Fishing Spots in WA

Each state and territory in Australia has its own premier fishing spots and predominant fish species. Some locations may reveal abundant fish stocks of a select species whilst others may offer a more diverse range of species. This article discusses some of the popular fishing spots in Western Australia and provides some helpful tips.
Article By: ExplorOz Team
Created: July 2008
Revised: March 2010
Latest Feedback: April 2012

NEW Fishing Regulations in WA

A number of general licensing changes will has come into effect since 2 March 2010, including a State-wide Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence (RFBL) and a new fee structure for existing recreational fishing licences.

It's important to remember that from 2 March 2010, an RFBL is required to undertake any general fishing activity conducted with the use of a powered boat anywhere in the State. If you don't hold an RFBL, you can still go fishing provided you are in the company of someone who holds an RFBL and you stay within that person's bag limit.

As a recreational fisher, your licence fee will go directly to the research and management of Western Australia's recreational fisheries and that's a significant step towards a sustainable industry.

Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence

A Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence is required to undertake any general fishing activity conducted with the use of a powered vessel anywhere in the State. A Recreational Fishing from a Boat Licence will not be required to fish from un-powered vessels, such as kayaks, nor will it be required where an existing licence fishing activity is the only activity undertaken.

Any fisher not holding a Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence will be allowed to fish from a boat in the company of a licensed boat fisher within the licensed fisher's bag limit.

For more information on the NEW fishing regulations, please click: Changes To Recreational Fishing Licences

West Coast Bioregion Closures

Stocks of some of Western Australia’s most prized demersal (bottom-dwelling) scalefish like dhufish and pink snapper are known to be at critically low levels in the West Coast Bioregion (Kalbarri to Augusta). To help demersal scalefish stocks recover and be sustainable for the future, a total ban on the take of ‘high risk’ demersal fish by recreational fishers in the West Coast Bioregion applies from 15 October to 15 December, inclusive. A list of the high risk demersal species to which the two-month ban applies in the West Coast Bioregion is contained in the Department of Fisheries website.

For further information, please visit: Department of Fisheries Western Australia or contact
the Department of Fisheries on 1800 726 586.

(Note: Commercial fishers are under separate arrangements to reduce their catch of these species). Please act responsibly and do your bit to ensure we all have fish for the future.

Key dates for the West Coast Bioregion fishery

15 October

  • Start of the two-month seasonal closure (for boat and shore fishing) on
    the take of ‘high risk’ demersal species such as dhufish and pink snapper by recreational fishers;

  • Change to the combined bag limit for ‘medium risk’ fish – including tailor, silver trevally (skippy) and King George whiting – from 16 to 12;
  • and
  • Change to the combined bag limit for ‘lowest risk’ species – including herring, sand whiting and garfish – from 40 to 30.

16 December

From 16 December, new bag and boat limits will come into place for ‘high risk’ species. These measures include:
  • The high risk category split into demersal scalefish and pelagic species;

  • A mixed bag limit of 2 high risk demersal scalefish, of which only 1 (one) may be a dhufish (see table for details);

  • A mixed bag limit of 2 pelagic species;

  • A boat limit of 2 dhufish (6 dhufish on charter vessels);

  • Removal of the existing boat limits for high risk species;

  • A requirement to carry a release weight when fishing from a boat for demersal scalefish in the West Coast Bioregion;

  • Removal of the maximum size for grey banded rock cod;

  • New pink snapper size limit of 50 cm applies south of Lancelin; and

  • Some high risk species moved to the medium risk category.
The seasonal closure (15 October to 15 December) will apply to the species contained in the table. When the fishery reopens on 16 December the new bag limits listed in the table will apply.

Shark Bay

Shark Bay covers an area of more than 23,000 square kilometres and is situated on the most western coast of the Australian continent. Shark Bay is actually two bays, formed by peninsulas lying side by side and was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1991.

Shark Bay has many protected areas and conservation reserves, including Shark Bay Marine Park, Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve, Francois Peron National Park, Zuytdorp Nature Reserve and numerous protected islands.

