Fishing & Boating
With 2,000kms of stunning coastline, over 40 lakes and 6 major river systems, you’ll find excellent fishing and boating opportunities in NSW. There are plenty of fishing tours, from deep-sea charters to fly fishing in the Snowy Mountains.
You can skipper a houseboat on the mighty Murray River, Australia’s longest river, or hire a yacht and breathe in the fresh salty air on sparkling blue waters, including Jervis Bay on the South Coast and Port Stephens, north of Sydney.
Deep Sea Fishing
From Tweed Heads in the far north to Eden in the far south, guides and charter operators can put you in the centre of the action. For that special charter, try deep-sea fishing tours off UNESCO World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, which allows only 400 visitors at any one time.
East of the Snowies is Bermagui, a game fishing destination. With the continental shelf only 20km offshore, take a charter from Bermagui Harbour to the pristine waters to hook black marlin and yellowfin tuna. You can also try your luck reeling in marlin off Port Macquarie, on the North Coast.
River Boating & Fishing
The Five Rivers Fishing Trail encompasses the Murrumbidgee, Lachlan, Wakool, Edward and Murray rivers all within 30 minutes’ drive of Balranald, a former river port. Fish living in these rivers include Murray Cod, Catfish and European Carp.
In the North of NSW is the Clarence River, where you can find the largest species of bass in Australia. Beautiful rainforests, sugarcane fields and historical towns line the riverbank, making it an excellent boating destination.
Take a guided fly fishing trip and try your hand at catching trout in the Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands, and Murray Cod on the Murray River. The Snowy Mountains also has great fly fishing opportunities and each year hosts the Snowy Mountains Trout Festival. Visit Eucumbene Trout Farm and cook your catch on the barbecue straight out of the lake.
Cast a line from gorgeous beaches, such as near The Entrance on the Central Coast, or in national parks. Further north in Yamba, you can catch flathead, bream and snapper from one of the beautiful beaches including Whiting Beach, Main Beach and Pippi Beach.
All recreational fishers in NSW require a licence.
An expert’s guide to fishing in NSW - Jonathon Bleakley
If you like to throw a line in, there are few better places to do it than in NSW. From tranquil lakes and rivers to sandy beaches, you can find the perfect spot for beginners, experts and everyone in between.
By law, you are required to wear a life jacket or buoyancy vest while rock fishing in some areas of NSW, and it is recommended that you wear a buoyancy vest for lake, river and sea fishing. Please see the Water Safety NSW website for more details.
Please consider the following safety tips when fishing:
- Choose a safe place where there are no hazards
- Be very careful when walking on rocks as they can be slippery, and rogue waves can be unpredictable.
- Never fish alone and always watch the waves
- Be aware of the tides and weather
- Wear appropriate footwear, clothing and head protection.
- Carry a float and line to help anyone washed in
Follow these additional safety tips at all times when rock fishing:
- Never turn your back on the sea or ocean
- Tell family or friends of your plans
- Always spend time watching the conditions before fishing, and scan for changing conditions.
- Check tides, swell and weather conditions before setting out and never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas.
- Carry safety gear such as ropes, a float and torches.
- Note the location of and access to life buoys where they are present
- Plan an escape route in case you're washed in
- Don't put yourself at risk if someone else is washed into the water
- Carry a mobile phone
Visit the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW website for more information on staying safe while fishing.