Fishing Spots in NSW & ACT

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 New South Wales (including ACT) and provides some helpful tips.


Hawkesbury is a nature enthusiast’s paradise, about an hour from Sydney and has over 70 percent of the region dedicated to National Parks. Surrounded by 200 million year old rugged Hawkesbury Sandstone and dotted with secluded river communities, the Hawkesbury River is navigable for over 100kms flowing through rainforests and mangroves to drier open woodlands.

Fishing Spots

Although the Hawkesbury region attracts over a million anglers annually, the river and its tributaries is long enough for you to find many quiet spots. Each of the bends and stretches of the Hawkesbury is famed for one species of fish or another. Good spots include Spencer Wharf, Mangrove Creek and Tarbay Gully which produces bream, flathead and mulloway. Around 4kms downstream from Wisemans Ferry, the target fish are bass and estuary perch. Near the Lower Hawkesbury where it is under the influence of the sea and tides, the points around Flint and Steel Bay can yield nice catches of black bream, juvenile snapper and mulloway. Within Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, there is a waterway in a beautiful valley called Cowan Creek. This creek can produce some good catches of flathead, whiting, bream, leatherjacket, luderick, mulloway, the occasional john dory and an interesting eel=like looking fish called hairtail.


To catch the elusive mulloway near Spencer especially during the months of spring, use live yellowtail as bait and start fishing at dusk for better results. When targeting hairtail during winter, use blue pilchards (mulies) or live yellowtail. Lower the bait slowly into the depths where the hairtail schools are congregating and keep the bait suspended there until bites are felt. Make sure you use a wire trace as hairtail have razor sharp teeth.


Ballina is a coastal township set amid sub-tropical northern New South Wales. It features lush green rural countryside, pristine white beaches on the oceanside and picturesque headlands. The main waterway, the Richmond River is well stocked with a diverse range of marine wildlife.

Fishing Spots

Ballina is an excellent place for recreational fishing with plenty of spots on the Richmond River to choose from. You can target many different fish species from the rocks, breakwalls or the shores around the township. At Shaws Bay which is a landlocked albeit tidally influenced waterbody, big tailor, luderick, bream and even mangrove jacks can be caught. The Richmond River is very clean and well populated with fish and there are good spots around the north and south walls with luderick, bream, mulloway, tailor and the odd mackerel and bluefin tuna coming in close in summer. Further upstream at Burns Point is one of Australia’s finest bream spots especially when one is fishing around the structures. On the ocean side and to the north of Ballina is a great spot called Sharps Beach. This spot has a good hole at the northern end of the beach holding bream and school mulloway, whilst at the southern end at Flat Rock headland, the rocky gutters attract bream, luderick, trevally, tailor and the prized rock blackfish. Further south at Black Head is also a great spot for mulloway, bream, mackerel and marlin possibilities during summer.


Beach fishing at South Ballina Beach is a top spot with really well-formed gutters and holes. This beach is renowned for year-round tailor, large whiting and mulloway during spring and early summer. Use the berley technique of luring and catching Beach worms for bait. Shaws Bay produces best results when using floating prawns at dusk.

In the rocky gutters off Flat Rock headland, Rock fish can be targeted. They can be caught with stout rods, 10 to 20kg line and bobby corks to minimise tackle losses. Floated baits which are typically used to keep tackle away from rough sea beds can be loaded with cunjevoi flesh, cuttlefish, abalone gut, bass yabbies, bread, crab or prawns. You may also want to mix up a nice batch of berley consisting of stale bread, chicken pellets and the rock blackfish’s favourite cuisine - cabbage weed. Since the rock blackfish is a very strong fighter, diving for the seabed or making a beeline for a cave, double-strength hooks and lines from 6 to 15 kg breaking-strain are necessary.

Port Stephens

Port Stephens is a large natural harbour about 160kms northeast of Sydney. The harbour is mainly shallow and sandy but has sufficient deep water to accommodate large vessels. Port Stephens is often called the ‘blue water paradise’ due to its beautiful marine surroundings, making it quite popular for recreational fishing and boating.

Fishing Spots

At various times of the year, the estuary of Port Stephens provides anglers plenty of reasons to fish. Some of the best and most exciting spots on the port is the entrance to the Myall River and the sand flats in the main channel. Here you can catch nice-sized bream, whiting, flathead and mulloway. A variety of species can be taken off the deep water jetty at Hawks Nest, whilst Bennetts Beach is good for tailor. Tomaree Head on the southern side of the mouth yields the most species in one spot including snapper, trevally, tuna, yellowtail kingfish, cobia and shark. Stockton Beach, which lies further down the coast offers everything from tailor, salmon and really big mulloway.


When fishing in and around Lemon Tree Passage for flathead or bream, use fresh baits of worms and yabbies. These can often be collected at low tide on the sand and mudflats. Beach worms are highly favoured bait and can be collected in sand or the receding wash. Use a berley bag and swish it over the sand, wait for the wash to carry the scent back and watch the beach worms poke their heads out. At Stockton Beach, focus your casts into the deep holes and gutters.

Fishing Spots in the ACT

There are a number of fishing locations in the Australian Capital Territory where anglers can target species such as Murray cod, golden perch, silver perch, rainbow trout, and brown trout. These locations include the man-made Lake Burley Griffin and Googong Reservoir. There are also many good trout fishing locations throughout the many creeks and rivers flowing from Googong Reservoir and Corin Dam.

Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin is an artificial lake in the centre of Canberra. It was created in 1963 after Scrivener Dam was constructed across the Molonglo River which ran between the city centre and Parliamentary Triangle. The lake was then named after Walter Burley Griffin who was the architect who won the design competition for the city of Canberra.

Fishing is a popular activity all around the Lake Burley Griffin where anglers can chase golden perch, silver perch, Murray cod as well as the occasional rainbow and brown trout. Although in many cases this would be the fish of choice, the predominant fish caught are the illegally introduced European carp and redfin (English perch). Most carp caught in Lake Burley Griffin are around the two kilo mark, but there has been some landed at nearly ten kilos.

Googong Reservoir

Googong Reservoir is Canberra’s largest water storage dam and is located about 20kms southeast of Parliament House. Fly fishing in the reservoir is a popular activity with the prize fish being Murray cod, rainbow trout and brown trout. Both trout species in the reservoir are elusive to catch and adequate fly fishing skills are needed. Other fish that may be encountered in the reservoir include golden perch (yellowbelly) and redfin (English perch).

Other Spots

The Cotter, Gudgenby and Goodradigbee Rivers as well as Condor Creek will reveal plenty of good fly fishing spots where you can target the rainbows and browns. Please note that you are only allowed to fish with one attended rod using only an artificial fly or lure as bait. Good results can be achieved by using either a small floating Rapala fly whilst applying a quick retrieval technique or keeping a Royal Wulff Dry Fly super-still in the deeper pools. Please follow the fish size and bag limits, and the seasonal closures.

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