Fishing Spots

Shark Bay is considered a melting pot of west coast fisheries where tropical and temperate waters meet. Steep Point is no doubt the most famous land-based fishing spot in Australia. This spot attracts a large array of pelagic fish like Spanish mackerel, samson fish, yellowfin tuna and shark. Popular smaller catches at the point include snapper, flathead, mulloway and tailor to name a few. Another popular point is Zuytdorp Point where fish such as snapper, tuna, mackerel and sailfish can be caught from the cliffs. For those that want a calmer fishing environment, dropping a line from the Denham town jetty is a popular activity for catching squid.

Tips

There are three common techniques for fishing the cliffs and they include: baitcasting lightly weighted baits, such as garfish and pilchards; ballooning with big baits; or using lures. Each can be effective on the right occasion, although there is one constant - your gear needs to be powerful enough to handle big fish and you need a system to haul the heavy captures up a cliff face. Like any cliff or point fishing - safety is paramount and local knowledge and weather conditions should be sought prior. Authorities are also calling for anglers to wear inflatable life jackets that can be inflated by pulling a string.

Rottnest

Rottnest Island is only 19kms off the coast of Fremantle and is a very popular tourist destination. The island is approximately 11kms long and 4.5kms at its widest point, and is known for its tranquil and pristine beaches and bays.

Fishing Spots

Rottnest provides a number of locations to fish whether you wish to cast from the rocks, the beach or jetty. Fish species such as: tailor, silver bream, gardies, skippy and herring can be hooked from Natural jetty on the Thompson Bay side. Bathurst Point near the Light House as well as Geordie Bay is a favourite for herring. Little Armstrong Bay yields good catches of king george whiting, while Salmon Bay as its name implies can yield good catches of salmon when it’s in season.

Tips

Fishing on Rottnest Island is best done from the months of March through to the end of September. Light tackle is usually all that’s needed and long rods are not required as most of the top spots are within minimal casting distance.

Kalbarri

Kalbarri is a coastal town, about 660kms north of Perth and is renowned for its spectacular gorges and coastal scenery created by the mighty Murchison River.

Fishing Spots

There are a number of good spots such as Chinaman’s Rock which is better known for reef fishing where tailor, mulloway, mackerel, cod and general reef fish can be caught. Also near the mouth of the Murchison, nice-sized tailor can be landed at Black Rock and Oyster Reef. Some of these fishing spots can be dangerous under rough weather conditions so check conditions and seek local advice prior to venturing on the rocks.

Higher up the Murchison River reveals big black bream and mangrove jacks and also mud and blue crabs. The extensive Wagoe Reef, just south of Kalbarri, provides a long fishing platform for shore-based anglers. Surf fishing for mackerel, tailor, mullaway and cod is possible at Wittecarra Creek and Red Bluff beach which is located south of the Kalbarri township.

Tips

Mackerel can be sought between January and April using baited garfish or a trolling lure. Ballooning can also work well when an easterly is blowing. Tactics include baitcasting using mulies or garfish and bottom fishing for large skippy, tarwhine, pink snapper, sharks, mulloway, tailor, spanish mackerel and tuna.

Walpole

Walpole is famous for its old growth forests and the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk which is in the Walpole-Nornalop National Park. The Walpole River feeds into Walpole Inlet which in turn flows into the larger, Nornalup Inlet before flowing through the mouth and into the Southern Ocean.


Fishing Spots

Species found in the inlets and estuaries include black bream, king george and sand whiting, herring, tarwhine, flathead and flounder. There are excellent fishing spots around the shallow waters of the Walpole Inlet from both the town jetty and Swan Bay jetty. The Deep River which is said to be the most pristine river in Australia, feeds directly into the Nornalup Inlet. Fishing in the deeper waters can yield catches of pink snapper and yellowfin whiting. There are also good beach fishing spots from Nornalup and Mandalay beaches where you may hook skippy, tarwhine, tailor, king george whiting, mulloway and salmon.

Tips

For fishing in the inlets/estuaries, a light rod and reel is all that’s needed. Try using a No. 6 hook with prawns and a dollop of berley. Trolling lures can also be successfully used for tailor in the deeper waters.

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