The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Perth: A Paradise for Anglers

Author: Collin Giusti  Date Posted:28 February 2024 


Nestled along the picturesque western coastline of Australia, Perth stands as a haven for fishing enthusiasts seeking the thrill of the catch amidst stunning natural landscapes. From the azure waters of the Indian Ocean to the winding Swan River, Perth offers a diverse range of fishing experiences that cater to anglers of all levels. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the thriving fishing scene in Perth, exploring its unique fishing spots, abundant marine life, and the techniques that make fishing in this Australian city an unforgettable adventure.

Section 1: Prime Fishing Locations

1.1 Swan River:

The Swan River is the lifeblood of Perth, flowing through the heart of the city and providing a multitude of fishing opportunities. With its brackish waters, the Swan River is home to an array of fish species, including bream, flathead, tailor, and the elusive mulloway. Anglers can fish from the riverbanks or take to the water in boats, kayaks, or even stand-up paddleboards. The Shelley Foreshore and Bicton Baths are popular spots for land-based anglers, while the deeper waters near Mosman Bay and Point Walter attract boat-based fishing enthusiasts.

1.2 Rottnest Island:

Just a short boat ride from Perth, Rottnest Island boasts crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life. The island is a paradise for anglers looking to hook up with species like snapper, dhufish, and samson fish. Popular fishing spots around Rottnest include West End, Strickland Bay, and Parker Point. The island's unique atmosphere and diverse fishing opportunities make it a must-visit destination for any angler in Perth.

1.3 Hillarys Boat Harbour:

For those looking for a blend of convenience and excellent fishing, Hillarys Boat Harbour is the ideal location. This bustling marina offers easy access to the Indian Ocean and a variety of fishing experiences. From land-based fishing on the breakwaters to chartering a boat for deep-sea adventures, anglers can target species such as pink snapper, Spanish mackerel, and yellowtail kingfish. The harbor's amenities, including fish cleaning stations and restaurants, make it a one-stop destination for anglers.

Section 2: Targeted Species and Seasons

2.1 Pink Snapper:

One of the most sought-after species in Perth waters, the pink snapper, is abundant along the coastal reefs. The best time to target these prized fish is during the cooler months, from autumn to early spring. Anglers often find success using soft plastics, live bait, or fresh squid. Popular spots for pink snapper fishing include Five Fathom Bank, Cockburn Sound, and the deeper waters around Rottnest Island.

2.2 Dhufish:

Dhufish, also known as West Australian dhufish or West Australian Jewfish, are another popular target for Perth anglers. These powerful and elusive fish are often found in rocky reef areas. Dhufish fishing is most productive during the cooler months, with the winter season being particularly promising. Sinker rigs with fresh bait, such as squid or octopus, are effective in enticing these deep-dwelling predators. Fishing grounds like Three Mile Reef and Five Fathom Bank are known for their dhufish populations.

2.3 Tailor:

Tailor, a fast and aggressive species, are prevalent along the Perth coastline, especially during the warmer months. These fish often hunt in schools, providing exciting opportunities for lure and bait anglers alike. Casting metal slugs or using bait like garfish and whitebait can attract tailor. Popular beaches like Trigg and Scarborough, as well as rocky points along the coast, are prime spots for tailor fishing.

2.4 Mulloway:

The mulloway, or jewfish, is a challenging and rewarding catch for experienced anglers. These predatory fish inhabit the deeper sections of the Swan River and coastal waters. Night fishing is particularly productive for mulloway, and using live bait such as mullet or herring can increase your chances. Hotspots like the Fremantle Traffic Bridge, the Narrows Bridge, and the deep holes around Fremantle are known for mulloway action.

Section 3: Fishing Techniques and Tips

3.1 Bait Fishing:

Bait fishing is a versatile technique that works well for a variety of species in Perth waters. Popular bait options include pilchards, herring, squid, and mullet. Utilizing paternoster rigs or running sinker rigs with appropriate sinker weights can enhance your chances of success. Fishing near structures like reefs, drop-offs, and underwater features often yields the best results.

