Arowana followed by rarer species like the silver, gold cross back and red-tailed gold Arowana, which are considered to be very rare in Singapore. Due to this fact, most anglers in Singapore prefer targeting Green Arowanas.

How to use a lure to catch an Arowana

Picture of Arowana caught using our own SGFR Squishy Lagoons! Get yours here!

Arowana spots - most commonly found in Lower Pierce Reservoirs and MacRitchie Reservoirs. Arowana can be found in other freshwater locations but are much rarer to find.

Recommended lures - Due to the Arowana’s habit of feeding near the surface, popular lures to use for Arowana are small, topwater lures that have a more subtle, quiet action. Other options are small slow sinking minnows or popper flies

How to lure - should be done using slow actions, either pausing and twitching your lure while reeling back slowly or simply straight cranking back the lure slowly. Arowana are very careful and particular about the presentation of a lure so it is crucial to control the speed and action of the lure so as to not spook them. Arowana are very smart and it is said that they will not take the same lure twice. Once hooked up to an Arowana, it is important not to set the hook too hard as they have very bony jaws which may break if the hook up is too strong. The line must always be kept tight as Arowana tends to jump which will allow them to spit out the lure. 

How to use a bait to catch an Arowana?

For baiting, recommended baits are live baits like frogs and small minnows or goldfish. Dead baits do not work for Arowana as they are not scavengers and do not feed on dead flesh. Do note that it is best not to use any rigs for hooking on bait as it is best to keep the presentation of the bait as natural as possible. One way of hooking the live baits is simply tying the hook to the snap and hooking the bait on straight. It is advised to use an ultralight or light set-up to cast the bait. One way of adding more weight for baiting is adding a small split shot, furthermore, this will help the bait sink faster if needed. However, in Singapore, it is important to keep in mind that using live bait in Singapore waters is not allowed due to the law.

How to take care & handle an Arowana?

1. When handling an Arowana, never use a fish grip to land it as its bony jaws can damaged easily from the bogar grip.

2. To land an Arowana, grab its body using your hands. Do not worry about its fins as Arowana does have spines.

3. Be extra careful as it bites and can hurt badly.

4. Lastly, it is important to minimise the time when the fish is out of water. Arowana especially, can stress easily and die from being out of water for too long, as compared to other freshwater species in Singapore. The recommended time of keeping it out of water will be roughly 2 minutes maximum.

How do Arowanas fit in our ecosystem? 

Arowanas are not native to Singapore’s waters, however they do not pose a threat to the ecosystem and do not damage the environment. Arowanas in Singapore are extremely smart and will tend to avoid lures once they are hooked once. Smaller Arowanas in Singapore tend to be more aggressive towards lures as compared to bigger ones.

The natural predators for Arowana in Singapore are Toman or Giant Snakehead. However, they can also be attacked by other predators such as large peacock bass or other Arowanas.

One pro tip! – Barge into its territory.

Lastly, it is good to remember that Arowana are extremely territorial and therefore will fight for their territory. So, one tip is using your lure in a way to make it think that it is a minnow barging into its territory. This then provokes and cause it to go for your minnow.


7 things to take note of if keeping an Arowana as a pet!!

Keeping Arowana as a pet is not an easy task whether the Arowana is bought from fish farms or brought back from the wild.

1. A sizable tank (minimum around 4 feet in length) is needed for keeping Arowana.

2. Arowana are also extremely sensitive to changes in the water like temperature, PH levels and chlorine levels. These factors must be kept at optimum levels for Arowana at all times or they can die.

3. It is also crucial that unless trained, Arowana should always be kept alone as they are very territorial creatures and would most likely fight with each other if put together or with other species of fish.

4. Arowana can be trained to be hand fed, usually with live frogs, worms, or fresh fish chunks. Alternatively, they can also be just thrown in the pond for the Arowana to feed themselves.

5. Arowana’s colours on the scales can also be enhanced with the use of tanning light installed above the tank. This will allow the colours of the Arowana’s scales to be amplified thus their colours will be more vibrant.

6. Lastly, do not panic when the Arowana does not eat when first brought into the tank/pond. Arowana takes time to adjust into new environments and can take up to a week before familiarising itself with its surroundings.

7. Arowana sometimes can get sick quite easily, thus it is important to keep a close eye on them every day and ensure that they have no abnormal behaviours. 


What setup is the best for catching Arowana?

1. There is no specific set-up that is needed whether it is spinning or bait casting. However, it is recommended not to use a heavy set up as the lures used for catching Arowana are quite light and thus would not be able to be casted far if the set-up was heavy.

2. Furthermore, there is no need to set the hook hard unlike other fish like Toman due to the Arowana’s fragile jaw. A preferable set up would be between light to medium set up with topwater/slow sinking lures that have a quiet and subtle movement.

3. A budget recommendation for a decent Arowana set-up can be Shimano sienna size 1000 paired with Daiwa Saber for spinning or Shimano SLX and Storm discovery for baitcasting. Both these set-ups can be bought at under $200.

4. If you are looking for something more expensive, the Shimano Stradic size 1000 paired with Rapala trailblazer, a 4 piece travel rod for spinning. For baitcasting, the Shimano bantam paired with Legit Design wild side WSC66ML.

5. There are many other set-ups that are suited to Arowana fishing, these set-ups listed above are just some examples that can be tried.

6. It is also good to remember to be careful with your equipment while fishing for Arowana as most of the time you would be fishing at spots with limited casting space or spaces with thick foliage which could hinder your casting abilities and cause damage to your set-up if casted wrongly.

7. For line poundage, I would recommend between 10-20 pounds braided line as Arowana do not grow that big and thus there is no need for heavy line. 


Now there we have another Arowana expert!

All The Best and Happy Fishing!