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Where To Fish in NSW

NSW has plenty of great fishing opportunities along the coast, as well as plenty of inland places for freshwater fishing. Having trouble deciding where to go? We rounded up the areas we think offer the best fishing in New South Wales.

Before You Go

To fish in this state, you need to pay the NSW recreational fishing fee unless you qualify for one of these exemptions:
  • You are under the age of 18.
  • You are an adult assisting someone under 18 using a single rod or taking prawns with a single dip or scoop net.
  • You’re an Aboriginal person.
  • You hold a current Pensioner Concession Card issued by Centrelink, a Commonwealth Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold Treatment Card with a TPI or EDA endorsement, or have a letter from the Commonwealth Department of Veterans' Affairs stating that you receive either a disability pension of 70% or more or an intermediate pension.
  • In some cases, you may not need to pay the fee if you’re fishing with a guide.
When you go fishing, you need to keep your receipt on hand to present on demand.

If you’re fishing in freshwater, you should pick up the NSW DPI Freshwater Recreational Guide. It covers all the legal requirements for fishing areas, and it’s full of useful information, including a fish identification guide. The New South Wales fishing guide is available directly from its website, or you can pick up a printed copy at most bait and tackle businesses in the state.

Bermagui Harbour

This harbour, and the first couple kilometers of the Bermagui River, are filled with sand flathead, bream, whiting and tailor. The water is shallow in spots near the mouth of the river, requiring a low draft boat to go upstream. The area is easy to access thanks to several boat ramps around the harbour.

Snowy Mountains

Just a two-hour drive from Canberra, this area has the best fishing spots in Eastern Australia for trout fishing. Brown, rainbow and brook trout are abundant, as is Atlantic salmon.

The Snowy, Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers feed into Lake Jindabyne. The Thredbo and Eucumbene are designated trout spawning areas. This means there’s a bag limit of one trout per angler each day, with a minimum length of 50 cm. However, catch and release is allowed after you’ve reached your bag limit. Bait fishing isn’t allowed in these areas. The Snowy River doesn’t have these restrictions, but fish are less plentiful.

Be sure to check fishing reports before you venture out. Water levels in the rivers and Lake Jindabyne fluctuate during the year, changing the best fishing spots each season.

Blue Mountains

This is a great place to go if you want to plan for a multi-day New South Wales fishing trip. This area of the Central Tablelands can be difficult to fish due to the number of regulatory bodies involved. Much of the area is protected in one way or another, but if you can navigate the requirements, you can fish in some of the most beautiful areas of the country. With a variety of rivers, streams and lakes to choose from, you can catch just about every type of freshwater fish you can find in NSW.

Power boats are permitted at the Ben Chifley, Burrendon and Wyangala dams, Lyell Lake, Windamere Lake and Dunns Swamp. Restrictions on the many rivers running through the region can vary, with limits on lures and fishing methods.

Gunnamatta Bay

Looking for a quick getaway without spending your whole weekend driving? This bay on the south end of Sydney next to the Royal National Park is mostly known for its baths and parks, but it’s also an excellent place to do some fishing. Tailor, whiting, flathead and bream are plentiful. Go to the mouth of the bay and you can find salmon in the aptly named Salmon Haul Reserve.

Coffs Harbour

While the Blue Mountains offer the widest variety of freshwater fish, Coffs Harbour gives you access to the biggest selection of both fresh and saltwater game. This harbor is about midway between Sydney and Brisbane. With beaches, headlands, reefs and break walls to fish from, there are opportunities to try all types of fishing methods and baits at this harbour. Mulloway, kingfish, bream, flathead, bream, snapper and whiting are just some of the species you can catch near the coast. Go deeper into the reef and you’ll find pearl perch, kingfish, amberjack, snapper, tuna and tusk fish. Head to the estuaries, including Coffs Creek, Boambee Creek and Bonville Creek, and you’ll find bream, whiting and flathead. Go further south to Bellinger River and you’ll find plenty of bass.

Yamba

Located about three hours south of Brisbane, the coastline at the mouth of the Clarence River is full of fishing opportunities. With rocks, beaches and deep water, there are habitats for all kinds of game fish, including flathead, mulloway, rock blackfish, bream, snapper, tailor, mangrove jack, blue grouper and sand whiting. If you run a low draft boat with a power pole anchor and a jack plate, you can slip into island streams, getting to fishing areas that are out of reach of most boats.

Most of the fishing is concentrated between Harwood Island and Yamba, although it’s also worth making the trip over to nearby Lake Wooloweyah. The easiest way to get there is by launching at Yamba and making your way around the coast. There are several boat ramps along the Clarence River, so you can usually launch close to your destination.