3.2 Lure Fishing:

Lure fishing is a favorite among anglers who enjoy the thrill of the chase. Casting metal slugs, soft plastics, and hard-bodied lures can attract species like tailor, salmon, and even pelagic fish such as Spanish mackerel. Varying your retrieve speed and experimenting with different lure colors can increase your chances of enticing a strike. Coastal rock formations and jetties are prime locations for lure enthusiasts.

3.3 Fly Fishing:

Fly fishing in Perth offers a unique and challenging experience, especially in the scenic estuaries and flats. Targeting species like bream and flathead on fly requires accurate casting and finesse. Crab and shrimp imitation flies are effective for these shallow-water predators. The Swan River's shallows and the flats around Mandurah are popular locations for fly fishing.

3.4 Deep-Sea Fishing:

For those seeking offshore adventures, deep-sea fishing charters are readily available in Perth. These charters take anglers to the fertile fishing grounds beyond the coastal reefs, where species like dhufish, pink snapper, and Spanish mackerel roam. Charter operators are well-versed in the local waters and provide all the necessary equipment for a successful deep-sea fishing excursion.

Section 4: Fishing Regulations and Sustainability

4.1 Bag Limits and Size Restrictions:

Perth anglers must adhere to bag limits and size restrictions to ensure the sustainability of fish populations. Regulations can vary for different species and locations, so it's crucial to stay informed about the latest fishing rules. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) provides up-to-date information on bag limits, size restrictions, and fishing seasons.

4.2 Catch and Release:

Practicing catch and release is a responsible approach to fishing in Perth. While keeping a legal-sized catch for consumption is acceptable, releasing undersized or unwanted fish helps preserve the balance of the ecosystem. Anglers should handle fish carefully, use barbless hooks to minimize injury, and release fish as quickly as possible to enhance their chances of survival.

4.3 Sustainable Fishing Practices:

Sustainable fishing practices involve minimizing environmental impact and ensuring the long-term health of fish populations. This includes using non-stainless steel or non-offset circle hooks to reduce injury to fish, avoiding excessive chumming, and properly disposing of fishing-related waste. By adopting sustainable practices, anglers contribute to the preservation of Perth's marine ecosystems.

Section 5: Essential Gear and Equipment

5.1 Fishing Rods and Reels:

Selecting the right fishing rod and reel combination is crucial for success in Perth's diverse fishing environments. Light to medium-weight rods with spinning reels are versatile and suitable for various species, while heavy-duty gear may be necessary for targeting larger predators. Consider the type of fishing you plan to do, whether it's land-based, boat-based, or offshore, when choosing your equipment.

5.2 Fishing Line and Leaders:

Choosing the appropriate fishing line is essential for maximizing your chances of landing a catch. Monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided lines each have their advantages, depending on the fishing scenario. Using leaders, especially when targeting species with sharp teeth or in areas with abrasive structures, can prevent lost fish and gear.

5.3 Tackle Box Essentials:

A well-equipped tackle box is a must for any angler in Perth. Include a variety of hooks, sinkers, swivels, and a selection of lures suitable for the target species. Additional items like pliers, a fillet knife, sunscreen, and a first aid kit can enhance your fishing experience and prepare you for any situation.

5.4 Safety Gear:

Safety should always be a top priority when fishing. Essential safety gear includes life jackets, especially for boat-based fishing, a first aid kit, and appropriate sun protection. Checking weather conditions before heading out and informing someone about your fishing plans contribute to a safe and enjoyable angling experience.


Fishing in Perth is not just a recreational activity; it's a journey into the vibrant marine world that defines Western Australia's coastline. Whether you're casting from the shores of the Swan River, exploring the reefs off Rottnest Island, or venturing into the deep sea, Perth offers a diverse and rewarding fishing experience. By understanding the prime fishing locations, targeted species, effective techniques, and practicing responsible angling, you can make the most of your fishing adventures in this coastal paradise. So, gear up, explore the waters, and let the thrill of the catch in Perth become an unforgettable chapter in your angling journey.


Main image by Kim

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